I realise that no one has asked me to join their roller derby team, as yet. I also also realise that the first question is probably not: “what would your name be?” It would probably be something along the lines of “can you roller skate?” or even “do you have any athletic ability whatsoever?” (The answer to both is no). But, if they should ask, “and what would your excellent roller derby name be?”, I have an answer – Sinderella. Simple, but effective. A bit like me. However I digress, roller derby was in LA, Phoenix came first.

Phoenix is one of those places that we arrived in and I thought – why, exactly, am I here? Which is not to take anything away from the great Southwestern hub, it’s just that I really only included it on the itinerary because it is a major city and not because I had anything specific in mind to do there. Except maybe to see some cacti. Which we did about 3 seconds after driving into Phoenix city limits. Tick. Now what?

In the end, Hoff and I decided to take some time off our hectic and exhaustive sight-seeing schedule and basically take it easy. Which for me included some fairly girly activity – shopping and going to the hairdressers. Bliss. We also ate some very excellent food in Phoenix which was very exciting and holds me in good stead for returning to what I consider to be the foodie’s nirvana – Melbourne.

And then on to Los Angeles where the first port of call was to drop off our wheels at LAX. It was a bit like farewelling a good friend – we’d had some good times together; Hoff, the Dodge Challenger and I. And I am a little sad to report that our drive into California from Phoenix was not particularly forthcoming in the number plate stakes. Specifically, we went from 43 to 44 during the 6 hour drive. The only thing I can put it down to is this: besides us and some poor fool from Maryland, no one bar Californians are crazy enough to attempt to drive in Los Angeles.

So we remain forever locked on 44. Who would have thought that we would see Alaska and Hawaii but not 6 others? I can only conclude that Wyoming, for example, must be the most awesome place in the world as nobody ever sees fit to leave. Must add to my to do list.

But onto Los Angeles. Hoff and I have bee to LA before but only to do the standard touristy things – Disneyland, Universal Studios, and so on. But this time our plans included something else entirely – to quote Ryan, USC baby. We had timed our stay in LA purely so that Hoff could see his beloved University of Southern California Trojans play the Washington Huskies.

We began Ryan’s pilgrimage to the LA Memorial Coliseum by behaving like the ultimate impostors and wandering through the USC campus on game day. And what a revelation. It was about 10.30am (Ryan insisted we get going early) and the party was in full swing. There were students, there was a marching band, there was tailgating and most importantly, there was beer in red cups. Hurrah! And the boys in red and gold got a win in the end too. A good day was had by all.

And in the ultimate spirit of marital cooperation and compromise, we followed up our college football experience with a trip to the ‘Doll Factory’ to watch the LA Derby Dolls battle it out – roller derby style. Hoff and I were cheering for the Varsity Brawlers – partly because we liked their names better and partly because they wore purple (like a certain other beloved sporting franchise we know). Little did we know they were serious underdogs – their opponents, the Sirens were undefeated in the season so far whereas the Brawlers were in line for first round draft picks (we also didn’t know there was a draft so it was a night of revelations). And lo and behold, it was a win for the underdogs! It was a tight game and both Hoff and I enjoyed it immensely. As did my brand new roller derby alter-ego, Sinderella.

It was also a busy weekend in Hollywood for film premieres. Whilst wandering around we happened upon the premiere of Happy Feet 2 and I finally had my first celebrity sighting of the the trip (Pink). And then the ultimate in happy coincidences – the world premiere of Breaking Dawn was taking place in the plaza behind our hotel. To be honest, I think Hoff was a little suspicious that I timed the stay and accommodation not to coincide with the USC fixture, but with the release of Breaking Dawn. You see, until this weekend, I had always considered myself a reasonably serious Twilight fan (yes, another guilty pleasure). I now see that relatively speaking, I am not a serious fan at all, I am just a fan, and a pretty slack one at that. Because what we initially thought was another ‘Occupy…’ movement camped out on the forecourt of the Staples Centre, turned out to actually be a collection of die hard (twi hard?) fans who were camping out to see the red carpet (to clarify: not the movie, just the red carpet). They started camping on Wednesday. The red carpet was on Monday. Whoa. Kind of puts my midnight screening attendance at Hoyts Eastland to shame.

So whilst Hollyweird certainly delivered for us on this occasion, we now find ourselves on the last leg of our trip – San Diego. We’re looking forward to a little R&R here, but we’re even more excited about getting home. 3 sleeps til we get on that plane – hurrah!

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