This was my first trip to Los Angeles. What struck me immediately as I was driven from LAX was the city's sheer size and number of different neighborhoods.
Major office complexes mixed in with three story buildings as far as the eye could see--old mixed with new with palm trees lining the streets.
The reason for my visit was a business conference so I spent most of my time here---
Evidently quite the happening place, built by Conrad Hilton and later sold to Merv Griffin, the Beverly Hilton is located on almost 9 acres at the intersection of Wilshire and Santa Monica Boulevards and is the home of the Golden Globes. Lots of red carpet events are held here. I spent three days and while I was hoping that Antonio Banderas might show up as I was ordering my Starbucks non-fat latte at the lobby bar or a glass of merlot at the Trader Vic's bar poolside, the closest I got to Hollywood was seeing Florence Henderson aka Mrs. Brady at a charity event the night before I left. Walking about in Beverly Hills is unheard of--we drove each night to a restaurant that seemed just blocks away. From what I gather star sightings are most prevalent along Rodeo Drive.
I preferred to gaze at my surroundings and take in the vistas that are foreign to northeastern folk...
There is a light here not unlike the morning light one sees at sunrise in the east except it occurs in the evening and goes on forever, filling the sky with a gold color like nothing I have ever seen.
I know how long it lasts because on my last night, the lights went out in the hotel for about 2 hours and I was stranded on my balcony hoping the battery in my cellphone would hold up in the event I needed to call for assistance. The day before there had been a slight earthquake in Long Beach and just a couple weeks after I left, Ronni Chasen was shot as she was driving home from a premiere just blocks from my hotel.
So much for paradise. Los Angeles is complicated. Seductive yet treacherous, where the famous and the faceless co-exist in a vast area that is in places extremely beautiful and in others, devoid of humanity. It is the 2nd most populated city in the US, New York being number 1.
As I watched the sun set and the traffic weave its way past me below my balcony, I tried to feel and hear the pulse of the city, much different from Manhattan, and find a connection to this city, Los Angeles.