California through a windshield (3: Los Angeles)
There’s a certain amount of excitement when you’re going to visit Los Angeles for the first time. It’s one of those places that you doubted really existed because it was always present only in movies and TV series before this. And it still seems unreal when you drive past the sign boards that read ‘Hollywood Boulevard’ or ‘Pasadena’ or ‘Sunset Boulevard’. There’s only one problem, its been in your head so long that when you actually see it, it doesn’t seem like much. I enjoyed Los Angeles, but what I enjoyed about it the most was Venice Beach, not Hollywood Boulevard or Sunset Boulevard.
Strangely, and without intending to, we reached LA on the evening of the Oscars. None of us were really interested in sneaking a peek at a celebrity though, and we decided instead to just eat at In-N-Out burger, which turned out to be a brilliant decision. I couldn’t believe my eyes when, halfway through my delicious, cheap and horridly unhealthy burger, a woman decked up in a fancy, glittering dress and ridiculously elegant high heels clip-clopped her way into In-N-Out. Her dress was slit up almost all the way up her thigh, and her face glowed so radiantly that it seemed she might have just used up an entire make up store for one night. Oblivious to the stares, she got herself the cheap, horridly unhealthy burger, sat down at the table next to mine, and dug into it. Literally DUG into it. I couldn’t watch, but couldn’t stop grinning even when I didn’t.
That night, we bought some beer and decided to go for a drive. And where did we end up? Mulholland Drive. It seemed like LA comprised only famous locations. There is an entrance to Runyon Canyon National Park on Mulholland Drive which we discovered at ten thirty in the night, and duly decided to explore. The thrills of trespassing. So we climbed over the gate, hoping nobody sees us, and ran inside the park in pitch darkness. It only took one shuffle and rustle of leaves to send us running straight back over the gate. We had absolutely no idea what the park was supposed to have!
We did, of course, visit Hollywood Boulevard the next day, followed by Venice Beach, and then Griffith Observatoy (from which you can see all of LA), and finally made the worst decision of the trip: to drive to San Francisco overnight. I do not recommend that at all.
Photo credits: The brilliant Rodolfo and Chansun