Today Leo's Rabbit was shopping in the heart of Beverly Hills at Rodeo Drive, the epicentre of luxury, fashion and lifestyle and undeniably one of the most famous and most pricey streets on the globe. With over 100 boutiques offering the finest in fashion apparel, jewellery, shoes, handbags and accessories from top brands such as Chanel, Hermes, Cartier, Gucci, Versace, Tiffany and many more, but not a single carrot shop, Rodeo Drive was not the best choice for Rabbit's shopping trip :-) Never mind making a purchase though... Although Rabbit ended up empty-pawed he enjoyed window shopping and watching glamorous people walking along the street. He was hoping to see some celebrities, but he wasn't at luck. It's not surprising however if we take to consideration that he would be able to recognise only Brad Pitt and Bugs Bunny. He might have even brushed against some movie star but he wouldn't know it. If you are a celebrity reading this and you had an encounter with one British Rabbit on a sunny April afternoon at Rodeo Drive please get in touch. We would love to include your name here!
While walking along the street Leo's Rabbit admired an array of exotic and super luxury cars. He was especially impressed with a custom made Bugatti Veyron, the fastest production car in the world, with its top speed of 431.072 km/h (267.856 mph). The fasted rabbit in the world, jackrabbit, can achieve a speed of 72 km/h (45 mph). It may be six times less than Bugatti, but pretty good for a rabbit though. Leo's Rabbit suddenly felt an urge to drive this super car and become, not only the poshest, but also the fastest rabbit in the world. He imagined himself with his ears flowing in the wind at top speed and with this thought he hopped towards the car intending to take it for a joyride. His attempt wasn't successful however, and looking at the picture you might have already gathered why. Well... it's pretty obvious... our British Rabbit forgot that he is in the USA and he sat on the passenger side of the car. Here in England we have right hand drive cars and we drive on the left side of the road. Apart from the United Kingdom, there are only 3 other countries in Europe that still drive on the left: Ireland, Malta and Cyprus. We like to be different, don't we? We are still a monarchy (Rabbit loves the Royal Family), we kept our own currency after joining EU, we mostly use imperial measuring units, our British English confuses Americans, we have windows opening outwards, we use separate taps for hot and cold water (icy cold and boiling hot, that is), we eat HP sauce and Marmite (yak...) and our traditional cuisine is fish & chips. Yes, we are different ;-) But our approach to driving may not be as unique as one may think, as there are 75 countries worldwide still driving on the left. Unfortunately for Rabbit, the USA is not one of them.
After his failed attempt to drive away in a one-million-pound super car ('Thanks goodness it wasn't successful' - thought MamaMus) Leo's Rabbit continued his stroll along the street. He intended to have his breakfast at Tiffany's. He once heard that Aubrey Hepburn used to get a very nice breakfast there. He was surprised to learn that they don't serve any meals at Tiffany's, and instead sell expensive jewellery. As we all know, one can't feed one's hunger with precious stones and valuable metals, so Rabbit left Tiffany's disappointed (and hungry). He tried to find a local McRabbit, but only encountered a posh sushi place called Urasawa. He discovered that Urasawa is actually one of the best restaurants in LA (second best according to Jonathan Gold's list of L.A.'s 101 Best Restaurants published in Los Angeles Times), often referred to as 'the temple of city's greatest sushi and kaiseki'. Although Rabbit is not very keen on sushi, he was willing to try some - he was hungry and, as you may remember if you are following this blog, this little Rabbit has a big appetite. After he learned however that a reservation needs to be made well in advance (he couldn't do without food for another hour, not mentioning a weeks long wait) and a meal at Urasawa currently starts at $395 (he had only $20 in his pocket) he finally left with an empty tummy.
To bring his spirits up, he popped in to an Art Gallery - Galerie Michael, one of the most highly regarded fine art galleries in the world specialising in paintings, drawings, and prints from great masters of the 17th to the 20th centuries. Straight away Rabbit was asked by a well-suited man, if he is interested in art and if he collects art. The well-suited man must have seen all sorts of people (and rabbits) coming through the door and knew that some art collectors could be a little bit eccentric, and you should not judge the customer by the looks, even if the customer is a rabbit. Well... he didn't know that the only thing that Rabbit collects are carrots, so he wasn't able to make any sale (Rabbit really wanted to buy something from this nice man, but there weren't even any pictures of carrots for sale). Leo's Rabbit liked the well-suited man and he enjoyed his warm welcome so much that he not only spent good half an hour admiring artwork on display, but also forgot about his hunger.
At the base of Rodeo Drive Rabbit noticed a tall building, Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel, apparently one of Beverly Hills' oldest and most luxurious hotels. Constructed in 1928, the legendary property features 395 rooms. The largest and the most spectacular guest room is the Penthouse Suite at 465 square meters, located on the private, key-accessed 14th floor of the Beverly Wing with panoramic views of Beverly Hills and Los Angeles from the spacious terrace. After a basic calculation, excited Rabbit gathered that the Penthouse Suite would be able to accommodate 5,812 rabbits! (According to the DEFRA an accommodation space required per rabbit is 0.08 square meters.) He thought however, that even if sharing the suite with another 5,811 rabbits he wouldn't be able to afford the stay.
Beverly Wilshire has served as the home to many iconic personalities, including Warren Beatty, Steve McQueen, John Lennon and Elvis Presley. Rabbit learned that the hotel continues to receive fan mail for the actors, even decades after they have moved out. Although Beverly Wilshire has made guest appearances in many movies such as 'Escape from the Planet of the Apes', 'Clueless', 'Sex and the City: The Movie and Valentine’s Day', today it is affectionately known as the 'Pretty Woman hotel' as it provided the backdrop to exterior scenes from the classic film with Richard Gere and Julia Roberts. Leo's Rabbit decided to send a postcard to Julia Roberts after he returns to England and address it to Beverly Wilshire Hotel. You never know, she may even reply...
On his way home Leo's Rabbit stopped in front of the very naturalistic sculpture called 'Torso'. The statue located on the corner of Rodeo Drive and Dayton Way is an artwork by Robert Graham, who designed major civic monuments across the nation. Rabbit didn't really like the figure of a headless woman and he was more fascinated by the lovely silver-coloured fire hydrants (please excuse his ignorance of art; he is a small town Rabbit after all...). As for the unusual hydrants (everywhere else they are red or yellow), Rabbit heard a rumour that Beverly Hills' fire hydrants are platinum-plated. Very expensive hydrants indeed!
To complete his experience, Rabbit visited Beverly Gardens Park with the iconic 40-foot long Beverly Hills sign. It was the perfect place to snap the last picture of the day.
Rabbit's long day in Beverly Hills ended up with him returning home empty-pawed, tired and hungry. Don't get me wrong - he did enjoy the experience. He had fun window shopping, people-watching and was amused by an array of exotic cars parked along the road. In the same time however he felt a bit overwhelmed by the luxurious surroundings of high end shops and establishments. Although he would have liked to have been a millionaire, even then he would have rather spent a night at a small B&B drinking £2 carrot juice, snacking on a £3 lettuce salad and he would have still liked to drive his small Citroen C3. He thought that this unknown to him world of glamour and luxury, may well serve famous and rich people, but with the money spent here in one day, you probably would have been able to feed millions of hungry rabbits (or even people).
Leo's Rabbit 'lives' in my handbag and he travels with us everywhere we go. He has pictures taken at various locations, tourist attractions and places we visit. As a part of this blog we will describe Leo's Rabbit Travels to share our personal experiences from these visits. Hopefully couple of people (apart from us :-) ) will find it interesting and may even feel encouraged to visit one of Rabbit's destinations.