A night at the Dresden

Goodbye Motel
Cameo with Tom, Mark and Scott from Goodbye Motel

Thai was the order of the day for dinner, but we had to pick up some special guests from their hotel to join us.

We cruised along Sunset Boulevard and picked up half the boys from Melbourne band Goodbye Motel before making our way to Thailand Plaza in Hollywood for some food. If you are in the mood for Thai food, this little strip is THE place to go for a mind-boggling number of Thai restaurants backed up wall-to-wall. Only in Thailand could you find this many Thai restaurants in dodgy-curry run-to-the-dunny distance.

The food was not dodgy, so please don’t think that. Rather it was a bar-gain at $21 a pop for a mix of Thai favourites. I wish I’d paid attention to the ordering because my favourite dish was a chicken one and unfortunately I can never really remember what Thai dishes I’ve ordered before unless they are a basic green curry or Pad Thai. The portions weren’t as huge as I have come to expect in America, with not a lot of leftovers, so that made me feel good that not a lot went to waste.

We followed this up with a drink at the Dresden, a bar famous for two things, the ancient couple (Marty and Elayne) banging out the jazz tunes and for being a location in the 1996 movie Swingers. Now I haven’t seen Swingers before but it stars Vince Vaughn and Heather Graham. I’m not really sure I need to see it now after the guys were repeating vast slabs of dialogue from the film, but I’ll put it on the list anyway.

The Dresden in Los Feliz is this gorgeous old-school bar with round, low backed booths, soft-lighted chandeliers, small club tables with red vinyl chairs on office wheels and a wall of frosted glass with line drawings in them. There was such a wide range of people in this rather small lounge; old people in their 80’s, young people, hipsters, hippies, jocks and every combination in between.

Not long after we’d arrived they asked for patrons to come up to them with song requests written on a napkin. Motel Tom took up the challenge and wrote a song name on a napkin and took it up to them. Watching from the other side of the bar, we saw Marty’s response – he took the napkin, folded it in half and wiped his mouth with it. What a ruse!

So the Dresden was pretty sweet. I’d go there again, and this time hope for a little curved booth.

Dating update:
Well, no dates requested yet, but it’s early days. Being out on the town with 4 guys isn’t really conducive to looking single. Luckily the girls arrive tomorrow to even up the sexes.

Surprise:
It’s not hard to open a bank account. Thank you Bank of America for being so nice and helpful. Thank you Bank of America for giving my buddy Ricky $25 for the referral and me $25 for taking up the referral.

I’m here

In the shadow of the Hollywood sign

I’ve finally arrived in LA after months of preparations and dreaming and saving, and well, it was a pretty good welcome. Clear blue skies, plenty of warm sunshine and the Hollywood sign greeted me.

After a shower it was down to the business of getting a US sim card for my phone. Easy peasy. T-mobile will give you a sim card and some pretty good prepaid deals without running a credit check, so it is a good option for travellers. Plus, unlike in Australia, it wasn’t a massive rigmarole of paperwork to get it. Here they have 3 digit prefixes which supposedly tell people where you are from. My rep Palmer asked what I wanted and I just stared blankly at him. 310, 323 and 123 mean nothing to me. So he said “I’ll give you a 310, that’s Beverly Hills, all the cool kids want that one”. So, I am now a cool kid with a 310 prefixed cell number. [yes, cell number, not mobile number, gotta get the lingo down because my pronunciation of data already got me funny looks]

I also called in to Target for a blow up mattress and pillow to get me by until a) we get our apartment and b) til I get a real bed. Another simple procedure.

And then it was lunch at Birds Cafe/Bar where I ordered the turkey baguette with brie and cranberry mayo that came with a side of sweet potato fries. It was delish, if oversized. I tucked into the sweet potato fries, these yummy little waffley looking things, but could only manage half of it. However, the waiter came over with a plastic container for me to take the other half home for later! Two meals in one, my kinda eating out.

Feeling a little sleepy around 3pm, I wandered up the road to a little supermarket in Hollywoodland where I came across my first Australian accents. Three guys had broken down and they wanted to know if I knew somewhere nearby they could have something to eat. I must have exuded some confidence about where I was going (I didn’t feel it) but then when they heard my fumbled response and Australian accent, they just wrote me off.

I think I’m still running on adrenaline, because I barely got any sleep on the plane last night, had 5 hours sleep each of the two nights before that and have lasted til 5pm since I got in at 7:30am. I look forward to sleeping on my new airbed tonight and seeing what tomorrow has in store for me.

Handy tip:
When coming to the US, always fill in the I-94 form, even if the airline staff tell you you only need the Customs Declaration. It could save you time if the officials then say you need it, as happened to me. So I ended up being one of the last three people to get my bags off the carousel. In fact, I was so late that airport staffed had already taken them off and loaded them on a trolley for me.

Surprise:
Airport parking was only $3 for about 30 minutes to an hour. Melbourne Airport’s is ridiculously expensive by comparison – $12.