Monday, June 27, 2005

Home, safe and sound. And to celebrate I went out last night with Dan + Steven, was great to see them again. Also caught up with Rob, Jon and Chris!

Back to reality...

Saturday, June 25, 2005

And so I come to my last post in America. This morning I shall be setting off on a mammoth journey, back to Birmingham, via LAX and Heathrow.

Friday. Friday was a great last day. I got up early and biked around the bay coastline, over the Golden Gate Bridge and round to a small fishing town called Sausalito - could it be the prettiest place on earth?! The views from the bridge and Sausalito across the bay were simply breathtaking. I then had a little kip and made my way to the great Cafe Du Nord to see the one and only Pansy Division. The gig was a good laugh and I got to meet Luis, Jon and Chris from the band - all really nice guys. And so several vodkas (theme of this trip?) and one tram ride later, I collapsed into bed and here I am now, nearly ready to leave.

Some final words.

This trip has been amazing. It's taught me so much about other people and most importantly, myself. I've been overwhelmed by the friendliness of everyone I've met here. To Ron, Laura, Duane, everyone at the dealership, Matthew, Graeme, Denise, Jeffrey, Gary... thank you for making this trip so memorable. To Ray and Paul, thank you for making it happen.

I will see you all back in Britain. If my flight and coach are on time, I'll be in the Gale sunday night, welcoming myself back to reality, come and join the party :-)

Friday, June 24, 2005

I'm just waiting for our free breakfast to be ready, so I thought a quick update was in order!

So I went to the BBQ with Denise and Jeffrey, and a friend of theirs Gary was there too. It was a lovely evening, the food was brilliant (I later found out Denise runs a restaurant!) and the wine flowed. It's so easy to make friends here, it's crazy.

Yesterday I "did" Alcatraz and it was quite an experience. The audio tour was fantastic and because I was there on my own I was really able to get into it. I was fascinated by the escape story, and ended up buying a book about it. The authour, a lady who grew up on Alcatraz Island (daughter of one of the officers) was there and signed it for me.

Back in civilisation, I got a tram and bus down to the hippy Haight district, what a fantastic area! My reason for going was to visit Amoeba Music. I now have a new favourite record shop! This place was amazing, enormous in size and just jam-packed with racks and racks of new and used CDs - a browsers paradise! I left with just 5, for me and Matt (he owes me a favour!), but could EASILY have bought more like 50! Also I have to mention the "Rockin Java Lounge" next door which served TOP coffee!

I've absolutely loved San Francisco so far, the city is beautiful, easy to get around (despite the hills) and the people are so diverse.

Anyway, I'm off to breakfast, and my last day in the city...


Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Well the free beer was hmmm, interesting, but the bagels and coffee more than made up for that this morning! Today I've been around the Bay on a catamaran cruise - out and around Alcatraz Island and under the Golden Gate Bridge. It was absolutely stunning, great views and really relaxing. It wasn't too crowded either, and I met a couple of cool people, Denise and Jeffrey, and now I'm off to a BBQ at theirs this evening!

The weather here is absolutely perfect, bright blue skies, with June gloom nowhere to be seen.


Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Well here I am in San Francisco! I'm really sad to leave Los Angeles and all the friends I made there behind, or at least I was until I got here! The directions I was given to the hostel were terrible so I ended up wandering into a not-so-pleasant area, when a hooker told me this wasn't the area to be lost in, I thought it best to get a taxi...

So this hostel is well different, much bigger than the one in Venice but a bit more basic, although apparantly there's free bagels every morning and free beer tonight :oD

This place couldn't be more different from L.A, it felt a lot more 'familiar' when I got here. And it's so hilly! Anyway I went for a wander and ended up down at Fishermans Wharf, watching Sea Lions entertain! Lots to fit in thesse four days, tomorrow I'm going on a catamaran tour of the Bay, and on Thursday to Alcatraz.

More soon

Monday, June 20, 2005

That was one hell of a Saturday night.

