Tuesday, January 3, 2012
When I said that I was going to Los Angeles for a week’s vacation, many of my friends asked why Los Angeles? I was surprised by the question. Why not Los Angeles? There’s plenty of sightseeing, beaches, warm weather, and interesting places to visit. I thought that maybe my friends assumed I was going on business since I work in television, except that I said it was a vacation. Or maybe since many of my friends also work in television, they couldn’t imagine going to the entertainment capital of the world for vacation. Too close to work.
I had only been to Los Angeles once before and that trip was work-related. I have some nice memories of that trip, but mainly the experience was a bummer. I didn’t leave with a positive impression of the city. Everything seemed dirty and exhausted, especially the palm trees.
This trip was much better and completely erased the bad impression of the last visit. My wife lived in L.A. before I met her and she acted as our tour guide. We covered a lot of ground in just four days. Our hotel was in Venice Beach. We walked from Venice Beach to the Santa Monica Pier and then into the promenade. We visited Malibu, Hollywood, Griffith Observatory, Los Feliz, Beverly Hills (and the Sharon Tate house), Abbot Kinney, and more places than I care to list. We saw the Groundlings, had a late dinner at Cantor’s Deli, a drink at the Dresden restaurant, and more.
At Cantor’s, I saw a character actor whose name I didn’t know. He usually plays the Jewish friend. I considered walking over to him and saying, “Didn’t I cast you for a Toyota commercial a few years ago?” But I didn’t because there was a good chance he’d say yes.
Los Angeles smells like a combination of pot and burnt coffee.
The local news spent more time covering the preparations for the Rose Bowl Parade than any other news story.
There are British people everywhere. WTF?
At Shutters on the Beach, a glass of orange juice costs ten dollars. The only reason I could imagine why it costs that much is because the juice is individually squeezed by Guatemalan virgins between their breasts.
Actually, everything is expensive in L.A. Even at the grungy hippie Chinese restaurant without a liquor license.
As we were leaving the grungy Chinese restaurant, we ran into a homeless man outside the restaurant asking for money to buy food. We had a bag of leftovers, which we vaguely considered having in the room later, but more likely we would have thrown away. We gave the leftovers to the homeless man and as we walked away, we saw him sitting on the sidewalk eating.
In our hotel room, along with the overpriced bottles of booze, was a Booty Parlor intimacy kit and Sexwax (which is actually just sunscreen).
In our hotel room, there are sunglasses for sale.
Before we left, my wife kept reminding me to bring sunglasses. When we got to L.A., I understood why. The sun is intense and you need sunglasses. There are sunglasses of all varieties for sale everywhere you go. The sun makes everything appear sharp and well-defined, which made me finally understand why movies shot in L.A. look the way they do. Also, the sun’s sharp rays made it possible for my wife to see how gray my hair had become.
On Venice Beach, there are a surprising number of cats on leashes. One of the cats was a large ragdoll cat. His owner was a street vendor and at the end of the day, he put the ragdoll cat in a cat carrier. Handwritten on the side of the carrier, it read: Warning! Ferocious Venice Cat.
On Venice Beach, the snake man uses rubber snakes. But he doesn’t try to make you think they are real snakes. In fact, he tells where he got the rubber snakes, which is kind of an interesting story but not interesting enough to go into here.
On Venice Beach, we saw the legendary Harry Perry. For twenty dollars, he gave me a t-shirt, a CD and I was allowed to take a photo of him with my wife. Such a deal.
On Venice Beach, there are many medicinal marijuana clinics. Some of them have banners that read: Walk-ins Welcome. At one clinic, a pretty girl in a white lab coat hawked the clinic’s wares. If only, 1) I hadn’t been staying in a non-smoking room and 2) I still smoked pot.
L.A. voted to limit the Venice Beach street vendors. I’m glad I got a chance to see the bohemian version before the city sanitizes the strip and makes it as boring and soullessly commercial as Times Square in New York.
Things I overheard:
A rollerskating girl dressed completely in pink: “What do plastics eat?”
A teenage boy points at the La Brea tar pit: “It looks like the Gulf of Mexico.”
The Asian waitress at Benice: “Okay, who is ready to order?”
Some of the things said by woman ordering many many orders of tacos, burgers, and tubs of fries at the Paradise Cove: “Don’t eat big fish. ” “No dairy, no dairy.” “Cut the burgers in half.” “The fries are from an earlier order and here is the buzzer for the fries, but now this is the buzzer for the tacos. And I already paid for the fries and here is the buzzer for the fries I already ordered. You can cut the burgers in half, right? And remember, no sour cream. We don’t eat dairy.”
I don’t have direct quotes, but I overheard an interesting conversation between two young women at a local hangout. They were stylishly dressed in knock-offs. Their conversation centered on how they were able to look stylish without paying full price.
Overall, the trip to Los Angeles was great. The people could be annoying, but not all of them and they were no more annoying than the annoying people in Atlanta. At least in Los Angeles, most of the drivers don’t try to run you off the road. In fact, when we got back to Atlanta, we were driving back home on the freeway when a redneck in an oversized pickup truck roared past us and crowded us out of our lane. Welcome home, yehaw!