It took me a lot of convincing to move to the States, but Los Angeles intrigued me. Not only had my brother ( a resident) been raving about it, but it was a place I had never visited. My instincts told me it would be open minded and not nearly as conservative as the small towns I had lived in in the Midwest. Anyone who has a TV and watched reality shows know this. Anyone who watches movies know this….
But when I arrived I was even more surprised by how accepting people were in Hollywood. My first home was the top floor of a large house in Los Feliz, which I shared with my brother. One of my earliest memories was when the cable guy arrived and struck up a conversation with me; he was so friendly that I was taken aback. In Door County, Wisconsin, most people were either artificially nice to strangers or down right morose. It depended on what mood they were in. Later that evening, Jim and I went out to eat at a French bistro and he told the waitress I had just arrived. She too was friendly and interested in where I was from. I told her I had just moved from the UK and was co producing a short film with my brother. She told me about her experience in LA and offered me some great tips.
More or less for the 8 years I lived in Hollywood, this was my experience of the people: they were willing to talk to anyone, and about anything. That’s not to say we didn’t encounter rude people or get judgemental glares from Barbie looking girls, but in general Hollywood is friendly.
Hollywood Boulevard is intriguing. At first glance it appears run down, littered with dive bars and stripper clothing stores…..and randomly, a Disnery store. It has character and is certainly a street unlike any other in the world. The Walk of Fame, covered in stars, has Batman, Super Man, and Captain Sparrow basking in the flashing lights of tourists’ cameras. Yes, that’s right: you too can have your photo taken with the mighy Jack Sparrow ( hey, he could be the real one…you never know). Right outside of Hollywood and Highland you may get to listen to a group of German youngsters who seem to play cover songs every evening as curious spectators stop to see why. Perhaps they hope to get signed one day by a record label, or simply have fulfilled their dream of playing in Hollywood.
The majority of tourists visit Grauman’s Chinese Theater and shop at Hollywood and HIghland. One of my favorite restaurants is Koji’s, a shabu shabu joint that attracts hipsters and tourists alike, and serves some mean vegetable and such selections. The bar has an array of drinks and is known for their killer cocktails, such as melon martini. My husband and I love their all you can eat veggie shabu shabu which comes with two different sauces and tons of vegetables.
We have many fond memories of living in Hollywood, and we also have things we wish we had done, such as go bowling at Lucky Strike Lanes. Alas, we know we will return one day and visit our family and friends who still call LA home.