donderdag 24 februari 2011

Our brush with fame

As we cruised down Highway 1, we noticed a change. It was subtle at first, just a shadow you saw slipping in and out of vision once in a while. Soon enough it was a blinding light cast from all directions. MONEY. Santa Barbara is full of it, and from there on it's a common denominator that follows right through Malibu, Beverly Hills and into Los Angeles. Yes, we saw big houses and swanky cars and people flashing their gold cards, but we also saw seedy parts of town that could best be described as definitely lacking in the green stuff. And that might be the beauty and the beast of LA and it's vicinity: you're either up or you're down. It certainly made for some memorable times.
Santa Barbara is a really pretty, clean, peaceful place with the Queen of the Missions (California has 21 missions in total running down the coast, but this is the only one still in possession of the Franciscan monks) on a hill overlooking the ocean and the city. Moving on we drove through Malibu, a pissing contest in square footage of housing on hills and beaches (but fabulous houses on beautiful hills and beaches) where the formidably rich and possibly famous live or rent a second (or 5th) home. Definite highlight was the 'thing' we can only describe as probably another human being jogging down the freeway: It was middle aged (but in denial), bleached blonde, very tanned, very lifted and botoxed, very skinny, and proudly sporting the largest silicone implants I had ever seen. What really got us though was what would have possessed this creature to jog down the highway when surrounded by other, more beautiful and quiet options. We can only assume it was actually an extra terrestrial who had misinterpreted what a jogging habitat should be. We were rudely awakened to the fact that we were probably the odd ones out when we drove through Beverly Hills. Most of what was driving the SUVs and Bentleys beside us resembled the jogger, and we were all slowly moving towards the Mother Ship: Rodeo Drive. As we passed parked BMWs and Range Rovers, we were suddenly cut off by paparazzi ambushing a starlet- how exciting! Our first star sighting! If only we could tell you who it was... Neither of us had ever seen her in our lives. Having gotten over that feverish moment, we were able to maneuver ourselves into a parking place and seamlessly slip into the steady flow of somebodies sauntering past Louis Vuitton, Prada, Versace and Tiffany's. Well, or so we thought until we were given the once over by a very tall, skinny, androgynous Rodeo-ite who was very visibly NOT impressed. Damn. 0-1 for LA.
We decided that if we stuck out like sore fingers anyway, we would make the most of it and go into full throttle tourist mode. We walked Hollywood Boulevard, we pointed at the names embedded in the sidewalk, we gawked at absolutely everything we passed, we debated taking a star tour. We watched the Oscars being set up, we walked the red carpet and took pictures of ourselves outside of the theater it would be held at. We pointed at the handprints and signatures of the stars of yesterday and today in concrete, and we laughed at Superman, Marilyn, ELvis and Micheal posing in front of the signatures. For a tip that is. We drove our car into the Hollywood Hills and pointed at Paris Hilton's house before getting lost in LA rush hour traffic on our way to spy on Halle Berry. We decided to call it a day. We cruised into the Alta Cienega Motel, where room #32 was Jim Morrison's digs for two years, and to our complete disbelief the room was available (I must stress how big of a Doors fan Daniel is... Like, BIG. Jim is a God big.). Daniel couldn't believe his luck, and as he bound up the stairs to the divine motel room, I guess neither could I. I mean, what are the odds that the room would be vacant? I thought maybe it was just a fabled place of pilgrimage, and that the Indian motel manager just used it as a gimic to have occupants in this complete dive once in a while. We opened the door and... Well, I cannot describe. But just by looking at the photos, you will be as convinced as I that I TOTALLY MISJUDGED Doors fans. Good Lord. Creepy does not cover it.
The next morning we left Jim, and though I felt as if I had joined a select group of people who had been blessed by time with the man himself, I cannot say I was sad to leave. Hurried would be more my feeling. I guess I am just not Doorsy enough for this shit. We mosied on through LA towards the Warner Bros. studios where we enjoyed a really awesome tour- not only did we get to sit in Central Perk (Friends for those who missed -or ignored- that decade), but we also saw the Batmobile, got sorted by the Harry Potter Sorting Hat, got up close and personal with one of the many wax Agent Smiths made to create an army in the Matrix Revolutions and we even spotted another star: Leonard from The Big Bang Theory (or David from Roseanne for us more retro types)! We also visited the Two and a Half Men set, nothing happening there that day. We later found out on tv that that may have been because the season has been discontinued after Charlie Sheen had a drunken rant on national television and called the producer all kinds of names. Ah, the rise and fall of Hollywood stars. And Charlie would know, he's been there enough times.
We did spend time on the outer edges of LA in the seedier but far more colorful parts of town like Santa Monica and Venice Beach, the latter by far taking home the cake. Besides Muscle Beach (where you could have found the Governator when he was but a bodybuilding Austrian), it is the home of many crazies and wannabe crazies, homeless, artists, tatooed and tatooer, pierced and piercer, sport fanatics and spectators, cursing old men playing racketball and cursing young men playing basketball. There is so much to stare at on Venice Beach that we were completely drained afterwards. It really is a sight worth seeing.
By the end of the Warner Bros. tour however we were more than finished with LA, although some would argue we didn't actually see any of the place. Oh well. What we did gather is that we are nowhere near self-absorbed enough to live our lives there happily, and that the endlessness of the city becoming city becoming city made us want to pace like a caged animal. Bring on the desert!

2 opmerkingen:

  1. Ha ha, wat een geweldige blog weer....beetje de toerist uithangen hè...dat kan niet zomaar! hoe meer ik van jullie blog lees, des te liever wil ik er ook heen! er ligt al een idee klaar! nu nog het geld en een reispartner!
    kus kus

  2. I don't think I would have been able to handle the hotel room... way to creepy for me! I want to go to the desert now toooooo! :) Have fun! xx