~Image: The tide is clearly out in this image of a canal at
Still suffering from the effects of jet lag (yes, Livingstone, I know flying 10,000kms hardly compares to the light years you’ve travelled, but tell someone who cares - I’m still tired, Ok?), I embarked on a whistle-stop five hour bus tour of
Under the expert guidance of Cyril, a driver for VIP Tours, I and my fellow passengers were whipped around Los Angeles for a strictly ‘just the highlights’ tour which took in Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive, Farmer’s Market, The Grove, Hollywood, Grauman’s Chinese Theater, FOX Studio’s, the Hollywood Boulevard Walk of Fame, Marina Del Rey, Sunset Strip and Venice Beach, amongst others.
Three stops were included in the tour: Farmer’s Market,
Along the route, Cyril pointed out some of the many buildings used in movies set in
Cyril pointed out some of the homes of the rich and famous: Steven Spielberg’s massive mansion on top of a hill overlooking the city; Marilyn Monroe’s L.A. home (quite modest by today’s standards); classic music venue’s like the Roxy and the Rainbow; and the venue Johnny Depp bought just so he and his buddies could party long into the night undisturbed.
The Hollywood Walk of Fame (along
The stars don’t just recognize actors and actresses – they also immortalize legendary directors, motion pictures, broadcast television and radio, audio recordings, and theater/live performance. As an aside, I note with some bemusement, that Muhammad Ali received a star under the Live Theatre category. Boxing certainly offers spectacle on a grand scale, but live theatre? Ali’s star can be found at 6801,
Apart from the glitz and glamour, I couldn’t help notice some of the poverty on display around the city. The most obvious signs of this being the numerous homeless men and women, young and old who have clearly missed out on winning their small part of the American Dream. Other observations: the ubiquitous trash that one sees everywhere; the relatively small midtown section of the city with its modest number of high-rise buildings and skyscrapers (I expected a lot more); the large number of surprisingly small homes and apartments
As someone who champions the concept of slow travel, these bus tours are exactly the type of thing I dislike most, and yet there I was doing the ‘tourist thing’ just like so many other out-of-towners. Sometimes you just have to swallow your pride and make the most of the available time you have – and today was one of those occasions. For just $55, the tour was cheap, quick, entertaining enough, and the bare minimum you would need to get some sort of overview of the most popular parts of the city.
I would love to come back and spend a month or two in
Historical information about Venice Beach courtesy of Wikipedia...