Sunny day. Driving on the highway, listening to the remix version of Alicia Key’s “Like You’ll Never See Me Again”. One time I said, “I think my eyes are very greedy.” They want to see everything, everything on the road, everything on the side, even everything in the sky. We tuned into one of the radio stations and I heard this song. I insisted that I gotta listen to it even though I knew my buddy doesn’t really like Alicia Keys. It was one of those moments. I just needed the song for that moment (although it’s been played over and over and over again on the stations already and I also had that song on my iPod). From my experience during the stay, LA’s radio stations weren’t better than the ones we have in Toronto – at least from my point of view, my taste and that point in time.
The first day in LA – since we woke up damn early (4am) and rushed through our huge breakfast (in 5 minutes) @ IHOP in Las Vegas (btw, I love the pancakes there!), we were all exhausted when we got there. Our hotel was near USC – which wasn’t a very safe area from what my friend had told me. Anyhow, the place wasn’t hard to find at all. It took us about, I guess, 15 minutes driving from the airport to the hotel. After checking in, we went to the Panda Express nearby to kill the hunger. Then, we drove around downtown and the Chinatown (yes, Chinatown again). It’s interesting to see the Chinatowns in different cities. The one in SF was really crowded and “Chinese” – a bit similar to the Toronto Chinatown. However, LA’s Chinatown was quite empty. (I felt like we’ve gone to a ghost town for some reasons). It was a weekend. There were quite a lot of non-Chinese in the Chinatown. Overall, the restaurants and stores were quiet.
Despite what I’ve just said, I kinda like LA’s Chinatown. We walked around quietly, without having to squeeze through streets. Another interesting things that I’ve noticed: Many Chinese stores were renovated and becoming art galleries or professional offices. Like the stores on the two sides of this alley – they were all kinda artsy. Many galleries weren’t opened, but we could see the work inside.
Another day, we went to the Hollywood area and did everything that tourists would do. I remember I’ve been there before, and I remember the name – Sunset Blvd. and Hollywood Blvd. I still remember I bought a lot of keychains and magnets the first time I went there. This time I just brought my camera and walked around the area.
We walked to an area where there’s a theatre for independent (or alternative) movies. Also saw this Kitchen Academy. Couldn’t help taking a picture of it.
Keep walking… we came to Amoeba Music. Walked into this… heaven. It’s really a heaven (to me at least). You can hear the music, you can see mountains of CDs and DVDs, and you can also hear the “chik-chak” sound from people going though the cases of CDs and DVDs. They have a wide collection of music and media. I guess… you can probably find whatever you want in here. There’re also second hand stuffs. Good stuffs. I wish we had a Amoeba Music in Toronto and I could work there part-time. Argh.
Of course, how could we miss the Hollywood Walk of Fame…
and the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. I gotta “attacked” by a pirate there and had to pay him tips for a picture. lol. Not sure why it’s related to “Chinese” – check out the wiki page should help 🙂
Wanted to satisfy my sweet tooth… but by the time we got there, Boule was already closed for the day. Too bad. Maybe next time 🙁
LA – I guess one of the beauty of it is the different kinds of activities you can do – one side you can have the upbeat lifestyle… the other side, you can go the the beaches and be a lazy bum. We went to Santa Monica one evening, but it was still kinda cold at that time of the year (unlike Miami). Camera was finally out of battery – so used my cell phone instead.
The Warner Brothers Studio is another worth-seeing tourist attraction – also highly recommended on the guide book. Last time, I visited the Universal Studio and I didn’t think I’d go there again. This WB Studio VIP tour is definitely more “personal” – there is a tour guide for approx. every 12 visitors. The tour guide will drive you around and tell you stories about how they shoot the TV series.
Although I’ve seen many of these studio tricks, this studio tour was still very eye-opening – because of its scale and its sophistications. The WB studio is definitely one of the largest studio in the world. They have departments for everything you can think of – from small stuffs like props to huge tasks like building a house. Within the house building, they even have departments responsible for e.g. plumbing.
The tour guide was very professional. He talked about the different TV dramas and showed us around the places where some well-known scenes were shot at. There are also implications from the prevalence of the high definition media – they gotta make everything in more detail coz ppl can zoom in and see everything more clearly now.
The part that I found the most interesting was that they actually invite people to come to the studio to view the episode in real time. The reaction of these viewers is like the barometer – that tell them whether the public would actually get the jokes or react the way as anticipated. The other thing is… we all know they always change the scripts. How they keep track of the scripts and make sure ppl are reading the most up-to-date version is that: every time they have an updated version, they would use a different color paper. That way… they can easily tell which one is which. Not sure if it’s like that @ other studios. Probably.
Another day, I finally met up with my jr. high school friend @ UCLA. She gave us a tour there… then had dinner @ the Cheesecake Factory. It’s nice seeing old friends again, after all these years. The LA trip was short but we made good use of time. I know I’ll be back again – although not sure when.
(Ok, enough of the second hand smoke in this local internet cafe. Will continue to the next destination – Montreal – later.)