LA and Hollywood is the place where people descend to follow their dreams and hunt for stardom – this lust for fame has turned the city into an eclectic mixture of culture and people.
From the wannabes that never quite made it to the global superstars.
And it’s this magnetism for recognition that makes LA such an intriguing place to visit. It’s home to many icons of the media created world we live in – both landmarks and people.
As a photographer and member of the media it has long intrigued me – so I headed to the West Coast of America to see how the fame game has shaped this city and why it has become such a popular destination on the tourist map.
From the moment you first step foot outside of LA airport you know the whole experience is going to be rather different and full on from other cities. People often go on about the culture shock in destination within Asia but even as a westernised country America is something else – but this may just be due to the fact I’m a born and bred country boy!
The main thing that struck me was the intensity of the place. Something as simple as walking down the street became a bombardment of advertising and visual treats. The place is literally a sensual overload.
But don’t be put off – once the initial shock wares off the city offers up many exciting things to see and do. From the relaxation of the many Californian beaches on it’s doorstep set against the ever present over the top personalities at muscle beach through to the world famous face of Mickey Mouse and Disneyland resort it really does have something for everyone.
A quick stroll around town can find you taking in some of the incredible architecture – the bizzare Groumans Chinese Theatre, familiar movie locations and the vast show of wealth amongst the mansions of Rodeo Drive.
But the real fun comes when you start moving out of the main town and into the surrounding areas.
Visiting the picture perfect Hollywood sign is a must – as is the view from up in the hills – LA sits beautifully nestled amongst the landscape, a city where dreams are simultaneously made and crushed. It has an allure that I can’t really explain or put my finger on.
The highlights of my trip were undoubtedly 6 flags magic mountain (a review of which is in the pipeline) and as a massive media buff a tour around universal studios is a must – shooting some hoops on the set of ER or touring the infamous Central Perk provides some awesome holiday snaps!
For me LA was like New Yorks sunnier, but equally dominant sibling. It oozes the style and glamour but has a softer and less daunting side.
As with most of my trips to the USA the whole thing was a far cry from the backpacker scene of Australia (as stand alone trips they were always destined to be this way ) – but even still I can see Americas growing appeal – especially as a bolt on at the end of an around the world trip, either as a short stopover or major element in it’s own right.
Our American Guru Will raves about the place though and has witnessed it through a completely different perspective – his articles are coming soon in a dedicated America series so keep your eyes peeled for some alternative experiences in the US.
If you are thinking about hitting the States try to leave some of your prejudice behind – the reasonable exchange rate makes it pretty good value for money, there’s heaps to do and it can act as a great stepping stone either to get you into the swing of being on the road or to readjust you back into ‘normal life’ on the way home!