Saturday, June 21, 2008

SoCal adventure, Day 1

I enjoy traveling from east to west. And I don't mean from Capital to Glenwood, I mean from Raleigh to SoCal. The thing about leaving early is that even though you spend what feels like most of the day traveling, once you arrive, you still have plenty of time to do things because of the three hour time change. In my case, I arrived so early, I almost had too much time.

I decided to go spy out some famous streets in North LA, in an area known as Hollywood. Maybe you've heard of it.

I got a couple of pictures of the famous Hollywood(land) sign, but this may have been my best angle.

After spending some time finding a place to park, I stepped out of my rental car (which, by the way, is a red Mustang--truthfully, I don't really care for it) and found myself at Hollywood and Vine in the midst of the "Walk of Fame." I took a few pictures of the stars with names I recognized.

One of the more interesting things about this to me was that this was in an area full of regular stores. Below is a picture of a line of stars along Hollywood Blvd next to a tire store. But this is just a downtown area. The stars continue around Sunset Blvd and several of the connecting streets adjacent to a CVS, a Borders, an auto repair shop, a McDonalds, etc.

Another feature of this area are the homeless people. This caught me off guard as you had a surreal mixture of touresty people like me, taking pictures of the side walk, regular people scurrying from place to place to either shop or go to work, and homeless people asking for change. The whole juxtaposition was not at all what I expected.

The whole reason I hung out in this area of town (not specifically to see the sidewalk, I can assure you) is because I had arranged to meet my cousin, professor Joe at a restaurant. He is teaching at USC in San Bernardino, and teaches mostly Children's Literature. It sounds like he's enjoying it. We had a great time talking about families, interests, and life stories. I was surprised at how similar our interests in understanding things are, but with specialties in different disciplines.

We had decided to meet at Taix French Restaurant on Sunset Blvd. in part because I thought I might go to see the Dodgers play the Indians. We were SO CLOSE to the stadium, but we didn't finish up until after the game started (we were chatting nearly three hours) and I was beat up, having gotten up at 3:50 that morning.

I had about an hour drive down to Orange County where I am staying. It was fun to listen to the legendary Vin Scully call the CLE/LAD game on the radio. He's been their broadcaster since 1950. Once I got back I stayed up a bit, finished the game, discovered I had a full-sized refrigerator, sink, dishwasher, microwave and two stove top burners in my room (it's a Candlewood Suites hotel) so I went and got some food before I went to bed.