In true Hollywood style, I ended up coming round at 5am, staggering around the streets of West Hollywood, with no idea how I'd got there or what I'd spent the last 5 hours doing. Last I remember I was on a black tinted "fun bus" with Matthew who I met last week, and a random wedding party. What happened next? I will never know.


I still managed to haul myself out of bed on Sunday though and met a great British guy called Graeme who lives and works in Hollywood - lucky sod.

Onto San Francisco...

Friday, June 17, 2005

It's my last day here at the dealership, I've run out of things to do, so I'm spending today just hanging around, chatting to people, and just making the most of my time here. I've got this weekend left in LA, then it's onto San Francisco for a few days.

Postings will be less frequent from here on in!

Outside the dealership on Wilshire Blvd.

Outside the dealership on 16th St.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

I've just experienced another 5+ magnitude earthquake, the fourth 5+ to hit the Pacific coast in 4 days. Seems to be quite a bit of activity out here at the moment, with a fair chance of a bigger quake within the next week. Click here for the BBC News report.

It's quite humbling, it makes you realise that we are just guests on this planet after all.
When things are quiet, the sales team take a break :-)

Well we are a few miles from Hollywood. Here, everyone's a star!

Robert from the dealership is a member of the Inner Circle, so last night he took a few of us up to the world-famous Magic Castle in Hollywood. It was an awesome night, the food was fantastic and the magic shows were just incredible, particularly 'the Doc' who performed some close-up bar magic right in front of our eyes. An outstanding night out, definitely one of the highlights of my trip so far.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Just a quick pic of my good self with my new American family, Laura and Ron!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

And so, the June Gloom has begun! It's a nice change from last week actually, sweating buckets at 8am was not a good look! It's chillier in the mornings and evenings, but still nice and sunny in the afternoons.

I left the hostel this morning and there's a film set going up *right outside* the front door, all along Windward by the beach. How exciting! I'm trying to find out what's being filmed, more soon...

Sun burning through the clouds over the Pacific

Monday, June 13, 2005

I totally forgot to add… I experienced my first Californian earthquake!

It was a 5.6, moderate for LA, but much bigger than anything I’ve experienced in England before (the last was 2.5 I think)

It woke most people up... except me. Yep, I slept through it!
What a great weekend! On Saturday I went up to the Avalon in Hollywood to see the Kaiser Chiefs, what a great show. Ricky (lead singer) stage dived, got a girl up on stage to slow dance with, and didn’t stop moving for an hour! I was surprised at how many people were there, but apparently the local radio station K-ROQ has been playing them to death. British music seems huge over here at the moment, rock on :-)

The Avalon was an incredible venue, reminded me of Brixton Academy but much grander.

Either side of the gig was Los Angeles Pride in WeHo (West Hollywood), and oh my, do Californians know how to put on a festival - I’m now a massive fan of Cuban cocktails and Latin music! Some photos below, always better than words!

A liquid lunch of mojitas in WeHo!

Paris Hilton, grand marshal of the Pride parade

Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles

Latin arena at the Pride festival

Main stage at sunset

Friday, June 10, 2005

So last night I took my first steps into h o l l y w o o d and hey, it's just as dirty, smelly, sleazy, sinful and sleazy as i'd imagined! We went to the Lava Lounge to catch a couple of bands, great club, was a cool night. On the way back to Venice we drove up through Beverly Hills, Bel Air and Pacific Pallasades, all I can say is wow. Amazing houses and amazing views of Los Angeles.

Me in the Lava Lounge, after a few drinks!

"AM Radio"

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Morning all!

I've discovered the best thing ever, look...


So what have I been up to?

  • Went out with Ron, Laura and Ray after work to a cocktail bar, I've taken a shine to vodka+cranberry since being here! Then Ron and Laura took me to a wicked restaurant in Santa Monica and I had the best burger I've ever had! With a side salad big enough to be a main...
  • Met a British guy, Paul, who's been living and working in America for 10 years. His hybrid New York / LA / British accent was ace!
  • Been over to the service dept, another Brit working there, we're everywhere man!
  • Chilled in the sun and watched the sun go down (over Santa Monica Boulevard - ARGH! Sheryl Crow!! Couldn't resist that one - sorry!)

