This was my second trip to LA and guess what was the highlight of the trip – I was finally able to sight the HOLLYWOOD sign !!! I spent 3 hours driving around with a colleague during my first LA visit just trying to sight the sign. And we failed. So you can imagine when I say I almost jumped out of my seat when unexpectedly I turned a corner and there, in all it’s glory, the iconic sign towered over the landscape. As I said, I was excited and that is an understatement.
But LA is much more than the sign that made it famous. It’s a city of stark constrasts, perhaps like any other big city. It’s got the distinction of being the second most populous city of USA (after NYC), the Entertainment capital of the world (Hollywood), the Gang capital of America (move over Chicago & NYC), a smoggy polluted city and a hispanic majority city (talk about diversity !!). It’s name literally means the City of Angels and though I could not find any angel out there ready to grant my wish, at least there is the famous LAPD to stop Satan (read crime) on it’s tracks.
Since this was my second time visiting the city and the first time actually being able to explore it, I did what any self respecting tourist would do – Melrose Avenue, Via Rodeo, Hollywood Hills, Sunset Boulevard, Walk of Fame, Santa Monica Pier (the original muscle beach anyone ??), Venice beach, Staples Center, Downtown LA, Pasadena, The Tar Pit musuem, here, there, everywhere….. Of course I missed Malibu beach and Griffith Observatory thanks to a very short weekend, but that’s for the next visit, right ??? And out of all these, I choose these as ones that I enjoyed most:
Santa Monica Pier: The original muscle beach, a place full of energy, excitement and romanticism. The bright lights and the fun rides took me back to my childhood days when riding a Ferris Wheel was the biggest thrill ever…Oh, how I miss those childhood days…. But, back to Santa Monica. We were lucky there was a local festival on the evening of our visit and the atmosphere was electrified by the presence of trapeze artists, gymnasts, jugglers, dancers, taco trucks, loud music and lots of people. If I had my way, I could have spent my entire vacation just sitting by that lovely beach and watching the world go by me. Fortunanately, for you guys, I came back to write this report 🙂
Via Rodeo: For one day, I became the Diva. I checked out Prada and Dior and Chanel and Hermes and none were to my taste (my wallet’s taste i.e.). I browsed Judith Leiber and realized form over function is so passe. I passed by Lamborginis and Maseratis and Jaguars and Maybachs and still kept my cool. Why, I even found the car I had dreamt of all my life, a yellow Rolls Royce convertible, but decided it was too large to be accomodated by my community gates, and hence moved on. I was proud of the fact that even in the face of surreal-ness I could hold my own. Of course, the Porsche outlet turned me to a jello of ooooh’s and aaahhh’s but that was the exception. In the end, when I got in my rented Camry, I felt at peace for having sleep walked through a richie rich glamorous Rodeo Drive life 🙂
Meeting old friends: This trascends place and time but since it happened during my LA trip, it has to be mentioned here. Good friends, nice lovely souls, living in a nice cozy neighbourhood and enjoying a nice life make for a really pretty picture. Add a little red wine, some superb fusion food and tons of gossip and you have experienced a truly happy time. Thanks to my friends Catherine, Alejandro and TJ, my trip was made all the more special.
So the bottom line is, visit LA at least once, preferably more often. It’s a city that’s as full of hype as it is of enchantment. What you find is totally upto you 🙂