Los Angeles Travel Blog

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As we cruised down Rodeo Drive in our pastel blue Toyota Prius I squinted my eyes to see through the tinted windows of every hundred thousand dollar car that moseyed by, hoping for the smallest glimpse of a celebrity, a reality star, hell even a politician, but as Rodeo quickly ended and we went back to a view of normalcy I was left not the least bit star stuck.  For all that Hollywood offends me, I'm still human and can't help but be attracted to the beauty and power of it all.  California is the place to be if you have the money.  Done right California can be stunning.  The architecture, the greenery, the intoxicating flowers and the natural ocean backdrop set the stage for a phenomenal place to call home.  But without the green you get the brown.  The dry, desert, flat, arid, dirty, middle class and down the line, life, of central and southern coastal cali.  For every 1 "Rodeo Drive" we saw 20 "lock your door" streets.  For me LA left an imprint of insincerity.  The beauty of it was just a painted facade easily torn away with a dwindling economy.  Even the stars along the hollywood strip are purchased by the actors themselves at 40k a pop. 

I suppose I was let down by LA.  I was hoping for some candyland version of life in the limelight.  Palm tree lined streets stretching down the coast dappled by swarovski iced homes and designer stores framed outside by Bentley's who, when the sun shines just right, should blind you from the sparkling reflection off there flawlessly polished grills.  Instead what I got was a career lesson, showbiz life is hard for the mediocre, and the majority of the entertainment world is subpar.

In other words:

Let's say your'e an 8 year old about to visit Disneyworld for the first time.  You walk through the giant Welcome gates.  The happy theme music enraptures you, and you bounce down Mullberry street from one tall furry animal to the next.  Shaking hands with Mickey.  Blowing kisses to Minnie.  Running giddily back and forth from one fantasy charachter to the next.  You're soo excited that you get a little too far ahead of your parents and turn a corner you shouldn't have to find Pluto's head is that of a cigarette smoking, fouled mouth, mexican.  Yikes!  Thats not right.  Scratch that image.  Just slowly back away and get back to lala land...Wheew.  OK and now you're back and safe on beautiful  Mulberry street skipping and singing wiht all your fantasy friends.  Until you turn another corner to find Snow White smoking up with Dopey and Cinderella snorting lines of white powder off her glass slipper.  That's one scarred 8 year old.  LA is to adults what an unmasked Disneyworld is to kids.  It hurts the head and it hurts the heart.  Kids need the blissful ignorance of knowing a Disneyworld as the land of make believe.  Where dreams come true.  Children do not need to know about the man behind the Pluto costume's below minimum wage salary, poor sanitary working conditions, and lack of healthcare benefits.  For those adults in this world who are still as ignorant as children and can enjoy Disneyworld for it's fantasies then LA may even get one over on them.  But it was hard for me to swallow the beauty of LA when there were so many coked up Cinderella's around.

Eric says:
You're right, LA is a pretty diverse place, and there are good and bad areas (often right next to each other). I think the contrast is a lot bigger after visiting Rodeo Drive though -- i think that is a very very very small subset of LA. But there are many places in-between, by the beach, that are pretty cool. If you ever get a chance to come back be sure to check out Santa Monica, Manhattan Beach, Malibu, Redondo, Palos Verdes, and some of the coastal communities, which are nice but also less insincere, I believe. Might be more what you were looking for ;)
Posted on: May 23, 2008
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