I arrived in Los Angeles late last night and was immediately confronted by the famous traffic congestion that plagues the City. The shuttle bus had stops all over the city so I made myself comfortable. Like New York and Philadelphia, the neighbourhoods change rapidly in LA. One moment you’re heading through the dangerous dwellings of Inglewood surrounding LAX and then you cross into the bright lights of North Hollywood, an area filled with tourists, street performers and gay bars. North Hollywood would also be the location of my accommodation, Hollywood Youth Hostel. I finally settled into my room but it was so late that I decided to just crash out.
The next morning I got up early and set off for Beverly Hills. I’ve always had a bit of an obsession with the area that’s home to some of the wealthiest people in the world and I hoped to draw some inspiration to get moving on the entrepreneurial aspect of my life. Unfortunately the most luxurious of houses are set behind high walls and hedges and are almost impossible to see. Thinking about it, when I return in a couple of weeks it may be worth taking one of the tour buses as they know which ones belong to who, and which you can see from the road.
Next up I took a stroll down Rodeo Drive, the famous strip of designer stores that is a great place to spot celebrities. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to catch a glimpse of anyone but there must have been some about as the supercars were out in force. The shops are perfectly designed to entice their desired clientele; ceiling to floor windows, security fit for a superclub and personal stylists who wouldn’t look out of place on the catwalk in Paris. They may as well just put a “RICH PEOPLE ONLY” sign in the window. Enough pretentiousness for one day, I headed for Venice Beach.
If there was ever a metaphor for polar opposites, it would be the comparison between Rodeo Drive and Venice Beach. Having found it impossible to people watch in Beverly Hills because of the tinted windows, I sat down on the bleachers to watch the locals play some basketball. It’s refreshing to know that places like this still exist in an area of , maintained by those who use them.
There are also various street performers although the quality of some is debatable. Some offer bad advice for a dollar, others offer you the chance to kick them in the crotch for a measly ten bucks. However, the quality of the street dancers is undeniable and I watched the performance for a good hour.
Despite failing to get the final photo of a guy diving over a line of seven people, it was a great display. Time to head home, I grabbed the bus in rush hour, a devastating error on my part. If I’ve learnt anything in LA so far, it’s that the Subway is king. An hour later I was back at the hostel and ended up meeting a couple of guys, Matt and Josh, who were also from Oxford. After a few games of beer pong they invited me along to Universal Studios the next day which was on my list anyway so I agreed. Unfortunately the night ended sourly when Josh was thrown out the hostel for throwing up in the dorm. That’s hostel life for you!