I'm in Los Angeles for a couple of days. I got in a little after 1 Pacific time, and I had some time to kill before my first appointment so I headed out for a walk.
My hotel is right next to the Kodak Theater, where they have the Oscars, and the Mann Chinese Theater, where they have all the stars in the sidewalk with stars' names in the stars. The place was jam packed with tourists, and outside the Mann theater there were people in costumes. There was a Wonder Woman, a bi-pedal being with an octopus for a face and a pirate done up just like Johnny Depp, mascara and all. I looked long and hard at his pirate mustache and beard, to see if they were fake, but they seemed real, and I wondered if the guy was getting paid nearly enough to goof up his face like that.
I think a lot about money when I'm in LA. I just can't fathom how people can afford to live out here. When I eat at LA restaurants, I always wonder where the waiters live, and how far they have to drive, and how bad the traffic is on their commute.
I couldn't stand the tourist scene, so I took a right and found myself at the foot of the Hollywood Hills. I decided to climb them.
They're steep. Winding one-lane roads snake across them with no sidewalks for a walker like me. The houses crowd the curb, most of them showing little more than a slender garage door or a gate separating two walls of dense tropical vegetation. But as I climbed I caught glimpses across the horizon, the hillsides covered with all sorts of houses, from Spanish colonial to 50s modern to 21st century pomo 50s modern redux. I passed a couple of rentals. There was a one-bedroom for $2,000 a month, and a two-bedroom for $3,000. I saw a plot of land for sale, too. It was a triangle, I'd guess 45 feet by 25 and 25. Guess someone will spend a couple million for a tall skinny house there some day.
The path led to a restaurant built to look like something out of Japan, perched atop a perfect view of Hollywood and the alien-looking skyscrapers downtown. It was a hazy day, but I lingered there for a song or two on my iPod. I was listinging to Kind of Blue. A couple of hellicopters gently stirred the sky above.
LA looks even crazier from a lofty vantage point. I stared out across all the buildings and highways and billboards with giant creepy pictures of famous people and I thought, What strange creatures we.
I don't know. I guess it all looked like some ginormous hive or something.
I love LA.