Saturday, November 7, 2009

First Day In LA!

This entry comes first evening out at venice beach, typed verbatim from my travel journal.

"I am finally out, by myself. At the moment my hopes are really low, and some brief encounters would prove for this journey to be a success. I am sitting on the beach at the moment, and its nice, breezy and quiet. Peaceful even.
Flight was great. I was sitting next to a middle-aged actor (or so he claimed). Beau Baxter. He had apparently quit acting and was returning to LA for a week to sell his old beach house on Venice Beach. He mentioned knowing a really good hostel in Venice and offered lift from the airport. After due consideration I picked on the offer. What had I got to lose, I had to see venice anyway. And here was my option of a free lift to some hostel, saving me a huge cab fare.

So we got off, walked over to baggage claim. He saw something, excused himself, and I saw him walk over to a few people who seemed somewhat familiar, from TV. As my tubelight lit I realised it was cast of 'everybody loves raymond' who was also on our flight. Barely ten minutes in LA, and celebrity sightings already!! He introduced me to the old lady who plays mother, and she seemed really cool - asked me about my trip, and then bid adieu. So we collected our bags, and went upto the car rentals. As we walked over to the car he had chosen, it turned out to be a 'Maserati'. Whoosh! I guess it really was my lucky day (beginner's luck?!) Off we went, driving around LA streets, till we reached the hostel and he dropped me off. It was a close drive from the airport, and I was almost disappointed, hoping to see more of the city by car :)

Anyway, finally I was on my own.

My hostel is called 'Venice beach Cotel'. Its more expensive than I had expected, and for its worth. There's scribbling on the walls, and the staircase leading up to the dormitory was dingy, and stuffy. Dorm mates are two unbelievably tall aussie guys. Phew! so much for asking for an all-female dormitory. I met the two briefly before heading out, there were the usual hello's. On the plus side though, the hostel has a gorgeous location, being located right on the beach. Its located on boardwalk, so there's a whole street market starting right adjacent to it.

California is much prettier than I had expected. Lovely palm trees all around the roads, planted in an almost fashionable manner, as if to decorate the road. The houses run along the beach, and are located closely huddled up on small cliffs. The architecture is pretty, and there are innumerable colours running through the houses.

I'm looking at the map, and from what I understand, LA has three main divisions, atleast for traveler's purposes. Hollywood, Santa Monica & Venice. Santa Monica is just a fifteen minutes walk from Venice, and it starts where boardwalk ends. Santa Monica is also the place where most of TV shows and movies are shot. Tonight is supposed to be Santa Monica's 100th anniversary, and there would be a fireworks display. Sadly, there's no way I could attend that, since being out after sunset isn't safe in Venice. Venice, was quite a hotspot for the 'beat generation' hippies (remember, the beach in 'blow' and 'the doors'?!). It still has traces of the culture, and is a modern day homeless people hub, who start hovering over the entire beach after dark. Visually they resemble the zombies from MJ's Thriller video. Even as I sit here, there are a few shady characters lurking by. Still looks alright, and everybody is minding their own business.

I will walk over to Santa Monica tomorrow, since its highly recommended and perhaps explore hollywood a day later. Will click pictures there as well.

What's unbelievable in this country so far is, the cultural diversity. Even in the remotest areas, the infiltration is unimaginable, so unlike UK. At the moment I can count the number of white guys around me on my fingertips and its a busy time. I can see hispanics, african-americans, indians even.

I've caught minor cold, and will cut out this entry here, as I'm going to head back into the hostel after having a quick dinner. Besides its almost seven, and the zombies are coming out of their graves! "

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