Los Angeles

The only way to do Southern California is in a convertible with the Beach Boys singing their melodies. Unfortunately, they would only squabble in the back seat of our small rented Mustang and so we are making do with their music on the stereo.

Our girls weren’t too impressed with the open top experience. It plays havoc with their hair and they have to sit on any loose paper in more cramped conditions than usual. Most importantly, Lorna and I have selected image and coolness in exchange for practicalities, and that – unquestionably – is the teenager’s role in society.

After years of underinvestment in their infrastructure, California’s, or at least LA’s, roads are in very poor condition. Cracks and holes are everywhere, and one wonders if a 4×4 might have been more appropriate. I can hear former California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, driving in our rental car and amending his catchphrase to say “Oh my back”

On the first evening, we took the girls to the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Mann’s Chinese Theatre. I hadn’t been to LA since the early 90s, and so had missed Mann’s bankruptcy in 2000 and the later purchase of the naming rights this year by Chinese electronics corporation TCL. This area seemed pretty squalid to us in 1993, and the arrival of Madame Tussaud’s and Ripley’s “Believe it or not” has not conspicuously brought it up market. Nevertheless, we had a fairly decent Chinese meal.

Some people are highly dismissive of the City of Angels: pollution; the traffic; and the way that some of its residents think differently from the rest of the planet. But I love cinema (or movies as I now need to call them), so I can forgive it a lot.

There’s much to like too:-
– Palm trees everywhere against the backdrop of an always blue sky
– The evocative feeling that one gets when one is driving on LA roads: Sunset Boulevard, Mullholland Drive; Santa Monica Boulevard, Avenue of the Stars
– Low rise buildings, many of Spanish influence in hues of terracotta and off-white
– Beaches. Hundreds of them
– Great food and thousands of restaurants
– Some pretty cool things to see and do (Getty Museum, Santa Monica pier, Venice Beach, Disney, Film Studios, Beverly Hills….)

I was a little dubious when Lorna said that we would stay in a Best Western. I’ve stayed in a few in my travels and their “independently owned and operated franchise” model has meant that the quality can vary somewhat. But Lorna found a gem of hotel. Right on Sunset Boulevard, it’s actually really quiet and our room backs onto the swimming pool and courtyard.


3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Anonymous on July 6, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    Lorna needs to open a business – hotel finder!


  2. Posted by Melville Bishop on July 6, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    Lorna needs to start a business – hotel finder!


  3. Posted by Anonymous on July 7, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    Lorna is really switch on most every think I don’t know how you would managed
    With out her ??? Love nana xxxx


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