L.A. on the cheap..

Guillermo (William) and his partner, Melissa, visited Williams homeland - Argentina - for a family gathering over a recent Christmas. He also wanted to investigate how to travel in L.A. on a budget, something of great use these days when looking at the US$ exchange rate! He is keeping us up to date by email and this installment has arrived…………..


We are finally in South America following the obligatory stop in LA LA Land. While in the US we stayed in Tinsel Town, where the only attractions now are prostitution and drugs. We stayed in this great

backpackers just off Hollywood Boulevard just 50 mts from Mann's Chinese Theatre.


We were on station to see 1 murder & 4 arrests for drugs (we suspect). We did not actually see the murder, we arrived a few minutes late as the cops where securing the area!! I reckon you have not been to LA if you don't see at least 3 arrests and a murder (good title for a movie).


We visited Down Town LA, Santa Monica, where all the homeless of America seem to congregate, and of course, we did the walk of fame around Hollywood Boulevard, Vine and Sunset Boulevard.


The best experience was when we arrived and chose to take local transport, the budget travellers that we are here in the U.S. We took the metro from just outside the airport. The old guy at LAX info counter said: "don't worry it is safe, it's full of cops" I tell you what! I did not have too bad of a time because of course I sort of fitted in with the local Mexicans (80% of the train, other 19.9% African Americans and 0.1% Melissa and me), but they must have thought Melissa was crazy. At one point we were looking through the front window of the train, as we turned back we were being look at by the other 99.9% of the train. Anyway, I think I might have seen one too many American movies!


On Wednesday 22/11 we had a 3:45 transfer to the airport b/c Melissa had a 7:30 flight and I was confirmed on the 9:30, but wanted to list myself on the 7:30 flight so we could travel together. Arrived in Quito 23:10 local time! We had no accommodation booked as I wanted to find out what was available from local sources. The people at the airport were great and booked a really good hostel run by a family just on the edge of the New Town. The only problem is that for some reason the toilet and shower walls are only 3/4 height and next to our room, so when the fat guy from Sydney staying across from us goes to the toilet.........................


The next day we had the opportunity to visit the Old Town, the colonial area. If you can look beyond the poverty and ignore the kids begging or asking to shine your shoes with cigarette burns on their arms, it is a beautiful place. The Old Town, like in Cuzco is built on top of the remains of the Inca buildings. It is the typical Spanish colonial city, the centre square surrounded by the cathedral, Government house and other public buildings. This area is well maintained, but as you move away it is a bit more deteriorated. Some of the houses are very charming. Some of areas are quite charming. They have beautifully painted houses and hilly coble stones streets that make great picture material.


Right now is probably a very good time to be here. On 6th of December they celebrate the foundation of the city in 1534 by Sebastian de Belalcazar, so the streets are beautifully decorated with the Ecuatorian and Quiteno coulours. It seems Quitenos a very proud of their city, and you can feel the celebratory atmosphere.


Speak to you all soon.