Sunday, April 23, 2006

I love LA . . .

Well, that might be overstating things. But I certainly have warmed to the megalopolis during my first visit to the nation's second-biggest city.

For years, I've presumed L.A. was just a bigger West Coast version of Houston - sprawling generic superficial neighborhoods, a giant souless mass of highways and strip shopping centers.

I was wrong.

L.A. certainly has its down sides, but it also has fascinating neighborhoods, beautiful architecture, amazing topography and surprising depth.

My brief weekend visit, surely the first of many, included drives and walks through Hollywood, WeHo, Beverly Hills, downtown, Malibu and Rodeo Drive (see pic below).

We stopped in Santa Monica where we walked along the beach and the city's famed amusement park pier.

We also stopped at Will Rogers Memorial Park, a small green space along Sunset Boulevard across from the Beverly Hills Hotel that made headlines in 1998 when pop singer George Michael was arrested for performing a "lewd act" in front of an undercover cop in the park's tiny loo. (Sorry, no pics)

Just as they have elsewhere, gasoline prices are skyrocketing in California.

And an outdoor smoking ban along the Santa Monica beach offered yet another reminder that life in the Golden State is way different from life in Louisiana.

1 comment:

Bill said...

The large building in the background of the Rodeo Drive pic is the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, where Dashiell Hammett wrote The Thin Man, his classic detective novel. Elvis lived there during his Hollywood heyday in the 1960's. And Warren Beatty lived in the penthouse suite for several years.