There are three things that struck me about Hollywood.
1- Hollywood is an actual place. I always thought of it as more of an idea with a representative sign, but it’s a real place. Saying “Yeah, I’ve got to run to Hollywood for something” is kind’ve like saying “I’m just gonna run to Etobicoke to grab something”. Same difference.
2- Like Etobicoke, Hollywood is kind’ve a dump. Everything was built in the 50’s and it didn’t look like much had changed since then. Everything was also pretty grimy and there are a lot of shitty one-off shops.
3- The iconic Hollywood sign is much smaller than I thought. Not exactly like the Mona Lisa (which is SO tiny) but kind’ve the same idea.
Still, I wanted to see the sign, so we took off for the touristy Walk of Fame and saw all the scribbles in the pavement. After a bite at Rockin’ Johnny’s diner (I’m *still* paying for that philly cheesesteak…blagh) we took off towards the Hollywood sign, determined to get close. See, there’s a dirt road Ashley swore she had been to before, so we half went off of memory, and the half followed, half-correct directions on her iPhone. We ended up on these roads that could hardly fit two lanes and wound up and down and sidewalks and through tiny alleys. I’m pretty sure we were backwards at one point. This said, it was absolutely breathtaking and amazing. The houses were gorgeous and old, almost cottage-like, with flowers and palm trees and cacti in the front yard. We saw beautiful houses and as we kept winding and twisting, we’d catch glimpses of the sign in the distance – sometimes ahead of us, sometimes behind. It was frustrating but fun (and scary) but eventually we made it to a dirt road that took us right under the sign. Right under! We hopped out, blatantly ignored the signs telling us not to climb (rebels) and started our ascent.
A piece of advice: don’t climb crumbly rocks and steep hills in converse shoes.
The climb was steep and there weren’t really any great places to put our feet, but eventually we made it up, huffing and puffing all the way (it was at that moment I realized I forgot my asthma puffer in Canada. Great.) We got as close as we cared to and took some shots, then turned around and saw the view. THE VIEW! You could see the whole sprawling mass that isLos Angeles, and the hills that held what I think was a vineyard, and far off mansions and the ocean twinkling through the smog in the sunlight. It was great. I made a comment that they should probably just give in and build stairs up to this point, but on further reflection, I’m pretty happy we were the only two people up there. It didn’t feel touristy, even though I was taking jump-pictures in front of one of the most iconic signs in the world. It was really, really nice.
After that, we made our way to the airport and that’s where I am now; sitting at LAX, wishing for wifi and people watching with two hours left before my flight.
I really don’t think I could have asked for a nicer time in Los Angeles. I got to see an old friend, make a new one, do everything and nothing at a perfect pace, and I even got to break the rules a little bit. Before this trip, I never wanted to visit LA…but now I’d go back in a heartbeat.
Just don’t ask me to drive.