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The Home Straight, Los Angeles

sunny 26 °C

I will write today about the whole of my time in Los Angeles. I don't have a high opinion of the place so I think my experiences can be written here in sufficient depth.

I returned my car this morning and caught the airport shuttle back to Las Vegas airport as I would be flying to Los Angeles on Saturday 14th. The flight only took thirty five minutes, such a brief length of time that I wasn't expecting at all. My overriding sense upon landing here is that I've now hit the home straight - up the Pacific coast and flying out from Seattle in a few weeks time. I'm staying in Hollywood whilst I'm in Los Angeles and hauling my bags to my hostel was an effort I really didn't need. My initial impression already is that the public transport here is dire and I hope it won't cause me too many difficulties. To get to my hostel I had to exit at Hollywood/Highland and walk five blocks along the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The hostel, at least, is very comfortable.

On Sunday 15th I planned to spend the day at Venice and Santa Monica beaches. So woeful is the public transport here and also so terrible is my ability to navigate it, that that 'day' only materialised as a couple of hours. In order to get the beaches from Hollywood a number of bus changes are needing, taking you south and then west. Of course once I had gone south I got on the wrong connecting bus and west east and it was only when I was in downtown LA that I realised, there was no beach. It was another hour west before I got to the beaches. My initial impressions were how cold both the air and the sea were! It really is very chilly and not what I expected at all. Just north of Santa Monica pier, home to many fisherman with their rods hanging over the pier's edge, are a tribute to American lives lost in Iraq. Each lost life is marked by a small crucifix. It poiniently notes that were Iraqi deaths to be honoured as well, the beach would be full. I walked along the beach and pier, taking in a few of the touristy opportunities. I needed to jump back on the buses east and north before it got to late and the infrequent Sunday service kicked in proper.

On Monday 16th I spent the day in pretty Pasadena. I know Pasadena best as being the setting to the hit US TV show, Brothers & Sisters, but apparantly no one here has heard of it. I ending up just walking around and doing some shopping. I should also mention that I had to head back to the hostel and back as, after picking up a number of items and taking them to the counter, I realised I had left my wallet behind - woops! As the day died I sat eating ice cream and drinking milkshake whilst people watching on Pasadena's main drag. This really is a very pleasent area and just about makes up for how dire LA is.

On Tuesday 17th I did very little besides walk along Hollywood Boulevard and go spot the Hollywood sign. Today gave me plenty of tiem to think about LA. It has perhaps been the least enjoyable place I have visited. It reminds me a great deal of Miami, except it has no warm sea or beaches. So why has LA fallen foul of my tastes? I cannot say; as I have for New York's diversity, Boston's history, Savannah's charm or Boulder's youth, that there is no city like LA. LA is an utterly charmless place that has a great deal of pretention as it fixes itself in an endless cycle of trying to re-image itself. This characteristic reveals that it is a place that is insecure and lacks confidence in its identity - it could not be less like Texas if it tried. The simple truth of the matter must surely be this; that its constant endevours to create some appeal achieve nothing other than to make it ugly and that no matter how hard the tries - mutton will never be lamb.


Posted by MattOGrady 22:11 Archived in USA

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