There are reasons tourists go where tourists go. Their chosen spots offer a concentrated experience in a little time. Forget nuance. Tourists want it all now!
Helaine and I live in Irvine. It’s near LA. It’s not LA! It’s a nice place to live, not a tourist destination.
With that in mind we headed north to Los Angeles with my niece Melissa and her husband Mark. Time was short. Their honeymoon flight to Fiji would take off with or without them.
First stop: Hollywood. Please feel free to say it as the American Idol judges would… as in, “You’re going to Holly-wuuuud!!!”
The corner of Hollywood and Highland is within walking distance of Stef’s apartment. How could we not go?
Once upon a time Hollywood was sold as the center of movie making. Today sound stages and studios are spread out. Lots of movies and TV shows looking to save money are made outside California. I’m not sure what tourists expect to see when they arrive?
As is the case in Times Square, a large part of the local commerce is centered around costumed characters who pose for tips and stores selling t-shirts and tsotchkes.
Our next stop was Neptune’s Net, just past the Ventura County line on the Pacific Coast Highway (which no one here ever says–it’s the PCH). Neptune’s Net is a seafood stand. It attracts lots of bikers, day trippers and those who remember it from a show starring Olsen Twins.
We chowed down, then crossed six lanes of PCH and climbed down a hill to get to the ocean. It’s a surfing beach. I brought a long lens!
We’d gotten to this end of Malibu by driving up the Ventura Freeway then through some twisting canyon roads. My passengers weren’t thrilled about a stomach sickening repeat, so I turned south and hugged the coast. More traffic. Fewer curves.
We stopped at the Rosenthal Wine Bar and Patio. As the designated driver (and photographer) I headed to the beach while everyone else sampled wine. More surfers for me and some very nice views toward Santa Monica and beyond.
By this time it was getting late. We headed inland on Sunset, taking a very brief detour to see the homes in “The Flats” neighborhood of Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive.
Heading down Wilshire we passed what we think was the premier for the new Jake Gyllenhaal, Hugh Jackman movie. Did anyone in the car see either star? Maybe. Let’s just say I won’t dispute any stories.
Stef was in charge of delivering our charges to the airport, so Helaine and I said goodnight then headed through a mid-evening crush of traffic to the OC.
It’s our first SoCal experience shuttling tourists. I’m hoping we passed the test.