The city of Angeles (by MAPG)

Trip Start Aug 11, 2009
Trip End Feb 19, 2010

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Flag of United States  , California
Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What better way to acclimatize from almost three months of hopping on and off campesino buses and eating impressive mains for 1 EUR in Latin America, than in the tiny city of Los Angeles. It took us two hours to get from LAX to our accommodation in West Hollywood. The city is absolutely huge, with the entire area (including Long Beach and Santa Ana) being home to almost 13 Million people. Good thing we only had two and a half days available. Our new roommates were cursing about L.A. after having spent three weeks there already. But, c'mon, it's not a country for God's sake, it can't take that long to discover.
So where to start with only two and a half days to go? Well, after my 5 USD fake Wilson bag finally collapsed after serving in Bolivian and Peru, the answer was obvious: shopping. The nearby situated Melrose Ave. and Hollywood Blvd. offered plenty of opportunities. The fierce less competition around stores combined with the Dollar weakness added momentum to our lust, taking the entire day into account. Fast-food Mexican food came in second on our list of things to do in L.A., and it did not take long to find Taco's.
Day number two was dedicated entirely to the beaches around L.A. We started North of Malibu and worked our way down to Santa Monica. Obviously we neglected the distances and the quality of public transport in L.A.. Shortly before sunset we were still miles away from Venice Beach. And then, out of nowhere, a car pulled off next to us as we were strolling on the Ocean Drive. A roommate from our West Hollywood hostel. From all the Millions of cars going up and down this great drive, one of the few people we had met pulls next to us and offers us a lift. We arrived in time to see maybe the best so far sunset.
Venice Beach never sleeps, the place is packed with life even after the sun disappears. As we headed to Santa Monica Pier the landscape changed from hippie vans & rastas to luxury apartments & resorts. Yeahh, that's more like it! 10 years of living on a bubble, of fueling up prices. No sign of crisis there.
Eager to check out the myth behind L.A.'s posh & VIP area, a place where paparazzi chase stars to get pictures of them drunk behind the steering wheel, I went to Sunset Strip. My verdict after only a few minutes: I am familiar with an Eastern European capital who's night scene can easily attract more flashes than the Strip. With one exception though: You don't get to see a rusty Bruce Willis smoking a fat Cuban cigar and listening to his iPod in Bucharest. My backpacker outfit, but most certainly the fact that I was holding on a digicam as I was approaching him, did not get me too close for an autograph.
Of course we couldn't have missed Hollywood, the Kodak Theater, the Walk of Fame by the Chinese Theater, only a 10 minutes drive from us.
Day three took us downtown. Curious about L.A. being a melting pot? Just go grab lunch in the Old Central Market and you'll get the best taste of it. You won't find too many burgers in here though!
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