Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Hollywood

"Hooray for Hollywood... that screwy, ballyhooey Hollywood..."

Since our visits to Yosemite and Kings Canyon/Sequoia National Parks didn't take us as long as we had originally anticipated, we packed up early, left the Escapees Park of the Sierras, and drove back down through the valley, across the mountain range, and back to Edwards Air Force Base back in the Mojave Desert.  We stayed only long enough to make a day trip to Los Angeles and see Hollywood.

We woke up on Thursday, March 13, and drove a couple of hours into Los Angeles, specifically to Hollywood.  We got to Hollywood Boulevard a little before lunchtime, found some (expensive) parking, then walked up and down Hollywood Boulevard to see the "Walk of Fame" as well as the front of the famous Chinese Theater where the stars' handprints and footprints are in the concrete sidewalk.  How impressive that was!

Something exciting that we got to see on Hollywood Boulevard, besides the Walk of Fame and the Chinese Theater, was the set-up for the world premier showing of the new movie "Captain America".  The street was closed off in order for crews to set up for the upcoming evening extravaganza (and was the reason why we paid so much money to park there!), so we were able to watch as they rolled out the red carpet and got everything ready.  Steve made me laugh when he walked up to the ticket booth and asked how much it would be to see the movie.  The lady wryly responded with, "It's by invitation only, sir."  I'm sure she was rolling her eyes at our family of country hicks thinking we could just walk up and buy tickets to a world premiere red carpet event.  (LOL)

After we were finished walking up and down Hollywood Boulevard, we drove a short distance to see the studios of Paramount Pictures.  As we suspected, we couldn't get in.  Heck, we couldn't even hardly see anything from the street as the entire studio was surrounded by a tall wall of thick shrubbery.  But at least we got a street-shot of the front gates.

Then we proceeded to find our way to Beverly Hills.  Oh yes we did!  We drove our dirt-covered, rickety old fifteen passenger van with Texas license plates all around Beverly Hills!  I'm sure the neighborhood thought the Beverly Hillbillies were a-comin' to town!  (LOL)  It is amazing just how much money is represented in that neighborhood.  Surprisingly, my teenage boys, who until now were convinced that we were rich, made the comment of, "Wow.  We are SO POOR."  It's all in your perspective, boys.

We also took a few minutes to drive down Rodeo Drive.  (And the boys could NOT understand why they pronounce it "roh-DAY-oh" instead of the usual way that we Texans say it - which is the RIGHT way, incidentally!)  While marveling at the overpriced items in the windows (thousands of dollars for a PURSE?!? Are they nuts?!?), we saw a celebrity!  Oh yes we did!  As we were driving past, we noticed a fancy-shmancy sporty car parked on the curb and lots of people taking pictures of it.  Then the boys noticed someone get out of the car and the crowd going crazy.  Now, we have no idea who it was that we saw, but we're sure it was somebody famous!  So there's our celebrity (non)story!

Lastly, we drove down Santa Monica Boulevard toward the ocean.  The boys really wanted to see the Pacific Ocean, so we made the effort to see it.  We've been up and down the Atlantic coast, spent lots of time along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, but we've never been to the Pacific.  So we spent a few hours just walking up and down the beach, enjoying the sights and sounds of the ocean.  The older boys peeled off, and Steve and I enjoyed some time with the younger boys.

By this time, our day was coming to a close.  We thought about staying long enough to watch the sun set on the west coast, but we were all getting pretty tired by this point so we decided to call it a day.  What we didn't anticipate was the rush hour traffic trying to get out of Los Angeles.  Oh my!  By using our smartphone GPS, we were able to find routes that avoided most of it, but we did still get stuck on the freeway for a while.  Once we got out of the city, we found our way back to the Mojave Desert, back to the isolated Air Force base, back to peace and quiet. 

The boys really liked Hollywood.  But even they admit that there were "too many people".  Alas, it is so.  We just don't like crowds, and even on a Thursday it was crowded.  Too much traffic, and too many people.  But it was an experience worth having, regardless.