Once upon a time a hillbilly visited the land of the rich and famous, and the land of car chases, otherwise known as, LA. I had a lot of notions of what to expect to see on this trip, some were correct but so many where not. Alot of people I talked to before the trip asked why I would choose LA as a vacation spot because it’s so bad. How so I would ask. The answers were usually the same. First was the traffic, expect to be stuck in traffic all day and if it’s a mile down the road it will take you an hour to get to it. The second was the smog and smell. Another was the violence, one was the cost, and one was the heat.
Well, I went and now that I’m back I have answers for all those concerns.
1. Traffic, yes, there was a few times it got slow, mainly leaving the airport and it did take a little while to get to where we wanted to go, but overall, it wasn’t that bad. We didn’t go to a lot of places but we did travel a decent distance between places and though the trips from LAX to first hotel, first hotel to second hotel, and then second hotel back to LAX did take between little over an hour to almost 2 hours, it was the combination of traffic and distance. Though we slowed down we still kept moving. There wasn’t a moment where we just sat, not moving, for a long period of time. Now, I’m not going to say that’s the way it always is, but for me, the traffic wasn’t that bad. And the drivers actually were good. In one location, there were a few blocks where the red lights were out and not working, did this cause a major back up? Nope. One direction would stop while the other went, then that direction would stop and the other went, back and forth, one row of cars at a time, just like how it should be done, and traffic moved along at a steady flow. Here in Charlotte, if it’s a flashing yellow light, drivers on the main road will not stop or slow down, and will keep going through it without letting the cars on the side streets come out and if the lights are out completely, then it’s a free for all.
2. Smog and smell of the city was not there for me. Yes there was hazy days where looking in the distance made things seem out of focus but it wasn’t bad. It could have been the smog or it could have been haze, whatever it was, it wasn’t bad for me. Nor was there any smell, well, no stinky smells that would make me think the place stunk. If you’ve been to a heavily populated city, you know it has the smell of people jammed all together, this is what it smelled like, but not bad. In fact in a lot of places, especially the suburbs, it smelled good.
3. I know there is violence in LA, it’s a major city with a lot of people living together, violence happens, but luckily for me, I didn’t see or encounter anything. In fact, everyone I met, from the drivers to people on the street, were nice. Sure there was a few people on the street that wouldn’t even acknowledge me but hey, I’m a longed haired, bearded man walking down the street, I get why they wouldn’t, so nothing held against them from me.
4. The cost, ok, that one everyone had right. Nothing is cheap where I went. A Coke cost me at the cheapest, $5, and it was just a small 12oz bottle. Though it was expensive, I want to also explain that where I went to were places that no matter where they would be located at, the cost would be high. I’m talking about amusement parks, Beverly Hills, and themed hotels. So, yes, the cost was high, but it was also to be expected.
5. The heat, oh the heat, was both hot and not bad. I actually didn’t mind the heat that much there. Yes, it did get super hot out there, one driver told us it was over 100 degrees, but that heat was a dry heat with basically no humidity. I found it funny actually when one person said the humidity was high today but to me it was nothing. I’m used to it being so humid that when you walk outside you feel like you’ve been running 20 miles, it’s hard to breath, and in 5 minutes your shirt is wet. LA heat was just dry, I got hot, did a little sweating that I wiped away, and went on my way. I didn’t get out of breath, I wasn’t wore out, and my energy didn’t get sucked out of me in 5 minutes. What I liked was that when I would go inside a building to the A/C, I would cool off instantly and feel fine. Here in the Carolinas, even when going inside to the A/C, you stay warm and now you have wet clothes on that you can feel sticking to you. To put the 2 locations in comparison, here in Charlotte I will walk about 500 yards at 9am, by the time I get to my destination, I’m huffing and puffing and sweating. In LA, I walked about 10 miles a day, never once got out of breath, and barely sweated any and had no wet clothes.
So, what is LA like? It’s pretty much like any other place when it comes to what’s there. There are shops, fast food (no I didn’t get the chance to have In and Out Burgers), gas stations, and everything else you would see in a city, only it’s a bit more upscale looking and the palm trees. I’m sure there are areas that don’t look like this but where I went, from just the average area to the rich in Beverly Hills (that yes they have some very, very nice looking buildings and homes), it was all clean and looked nice and average. I think the palm trees really set it apart from other places. When I drive down the strip here, the middle of the road is filled with either a bus lane or a turning lane and the sides might have a sidewalk but nothing else. LA had palm trees lined up the streets and down the middle, and that made a huge difference in how the shopping centers looked.
Though, I got to say the landscape there is beautiful, and amazed me on how it was laid out. When looking in one direction it would just be a normal view of shops and homes and roads. However, turn your head to look in the other direction and you will see the same shops and homes but now they are on mountain sides and the background is just huge mountains. It was at times almost fake looking, like someone had painted the background of the mountains there. I’ve been in the mountains but those are the Appalachian Mountains where they are full of trees and rivers. You can see them in the background from a distance but they have a different look, one where they blend into the view instead of stand out in it. In LA, the mountains are mainly rock and brown and they are huge. They stand out against that blue sky and the homes that are scattered below them. It really is a beautiful, awe inspiring sight to see. I now think anyone that has an appreciation of mountains should go visit LA so they can see that skyline.
Another interesting aspect to LA is that everything has some sort of history. Yes, I know everything has a history, but there’s the history of, my house was made in 1975 and has had 3 owners vs my house was made in 1975 and has appeared in so and so movie or was the house used for this show. Now, not everything has some Hollywood history but there’s enough there that it really does seem that way. Even if it don’t then most likely it’s a place that is next door to the place that was used in a movie or show. My first hotel was 3 blocks away from the house used in the Brady Bunch. When I had brunch on Sunday the restaurant was across the street from the hotel in Pretty Woman, That’s just how it is out there, wherever you look or are, I would bet there is something that is known for being a part of something.
I got to say, LA was a very nice place to be. I couldn’t afford to live out there making what I do here but it sure would be nice if I could. There was so much to do out there that even with a week I couldn’t scratch the surface of all that I wanted to do. For instance, I went to the Oscars Museum, which was so much fun and informative, but across the street from it was the Petersen Automotive Museum, which I would have loved to seen, but even being across the street there was no time for me to do it.
When I did go to the Oscars Museum, I did the option of getting to hold a real Oscar award and act like I had won. Yes there is a video that was made and no I will not be showing that video on here. Why? Because for some reason, when I win an Oscar, I do the chicken dance.
But that whole museum is really cool and a lot of fun to visit. There are props from films that I’ve seen before but not the real, actual, ones. Like getting to see the puppet head of a Terminator head of Arnold all messed up, a Gelfling head from Dark Crystal, and the very cool miniature that’s large of the Cobblepot manor from Batman Returns. There was a wall of Oscar statues over all the years, which is really cool to see how the statue has barely changed over all these years. Seeing a Jaws, “Bruce”, that was one of the ones used in the films, hanging from the ceiling made me want to be rich enough to have a giant shark hanging in my house. If you are a film lover and find yourself in LA, this is one of the places you should go see.