I'm not sure I've ever visited a place whose advance publicity was so accurate. For many years I've dismissed suggestions of visiting Los Angeles with variations on the retort, "Why would I want to visit a hyperthyroid version of Sudbury?" I like urban urban spaces: high density cities, with crowded sidewalks and a core easily explored on foot.
Turns out I was pretty much on the money. Like Sudbury, LA is a sprawling mess of a suburban city, with multiple "cores" connected by crowded freeways like so many ganglions linked by over-extended synapses. The air is visibly filthy and tastes foul and there isn't a pub within walking distance of our hotel at Melrose and Wilton.
All that said, there have been some surprises.
- There roads here are narrow! Or rather, the lanes are. We've rented a super-small car and I still feel crowded in my own lanes when not on a freeway. Who'd have thought this auto-centric city would have tighter driving spaces than Ottawa or Montreal?
- The Hollywood Hills are really fucking high, and Mulhulland Drive is well-worth making a tour of;
- The Hollywood Bowl looks really small and old from up there;
- Teeth. I've never seen so many faces with so few teeth. The Brits might be notorious for "bad" teeth, but US television hasn't told me that so many (poor and poorish) Americans have no teeth;
- Motorcyclists habitually ride between lanes of traffic on the freeways, scooting along like bike-couriers in Toronto;
- In general, the drivers here are really aggressive and make those in Montreal look like effete English dandies (yes, like effete dandies!). I was nearly side-swiped at least three times yesterday alone, with a couple of other close calls;
- Walking about makes me feel significantly thinner than I do back home; but
- Muscle Beach makes me feel significantly weaker;
- For god's sake, pay attention the curbs when you park here, not just the signs. Not noticing that you've parked to a curb painted red can cost you — sigh — $93.00; and
- The Oaxacan Mexican restaurant across from our hotel serves food unlike anything I've had before. Tex-Mex it ain't!
Now, off to bring Raven a coffee and start the day.
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