A Letter to Elisabeth about Los Angeles

Hey Lis,

I’ve been thinking about your visit to L.A….I like L.A. a lot but was thinking about what to tell you so you can get the maximum California experience. So I give you my ten-second review of L.A.:

So even though its gross, you absolutely have to have a car. Maybe you can get the Uni to rent you one (push for a convertible even though it feels ridiculous at the time, it will make sense when you are driving). Being in L.A. without a car is useless: there’s no point and any effort to get a feel for the city will be wasted. Bicycle, walking, public transit: all useless. You will spend half your day traveling and the city will be closed by the time you get anywhere. Assuming you won’t have a lot of spare time, here is my must-do list:

1. You must go to Hollywood. Drive, or, if you must, walk along Hollywood Blvd and see the desperate freaks (Spiderman, freaky goth dude, Charlie Chaplin, Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, etc) and the Walk of Fame (those stars on the ground…its kind of crazy). You will get weepy when you see the Hollywood sign in the hills for the first time. Guaranteed. If you’re lucky there will be a red carpet event happening at the Chinese Theatre and even if they are just setting up for it all those hours spent watching Access Hollywood will make sense. Maybe you will see Ryan Seacrest.

2. You will inevitably cross Santa Monica Blvd so expect to have that Sheryl Crow song running continuously though your head.

3. The Grove. An outdoor mall and my favorite place to shop. Its so American but so California too. Everyone looks famous. I saw Larry King with his trophy wife there and wow is he ever an old man! He must wear A LOT of makeup. There’s a farmer’s market at the Grove and it’s right next to CBS studios so you can get CSI mugs for your friends, too.

4. Malibu or Santa Monica. Go to the beach, get a juice, see the ocean.

5. If you have five seconds to spare, do a drive-by on Rodeo Drive. Also its fun to see the Beverly Hills signs. You will understand Beverly Hills Cop just that much more.

One thing you might think will be fun but is a waste of time: nightlife & partying. Totally sucks. Everyone is constantly checking everyone else out and looking for something better to do. A good bet is going to the movies. My friends Mark and Wendy took us to see a movie (Star Wars…I actually waited in a line that went around the block!) at the Fox Westwood Theatre on Broxton St. (near a campus…I think UCLA?). Its an old-school, big theatre and really nice, even just to see from the outside at night.

Also, regarding food, the Chichos rule. You can never go wrong with a burrito. The more mom and pop the place looks, the better the food will be (i.e. avoid chains). Diners are also generally pretty good.

Anyway, that got a little intense. Neptune just woke me up at 4M and now she’s fast asleep and I’m totally wired. Now I want to go to L.A. too! Have fun. Kisses to you and yours. I gotta get sleepy now!

Natalia

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