Erin and her best friend Amy flew into San Diego last week. They are both in their mid-20s, and both are nurses who live in Georgia. It was their first visit to California, and they were excited.
They visited San Diego's world-famous zoo and fell in love with the giant pandas. "They are so cute," Erin said. Then they drove north to La Jolla so that they could glide off the cliffs 100 feet above the beach. That was scary, exciting, fun, and expensive. They drove to the beach to get a peek at nudists, but no one was there. "That was a major disappointment," Erin joked.
After visiting San Diego, they headed north to Los Angeles. They saw the Hollywood sign and visited many places in Hollywood and Beverly Hills. They hoped they would see lots of actors and actors' homes. If they got lucky, they would get some autographs and maybe even some photographs of them standing next to a movie star.
But they were disappointed. A minivan took them on a tour past actors' homes, but no actors were outside their homes. The homes themselves were barely visible. They were often hidden by tall gates, fences, walls, hedges, or trees. Later, however, Erin and Amy were able to put their hands and feet into the handprints and footprints of movie stars at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood.
They went to Venice boardwalk just south of the Santa Monica pier, because the boardwalk is famous for its muscle beach, weird characters, and paddle tennis. The boardwalk is one of the best places in California for people-watching. The girls enjoyed talking to the colorful locals. They were also surprised at how many people they talked to were Europeans visiting California.
After Venice, they went sunbathing on the beach just north of the Venice pier. They even got to hang out with some real California surfers. The surfers tried to teach them how to ride a board in the water. That was difficult but fun. They took plenty of pictures to show their friends back home.
Erin and Amy drove to Burbank the next day to watch the taping of a Jay Leno show, but the line was so long that they decided to pass on it. Instead they went to a mall and had a great time shopping. They flew back to Georgia with souvenirs, photos, and wonderful memories. "But next time," said Amy, "we're not leaving until we see some real live actors!"