California

May 23 - Thursday
Scheduled trip: -
Actual trip: -


See that tree? It's made of Holly Wood...
Across the street from the motel was a Subway where we had breakfast. When you're in Los Angeles you have to check out either Warner Studios or Universal City Studios. We chose the latter. The studio lot is a very popular attraction among tourists. We left the Mustang in a nearby parking complex and entered the site. It was still early in the day so the place wasn't too crowded yet. The first thing we did was to have a quick look around. Naturally numerous stores selling movie merchandise littered the place. We visited a large music store too. It even had some Brujerķa! Close to the entrance of the store, one of the DeLorean cars from the "Back to the Future" trilogy was displayed, and further away yet another famous car could be admired: Kit, the intelligent Pontiac Firebird from the popular "Knight Rider" TV-series. This car fascinated especially Marco. There is no way to deny it, Mark. We have it on tape!
The entire lot must have covered several square miles. Hence we tried to coordinate our movements so we could participate in most of the tours, which began every hour or so. We saw the "Back Draft" attraction, a brilliant pyrotechnics show, and took a ride "Back to the Future", a computer simulated roller-coaster ride. The "Wild West Show" and "Water World Show" were action saturated, with actors doing backbreaking stunts like falling from great heights or being blown up. Each show lasted about 15 minutes and the time was well spent.

Picture supplied by Niels (15621 bytes)
Ready to explore Universal Studios


We also went on (what seemed) an hour long guided tour of the studio's fake neighborhoods. Naturally we didn't have to walk around. No, we were driven in a specially designed vehicle that consisted of three independent cars, which were linked together. Our guide, who was a real comedian, showed us the houses where famous actors and directors had stayed while shooting their films. He also showed us some more cars, like Tom Selleck's legendary Ferrari 348 from the "Magnum" series, and the A-Team van.
At one point in time, our vehicle stopped at a small lake. Suddenly, the waters parted in a weird, biblical way and we drove into the pond with water towering on each side of us. As we approached the other shore, Jaws, Spielberg's man-eating shark, attacked us. There certainly wasn't time to get bored on this ride! Still, the fun didn't end there. We were taken into what seemed to be a subway station. Without warning an earthquake shook our vehicle and the roof above us collapsed, sending a large fuel truck hurdling towards us. It hit a concrete barrier and exploded right in front of us. Meanwhile, on the other side of our sightseeing bus, a wall of water came rushing down a stairway. That was rather intense! As we drove out of the subway station, we encountered King Kong, who was having a bad day. The gigantic animated monkey was roaring and blowing steam at us even though we didn't try to mess with it in any way.
Also, we had the dubious pleasure of crossing an unstable bridge. Not surprisingly it collapsed the exact moment we had reached the other side.
We passed a reflecting pool with a large fake background. According to our guide this was the place pop group "TLC" had shot their video called "Waterfalls". Finally we saw the set of a new Schwarzenegger movie ("Jingle all the Way") but unfortunately none of us got to see Arnold in the flesh.
It was mid-afternoon before we got our lunch. By this time the place was becoming crowdy so after a final visit to the souvenir shop, we decided to leave at around 6 PM. It had been a very entertaining day indeed.
That evening Marco wanted to visit one of the dance-places in LA. According to our guidebook there were several to choose from. The first, however, was closed so we went to the next one on the list. This club was situated in a poorly lit neighborhood and it was strange that so few people were entering the establishment. We locked the car and went to the entrance and were confronted by the doorman who kindly informed us that it was "Gay Night". We were out of there so fast we must have left vapor trails!
Mark's enthusiasm had plummeted dramatically so instead of looking for more clubs we toured Mulholland Drive, a famous road above LA with excellent scenic lookout points. We had the road to ourselves and stopped frequently to get pictures and video footage of the twinkling lights of Los Angeles.

Sound Snippet (45 Kb)
The howling wind... "Hear" the view of LA from Mulholland.

See more photos from May 23.
Universal Studios schedule (>130 Kb).
Area map of Los Angeles (>195 Kb).
Go to the next page in the Diary (May 24).

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