If you grew up in the 90s, you’ll probably remember a popular show called Melrose Place which was set in Los Angeles. The show apparently got its name from this particular street: Melrose Avenue.
A popular street within the city, it was known as the ‘birthplace of SoCal’s New Wave and Punk Cultures’. This is evidenced by indie shops, hole-in-the-wall cafes and bigger restaurant establishments, as well as a thriving theater, art and culture scene.
Our hostel, Banana Bungalow, was located at the intersection of Melrose and Fairfax, so it was a short walk to the bus stop.
For convenience, we bought Tap cards, which work like our local Touch N Go cards. 25 bucks for a week; unlimited use on buses and trains. Pretty worth it. I’d recommend getting this if you’re not driving and are visiting LA. They’re available from the bus driver and at reload stations.
On the subject of buses, I was impressed with the efficiency of bus services in LA. Coming from a developing country like Malaysia, everyone knows that public transportation is unreliable and slow; hence the need for cars – which results in massive traffic jams. The inverse applies in LA. I have never encountered a single hold up in traffic throughout the three weeks I was here. (Coming back to KL jams was a nightmare!)
You can get virtually anywhere using buses and trains, although it can be tedious switching between buses servicing different routes. The best part is that the buses are mostly on time. People complain if they’re a few minutes late… Americans have obviously never experienced how it is like in third world countries where you’d be lucky if your bus ride comes within the hour and not two hours later (!)
Since we were in LA – the entertainment capital of the world – no way were we missing out on sightseeing at the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The place was full of people even though it was a weekday, with mini tour vans and buses plying the route. The Chinese Theatre, which dates back to 1927, is a major feature along the walk.
It was opened during a time when cinema was just beginning to bloom and there was a high demand for ‘exotics’. An earlier Egyptian-themed theatre received critical success, so they came up with a Chinese theatre. It has featured many grand openings, like Star Wars and Academy Award ceremonies.
Just outside the Chinese Theatre were handprints/footprints + signatures of famous actors and actresses through the ages. Sorry for the random arms and feet… there were too many people crowding around the place for good pictures.
Many theaters lined the walk, along with idyllic palm trees, like how I’ve always seen it in TV shows and movies. The weather in LA is quite warm, except when the wind blows.
No walk down the Walk of Fame would be complete without spotting our favourite stars!Some of them include Tom Cruise, Sylvester Stallone, James Cameron and Walt Disney. There are over 2,500 stars embedded in the sidewalk.
Theaters, museums and overpriced attractions weren’t the only thing on Hollywood. There were a couple of rustic looking, mom-and-pop style eateries like this pizza place.
Do some exploring and you might discover charming nooks and crannies with small souvenir shops, cafes and bookstores.
Digressing here about the traffic again – American drivers are (more) polite and generally abide by safety rules. Pedestrians are given the right of way, and cars will stop to let you pass. Unlike in KL where asshole drivers are rampant. Stepping into traffic (even though you might have the right of way!) in Kuala Lumpur will probably get you run over.
More of Hollywood to come!