(Originally posted January/February 2014 on my previous blog, Quid for Quill.)
Once back in our hotel after the concert, Tameri and I promptly passed out in our beds. (Despite the fact that we did not order pillows from our very special ‘pillow menu’, the beds were incredibly fluffy and comfortable and everything you could hope for when it comes to melting into a warm cloud.)
The next morning we wandered down to the Fountain Coffee Room for breakfast. It might not be the meal of the day you’d think about caviar for, but when offered we couldn’t turn it down. Why not? We were in Beverly Hills! It was a must to test out. Alas… far too salty and I think Tameri was probably right when she suggested that caviar probably does not get better tasting as it goes up in price.
(It was an easy decision between us in finding our pancakes and waffles more appetizing than the sour cream and caviar omelette. But what’s life if you don’t step out of your box?)
My excitement for this, the second day of my trip, was when Tameri drove me down to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre so I could see the handprints and footprints of the stars. She’d asked me if there was anywhere in Hollywood I really wanted to see, and that was the place that instantly came to mind.
For a little while we weren’t entirely certain we were going to get in. Ford had been hosting some big event they were still shutting down from and no one was allowed at the theatre while they cleaned up. So we poked around a few nearby shops, had a bite to eat, and just before it was too late for us to wait any more… the theatre reopened.
I think somehow by taking the JLPT just days before and seeing a Japanese band perform the night before, I had pinged the universe to bring me everything Japanese. When I stopped to look at Johnny Depp’s spot at the theatre, not a soul was around me. In the time it took me to crouch down and take the very touristy photo of my hand in his handprint? I was surrounded by no less than 15 Japanese high school boys. No, they didn’t know much, if any English. Yes, I did slightly panic and excuse myself in Japanese. Yes, I got several stares. Yes, I did, eventually, start trailing their tour guide for at least a few minutes. First off it was a free tour that way! And secondly it was testing me to see how much Japanese I could understand. Perfect way to study, right?
An older Japanese gentleman, one of the chaperons I’m supposing, realized he was in my way a few moments later and did his best to apologize in English, but when I responded in Japanese that it was alright I got another stare. THIS WHITE GIRL FROM MIDWEST AMERICA WILL ONE DAY SPEAK YOUR LANGUAGE. Or at least she’s trying.
Seeing the signatures and handprints and footprints from the stars was awesome, but to be entirely honest I was far more excited about seeing some of the older stars. Myrna Loy, Gregory Peck, Jimmy Stewart… that was who I was most excited for. I never had movie posters up in my room as a teenager. I had framed 8x10s of Cary Grant and Robert Mitchum in addition to the other two gentleman already mentioned.
The couple-of-hours-drive back to Tameri’s home afterward was filled with excellent laughter and shared stories. Once there I finally got to meet her family too (or most of her family at least) and relax into blissful slumber once again surrounded by the sheer awesomeness that is her office. How anyone could possibly walk in there and NOT be overwhelmingly inspired beats me. I need to camp out there for a week myself and turn out some amazing words. She’s only given me inspiration to keep putting together my own writing space!
The last stop of the trip before I was off on the plane the next day was a morning trip to the beach. I love the ocean more than almost anything else (there are very few exceptions) and I’d never seen the ocean on the west coast. I got a bit too close to the waves and ended up almost entirely soaked to my waist so it was back home to change before she took me to the airport. For her Californian delicate senses the water was much too cold, but for this Okie girl it was perfectly fine!!
What she didn’t realize at the time was while I was dancing about like a perfectly contented loon in the salt water, I was also secretly calculating the likelihood of my ability to swim to Japan. (Conclusions deemed the likelihood low, and therefore I got on the plane back to my ‘real’ home instead.)
I may never get a spontaneous solo trip like this again, but for a once-in-a-lifetime escape, I’m not sure I could have asked for a better reason, a better friend, or a better location… let alone a better experience!!
Have you ever taken a solo vacation? Run off spontaneously? What prompted you to do so? And if you haven’t… where would you go, who would you see, and what would you do if you could?
All pictures in this post taken by Lissa Clouser or Tameri Etherton.