A short flight down to LA to meet my mum and sisters and I found myself at Venice beach with some cool uncles admiring the good looking girls jogging by. The street entertainment and beaches weren't bad either. The drive up past Santa Monica beach (packed full of surfers) to Malibu ended up with us trusting the sat nav's recommendation for a nearby mexican restaurant. These computers nowadays know their food!
Parts of LA really are full of people with insane wealth, demonstrated in the sizes of their cars, homes and driveways. Hollywood, Bel Air and the surrounds are just as the media makes them to be. In fact USA is a country which does live up to stereotype every time I visit; although there are a lot of stereotypes!
It is a city of crazy size -in every sense the opposite of a Chinese city. It's a city of houses. not apartments; cars, not public transport; urban sprawl and poor planning, not centralised and planned urbanisation. It takes 3p0 minutes to go anywhere even if going on a highway and without traffic -ridiculous. Most people i asked were not even sure where the 1 subway line goes, though they did know it went nowhere useful to them!
We did the pure LA trip; seeing it from a limo (well, for a 21st, it's a must-do), driving past the stars houses, seeing the stars on Hollywood boulevard and the hands outside the Chinese theatre. We photographed the Hollywood sign, the hotel from Pretty Woman and more besides. Nothing could be more touristy. We ate on Sunset strip, partied at a bar which had the best karaoke singers ever (out-of-work superstars?) and went to themed restaurants.
Hollywood is hollywood... the waiters are part-time actors and famous people do often eat there. It is everything you think it is. Since Kate's a Director in training we went on the Warner Brother studio tour and were generally impressed with the improvisation that takes place to create sets. The girls were satisfied seeing (and walking around) the set of ER as well as Central Perk from friends, the set of which has been kept.