Sunday, May 08, 2011

City of Angels

"What do you thinking about taking a road trip?"

"Where would you like to go?"

"The television commercials tell me to discover California."

"How about Beverly Hills?"

"Sounds great to me."

What I knew about Beverly Hills was two things:
- It was somehow attached to LA.
- This is where the Beverly Hillbillies moved when they found "Texas tea."

Ryan and I picked up Julie at the end of her school day, mid afternoon on Good Friday. While most Canadians were out on the Easter break, life carried on in California. We stopped at Rubios. I had the Chicken Tortilla Soup, which far exceeded any of my expectations.

The GPS said 6 and a half hours from San Francisco to Los Angeles. We decided to take the scenic route. The GPS does not apparently need to change drivers, go to the washroom or stop for ice cream. We bolted out of the car in LA.

By the time we checked into the hotel and made our way into Santa Monica, most of the shops were closed on the Promenade. We found a pizza place called Joe's Pizza, that features New York-style specialties. The best thin pizza crust. I am hooked!

The Inn at Venice Beach, where we stayed, is a block away from the beach, a happening place full of shopping, dining, sports, recreation and entertainment. Our first morning, we went for a walk down the boardwalk.

The LA Fire Department were hanging out as they waited for calls.

We decided to have lunch in Hollywood. Hollywood Boulevard. After eating at the Pig 'n Whistle, we strolled the Walk of Stars.

Us and many, many others. What we saw was Buzz Lightyear, 2 Michael Jacksons and 3 Darth Vaders. From what I can gather, these actors make their money by posing with money-producing, camera-toting tourists.

Our next destination was the Hollywood sign. Thanks to iPhone and GSP technology, we had an entertaining excursion to our viewpoint. At the pullout, 3 girls were performing for a dance video - over and over again, we heard the same song. The life of glamour!

Next we found a lookout over the Hollywood Bowl and part of LA spread out before us.

The Hollywood Bowl is in the bottom right hand corner. A primarily music concert venue, it can seat 17,736 people.

Back in the car, we followed Mulholland Drive, a road that follows the ridgeline of the Santa Monica Mountains and Hollywood Hills. It is home to some of the most exclusive and expensive homes in the world. This is where the stars live.

By the time we had descended into Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive, the sun was setting.

We headed back to the ocean.

This is what I learned from hanging out that day in LA:
  • LA is one huge city. LA has a land area of 498 square miles compared to SF whose land area is 46 square miles.
  • In the hills of Beverly Hills, there are lots of homes set back from the roads - an excellent place for famous people to retreat.
  • There is no need for boredom in LA. That is one happening place.
  • If you want to take part in a backlot tour of an entertainment studio, book ahead.
  • For spotting movie stars, don't hang out with the tourists.
  • Sun, warm temperatures - easy adaptation.