#373. Go West, Young Man, and Freeze With the Country

By pascaljappy | News

Jul 07

Never write under the influence of tiredness.

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Had I written this as a daily travelogue, as was my original intention, I would have described LA as drab, sordid and uninteresting at best. I might have focused of the prison-like household-name hotel on Santa Monica boulevard, the primate standards of driving, the schoolbus-sized cars occupied by single drivers, the oily food, the TV constantly alternating between terrorist banter and excessively patriotic adverts … and lost 80% of DearSusan’s readership πŸ˜‰

20150704_215530You’d have had to excuse me, though. The tired mind (mine, at least) seems incapable of getting it’s priorities right. I would have been writing all that after one of the longest days of waiting of my life. Waiting my first plane to London, waiting at security (for too long) before the London – LA flight, waiting 10 hours in the plane for sleep to come (it didn’t, which I celebrated on the in-flight entertainment system by watching Cool Hand Luke, the Hustler and, oh the irony, The Big Sleep) waiting at LAX customs, waiting to collect my lost baggage, waiting for the shuttle to the car rental district, waiting for ages at the car rental booth, waiting again (hours) in the car rental car park for a car booked months before to be found and prepared … you get my drift.

20150704_204326And the final straw was climatic. After being warned about the killer heat of the South-West by friends, family, readers, travel guides (…) we had packed light and turned up to Santa Monica pier July Fourth festivities in shorts and short sleeves. It was FUH-REEZING, anorak style. A solid 20 degrees less thanΒ  back home. Which had us Frenchies shivering to teeth-shedding levels among a host of happy Angelinos in jumpers. Oh well, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

But that would have been then, and this is now.

DSC00315DSC00320DSC00322DSC00328DSC00323DSC00329DSC00332DSC00330LA rocks. In its own weird way.

Next morning, a huge 4-hour sleep later (thank you jet lag) we decide to take it easy. We’ve decided to wrap ourselves in bath towels to survive the chill and walk along the ocean and all is falling into place.

DSC00362DSC00361DSC00366Then, realism sets in. When in LA, do as the tourists do. My intention, on this trip is to photograph beautiful, off the beaten path, stuff. But LA is for my daughter, so we’re off to visit the sites.

Venice beachDSC00391DSC00372DSC00384DSC00369DSC00377That Beverly thingy

DSC00421DSC00437DSC00424DSC00422DSC00435Melrose (great), Hollywood Blvd (not so great) and plenty others.

Then, the jewel in the crown, magnificent Griffith Park, its views and great hikes.

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I am writing this from the comfort of a wonderful Airbnb house in Phoenix, fresh and relaxed, ready to take on the formidable heat and rugged wilderness. The drive from LA was slow, long and wonderful, but that is for another post.

Right now, I’m working on a different environment, a different computer, having (big) trouble with white balance and panorama stitching, but I’m loving the process of blogging on the road, with less time to plan and process images. It’s very different, definitely less perfected and, possibly, even more stimulating. More soon πŸ™‚



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  • Philberphoto says:

    Haha, you say you hated LA, but your pictures telle another story. You just want us to feel sorry for you, haha… Lovely pics, by the way. Can’t wait to see more….

    • pascaljappy says:

      Not that I hated LA but that my tired mind couldn’t cope with the quirks very positively. My 2 short days in LA left me with very fond memories of the Ocean and the Hollywood hills. Melrose was also very pleasant. Other places weren’t as hot, in my book πŸ˜‰

  • Paul Perton says:

    Two of us on the road. Such extravagance at DS.

    I won’t mention the climate parallels with Edinburgh, but then here it is entirely expected. It’s Glasgow next and hard to see that 50km will suddenly deliver the much-missed and lamented summer weather.

    It’s 07:37, driech (overcast and drizzing) and my plan to use our last day in the big city to complete the photography for InSight: Edinburgh already looks to have foundered. We’ll just have to come back again.

    Travel safely and keep ’em coming πŸ˜‰

    • pascaljappy says:

      My, my, what road runners we are. Watch out National Geographic, DS is hot on your tail πŸ˜‰

      So sorry to hear you’ll have to return to Scotland, that is such hardship. Hopefully I’ll be able to be with you to carry an umbrella, next time πŸ™‚
      We spent all day in the (relative) wild yesterday. Today is city time & shopping. Also 105Β°C, so a little cooler than yesterday, phew.

      Look forward to seeing more of yours as well.

  • Leonard says:


    I sure hope you meant 105Β°F !


  • Ron Scheffler says:

    Interesting to read about your LAX experience, particularly with the rental car. I was there 6 weeks ago for a weekend and had a car booked for the day I had free. But then I read the overwhelmingly miserable reviews on Google for all of the major car rental companies (long waits for the shuttles, long waits at the rental counter, cars not ready, disputed damage claims, hidden charges, etc.) that I cancelled the reservation and did the unthinkable – no car in LA, only public transit. Worked out better than I expected. Of course, this is not practical for you.

    Just give yourself time with the rental return. I seem to recall complaints about that too.

    It seems waiting is the normal experience in and around LAX. To compound it, the evening of my flight home, someone drove their Porsche into one of the terminal buildings! Yes, somehow the driver lost control and crashed through a wall. Given the terrorism fueled paranoia in the US, I was surprised (and relieved) the entire airport wasn’t shut down because of it!

    Assuming your return is from LAX and if you have time prior to your flight home, and since you like architecture, visit downtown LA. I loved it.

    • pascaljappy says:

      With hindsight, I really think I should have gone without a car in LA. Only Griffith Park would have been tough to reach, but even that had cabs to take people back down. I just can’t bare thinking of returning to that hellhole again … Downtown LA sounds like a good plan. We’ll probably return via the Southern road, La Jolla and the South beaches. There’s a direct bus into downtown LA from there.

      • Ron Scheffler says:

        Yeah, who would think that LA could be remotely feasible without a car, but it surprisingly is. I did the LAX Flyaway bus to Union Station. From there I walked through the highly touristy, but very short Olvera Street to Chinatown, which I felt was kind of a disappointment, then due south to downtown. In hindsight, I would skip Chinatown and spend the time among the downtown architecture. Actually, I could probably spend all day just at the Disney concert hall… but there is more to see downtown. I think what surprised me most were the hills. Without prior experience, looking at LA on the map, I imagined a flat landscape, but it wasn’t!

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