“In Hollywood if you don’t have a shrink, people think you’re crazy.”Johnny Carson
If you go to Los Angeles, you must go to Hollywood!
Hollywood was a 30 minute metro ride from my hostel. The small LA metro is quite good but, like buses, suffers from under-investment. This is partly, someone told me, a result of lobbying from the car industry. The result is that roads are clogged up with cars, there is smog, and getting around on the road is time-consuming.
Of late, the authorities seem to have recognised that building more and more roads in a city where land is scarce is a losing battle. As a result, bus lanes are appearing and the metro is being extended.
For now, like San Francisco, it tends to be tourists and black, Chinese, and Hispanic people who use public transport.
When I got to Hollywood Boulevard, it was packed with tourists. I started looking for where Hollywood, as I imagined it, was. The first sign of it was the Hollywood Walk of Fame. This, I found, underwhelming. It was a bit like Oxford Street on a Saturday.
Looking at my map, I saw that the iconic Sunset Boulevard was near by. When I got there, I didn’t see anything notable either. People being generally friendly in the US (so far), I asked someone who didn’t look like a tourist (which is not easy) if she knew the area. She did – “very well”. I wondered aloud: where is the heart of Hollywood? She replied, “This is it”. When she saw the expression on my face, she added, “People are often disappointed. There really is not much here”. I asked her for some recommendations. She suggested going to Runyon Canyon Park, which she said was also known as “Poo Park” because of people walking their dogs there. Later, a florist I met on a bus said his wife called it “Boob Park” because of the number of people walking around revealingly, probably hoping to be discovered.
With that recommendation, I left Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards behind and headed for the hills.