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Hip World Travelers Bunk Here

January 20, 2002|GINNY CHIEN

They come from around the globe to the Orbit Hotel, a groovy hostel amid the funky boutiques on Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood. Open nearly two years, the 32-room former retirement home, refurbished in '60s mod decor, lures international hipsters with clean, affordable rooms (rates start at $17) and its proximity to the Sunset Strip and Hollywood. We dropped by on a recent Wednesday morning.

Nadia Shaera Meshnuna

23, Morocco, student

Biggest L.A. tourist trap?

Those little shops along Hollywood Boulevard.

Most surprising L.A. experience?

I saw these big, muscly guys in little bikinis at Gold's Gym. That was pretty funny.

Off-the-beaten-track finds?

Some of the little coffee shops around here. There's one on Franklin [Avenue] that has a great creative vibe.

How does L.A. compare to other cities you've traveled to?

I think L.A. is a bit more conservative, mellower.

Essential L.A. phrase?

"What kind of car do you drive?"

Darren Mulvogue

32, Melbourne, Australia, business owner

Most surprising L.A. experience?

How expensive everything has been. I can't get a decent beer that won't put a dent in my wallet.

Seen any "typical" Angelenos?

People seem to be in a hurry all the time. Everyone's rushing around like they're late.

Favorite L.A. experience?

The Petersen Automotive Museum. Cars are my thing.

Favorite souvenir?

$21 jeans. You gotta be happy with that.

Most important item to pack?

Cash, without a doubt. This place is all about cash.

How does L.A. compare to Melbourne?

The impatience level is incredible--the second the light turns green, someone's pushing the horn. But [when] I ask for directions, people are very polite. So I guess it's just when they get in their cars.

Essential L.A. phrase?

"What's up?"

Cousin Ogance Fonclaud

34, Paris, singer

Best L.A. photo op?

Some of the buildings downtown are very beautiful.

Seen any "typical" Angelenos?

People in L.A. seem more open than people from other American cities.

Your favorite L.A. experience?

Brentwood is nice. It is very clean; friendly people.

How does L.A. compare to Paris?

L.A. has more possibilities. In Paris, it's hard to get into certain businesses.

Essential L.A. phrase?

Not sure, but people seem to talk quickly.

Ayumi Tone

22, Osaka, Japan, restaurant hostess

Most surprising L.A. experience?

Meeting different people, especially at Venice Beach, like tattoo people and men with big muscles.

Seen any "typical" Angelenos?

The people on Melrose, [with] wild clothes and bright hair.

Off-the-beaten-track finds?

Does Griffith Park count?

Favorite souvenir?

An old T-shirt I found at a flea market.

Most important item to pack?

Sunscreen. I don't want to get tanned.

Essential L.A. phrase?

"Cool."

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