Watching the sun set over the Malibu mountains

What I'm lovin most about being out here is seeing the REAL LA, not the tourist traps of Disneyland, Univeral Studios, Sunset Strip etc etc. I'm gonna spend some time in Hollywood, but just hanging with people after work etc, makes it so much more real.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

I'm settled into the dealership now, working on a few small projects. I've met everyone now and I'm still shocked at how friendly everyone is, here at the dealer and even at the Staples across the road! Had breakfast at Izzy's this morning, scene of several films!

I know this'll make everyone back at work laugh, I went to move an XJR around the lot and went to get in the wrong side. D'OH!

And finally, some photos for you all to enjoy! More coming soon...

The skate and bike lanes at Venice.

Ocean Front Walk at Venice, right outside my hostel.

Santa Monica, home of the dealership. A sunburnable walk up the coast from Venice.

The Jaguar dealership on Wilshire, Santa Monica.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Hello hello! I can't sleep so thought IO'd wander out onto the corridor where this little terminal is and update you all! I think it's the sunburn, whoops yes I was out in the sun a little too much on Sunday!!

So, I've been here little over a day and already:-
  • Met the staff at the dealership and been invited to a strip club on Sunset Blvd
  • Been out to a rock club with a couple of really cool people, although I'm shocked that vodka and coke is apparantly "really weird" drink to have out here!!
  • Jogged along Ocean Avenue
  • Been shopping in Santa Monica
  • Chilled out on Venice Beach (a little too long!)
  • Found a British pub where they sell Strongbow :oD

Start properly at the dealership in the morning and it looks like I'll be doing some I.T work for them, fine by me! Photos soon, promise...

Messages to people:

Kevin - Spent money in the Abercrombie shop already, whoops! BUT! Got chatted up by a FIT FIT FIT member of staff ;-) Got your copy of 'Details' too.

Iain & Geoff - the British accent is being put to good use. What-ho chaps!

Dan - Spain would be a lot cheaper!

Glen - Maybe I could get my ghetto pass renewed downtown? Los Angeles vs Brixton in a fist fight who would win?!

About to run out of money on here so gonna try catch a few more hours sleep before working out how to get to the dealership!!!

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Hey everyone! Just to let you all know I got here safely, after TWELVE hours on a plane... just knew it would be delayed. Anyway I was picked up from LAX in a shiny black Jag-war, only the best for me of course! Went straight to the dealership, a great bunch of people, a totally different atmosphere from British dealers.

Got to my hostel in Venice and oh my god, it was just like stepping onto a movie set, an incredible place, rollerskaters, clowns, boarders, street entertainers... amazing.

I've been here about 4 hours, and already I'm off out, I've been invited out to a rock club tonight and when have you ever known me to decline a night out??!!


Dan - get your ass out here, it's FIT FIT FIT everywhere you look!!!

Kevin - is my car ok? :-)


Matt - everyone at the dealership are Kaiser Chiefs fans, looks like we'll all be going to see them next weekend!
I'm just killingtime in the departure lounge at heathrow, there seems no reason to have a 2-3 hour check-in time other than to help the shops here rake inthe cash!

Anyway there's not much to report yet, and i've got my eye on a TGI Fridays before the plane boards...

More when I get to L.A...

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Hello all, under two days until I fly, fly away, so I thought it about time to set up this, as I've been threatening to do for months now. I'll try and update it as often as I can when I'm away, maybe with photos if my USB lead behaves itself. I won't be emailing so keep checking this page for any messages to those that matter...

I fly in on Saturday morning and arrive just three hours later, after an 11.5hr flight, work that one out! At least there'll be someone there to pick me up, don't fancy jumping straight into a car and driving on the WRONG side of the road ;-)


Wednesday, June 01, 2005