The City of Angels was different from what I expected, but for the better as it's actually a very pleasant
place. The traffic and smog can still be bad (although the latter has been much improved in recent
years), there is plenty to see and do, but everything is very spread out. The city is incomprehensibly
huge - I spent at least half my time on buses during my first visit, but unfortunately there
were no dramatic "Speed" events to liven it up. However I really liked seeing so many sights that I recognised
from the movies, all over town.
Los Angeles was the end of my summer trip in 2001, I spent my last night on the floor of LAX waiting
for my flight, and woke up to the events of the morning of 9/11. I was due to fly to Boston and then
on to New York that Friday, neither of which were on the cards any longer. I waited in a hotel for
two days until getting a flight to Cincinnati, and waited there a day or so until I could buy a new
flight to London. I consider myself lucky that I wasn't in the wrong place at the wrong time, and frustrating
as my situation was, I realise I was far better off than so many others.
Downtown Los Angeles was much cleaner than I thought it would be, this picture looks almost like a painting.
The building on the left is the erstwhile Library Tower, tallest building west of the Mississippi
and featured in "Independence Day".
The Bonaventure Hotel in downtown LA is a bit of a landmark institution. I spent a while buzzing up
and down the lifts trying to get some decent pictures out the windows.
Grauman's Chinese Theatre is where the big Hollywood premieres are held, and where all the hand prints
and signatures are set in the cement on the pavement. Most of them were quite old, some I didn't
recognise but I did spot Shir Shean Connery in there.
Arnold Schwarzenegger left his mark in the cement back in 1994, at the height of his movie career following
the success of Terminator 2. At time of writing, the erstwhile Governator was mired in a sea
of divorce, questionable relationships and extramarital children coming out of the woodwork. Will
he really be back...?
Here I am getting the obligatory photo at the start of the Walk of Fame on Hollywood Boulevard. There
are about 300 stars, and I tried to read them as I walked along the street staring at my feet and
bumping into locals.
Another shot of the Walk of Fame from outside the Capitol Records building.
Hollywood Boulevard itself, at the corner with Highland. The Hollywood area is not glamourous, it's
very much cheesy low-end tourist market style, in amongst the theatres and stars on the sidewalk.
On my second visit there I was pleased to see that they've built an area where you can actually see
the Hollywood Sign, which is not visible from the street.
Universal Studios at Universal City, Hollywood. I highly recommend all the attractions in here, especially
the Terminator 2 ride! Well worth the overdraft. This is the globe logo at the entrance to the
Sunset Boulevard runs from the coast at Santa Monica all the way through to Hollywood. It's a bit of
a centre for bars and clubs around the West Hollywood area, the so-called "Sunset Strip". And yes,
they have girls girls girls.
Santa Monica is one of the most pleasant parts of greater Los Angeles, with its compact centre, sweeping
beach and pleasure pier. This is the Third Street Promenade.
The entrance to Santa Monica Pier, the sign is now a bit of an attraction in its own right, featuring
in many movies as it does.
One of the many beach huts that line the Pacific Ocean. There were also some of those yellow jeeps that
go around, but unfortunately no red swimsuited beauties.
On a weekend however the beach is properly crowded, but the Pacific is not altogether warm for swimming
at any time of year.
Beach babes rollerblading down the Santa Monica beach boardwalk, just like in the movies.
Down at Venice Beach there are all sorts of strange things going on, as well as the bizarre and risqué
shops and souvenirs, there's Muscle Beach, and the skate parks. The blurry kid on the left was only
about 6 years old, but he was already a regular Bart Simpson.
I took this shot whilst trying to walk to the Hollywood sign, which like everything in LA was much further
away than we thought. You can see downtown through the smog in the distance. This is quite representative
of Los Angeles. We never did make it to the sign...
During my first trip to Los Angeles I tried walking up the Pacific Coast Highway to Malibu from Santa
Monica, somewhat unaware of the distance involved. Eventually I gave up and hopped on a bus, which
got me there in time to capture this beautiful red sunset.
Heading the opposite direction from Santa Monica is Laguna Beach, home of the MTV show by the same name.
Another resort done in that Californian way; beaches and palm trees.
California Girls by the lifeguard station at Laguna Beach. Or are they California Gurls?
In Laguna Beach, even the rocks look nice, washed by the tide.
The Encounter Restaurant at LAX is one of the city's most recognisable buildings, built around the time
that UFO-related paraphernalia was very popular. However, I have yet to partake in a probing.
As I sat in the hotel post-9/11 waiting for the airport to reopen all I did was eat, sleep and watch
the news. This is what I could see out my window, the flags flying respectfully at half mast.