A very long flight with a stopover in Honolulu is behind us. US was never on my bucket list. Even more… I was saying I will never go there as long as there will be visa requirement for us. Nevertheless, when a time came, I submitted my visa application and got a nice sticker in my passport. I wrote already that I do not find cities very well and getting older (or travelling more) makes this even worse. On the other hand the US National Parks were tempting so – welcome America.
One thing I remember from the LA airport was a giant billboard saying “every person deserves a place to call home”. It rang a bell immediately – like in Hawaii, expect many homeless people. As one of our hosts said, it is difficult to fall in love in LA at the first sight. There were indeed many homeless people on some streets: dirty, weird looking (ill or under influence) but also clean and politely asking for money. Yound and old. Everything crumbles in me when I see people sleeping on the streets or eating straight from a trash can. I was not aware how big a problem it is and seeing all this next to those nice, super-expensive villas struck me even more.
There are parts of the city where people do not walk and the ones where you can meet only joggers and people walking dogs. There are oases with bars, restaurants and people (I mean real people not tourists). There are giant villas (and you can take a bus tour to see them – ladies and gentlemen, on the right the mansion of abc, on the left the famous pool into which xyz peed long time ago). There are whore quarters of once beautiful now just old, almost ruined houses. It feels strange. Sunset Boulevard, Mulholland Drive, Hollywood Walk of Fame – I had a lot of myths about these places in my head and it turned out they are just ordinary streets, nothing special. Out of many stars on the Hollywwood Walk of Fame I like the Jim Henson’s and Mel Blanc’s the most.
Still at the same time it is a very multicultural and colorful place. Everyone comes from somewhere else and you can hear many languages on the street, eat food from every corner of the world, see every skin tone. People of all sizes, colors, styles and ages. This is cool.
We paid a visit to Universal Studios and I swear this is a Devil’s Den. Not only you pay a small fortune to get in, then it turns out half of the place is actually a gift shops with gadgets and food so you spend even more. But the worst part is you actually enjoy it. So we learned that [….] indeed have all possible tastes like soap, [/…] dirt. Enjoy your meal. After leaving the giant gift shop and the lunapark behind we took a tour of the film studios which my inner child liked the most despite previous fun in Hogwarts or becoming a Minion for a short rollercoaster ride just a while before.
The museums of LA are even better. While Getty was not so impressive, we really had a great time in the Tar Pits (mammoths, sabletooth cats and other skeletons), The Science Center (space shuttle Endeavor) and Griffith Observatory (stars and planets).
So now keep fingers crossed for us because we will change the way we travel. We rented a car, bought a tent, sleeping pads and sacs and all the camping gear and we head on to conquer the National Parks. If we will not kill one another in the tent, not die from dirt and the animals will not eat us, we should be in Seattle (or further north) mid-July.