Los Angeles Stories and Tips

The OC and a last sunset.

Dear Friend,

I hope you're doing fine and that you're enjoying the weekend.

Here is the final piece about my trip.

The following day, we head out for the beach. The weather is great and there is a tropical storm in Baja California which means: bigger waves... (Hopefully the storm didn't do much damage down there). We decide to take the Pacific Highway (which doesn't look like a highway anymore) towards the south. We pass through Long Beach, where the Queen Mary is anchored. It is an old ocean liner travelling during the glory days of transatlantic sailing. One of the finest ships of its class. It is now anchored forever and you can rent a part of it for events. I wonder what all the rich and famous and the crew that used to be on it would think of that. Further away, a navy base.

As we go down south, the cliffs get steeper and steeper, we also pass through Huntington Beach, supposed to be one of the finest beaches of metropolitan LA. We keep on driving, on one side of the road, colourful flowers, pine and eucalyptus trees, on the other side, the ocean. But soon we realize that the State Beaches’ parking lots are full (it was a Sunday). So we go back to Huntington Beach.

Finally, here I am relaxing in the sand. The waves are huge indeed (well... it's not Hawaii but...) so I jump, the water is cooooooooooold (it's not the Caribbean), but after a while, you get used to it. The waves are so strong that it is hard to stay on your feet when one comes but it's all part of the fun, you just have to be careful because body surfers are everywhere. I wish I had one... hmmm... Finally, I get audacious and jump on the wave... for a moment, I am a dolphin or or a mermaid... until I get rolled up by the force of the wave and end up with my hair all over my face and spitting salty water.

As the sun begins to set, and people are fewer on the beach, a whole bunch of surfers come out and there they are, riding the waves... And here I am, face to face with the Californian myth again : a surfer on his board enjoying the waves as the sun goes down. I am fascinated.

Not far from me, there is another surfer, he just got out of the water, planted his board in the sand and he just looks at the sun, waiting for it to disappear, he does not move at all, he's just lost in contemplation. I took a picture, I hope it turns out okay.

The following day was the game. It turns out 15,000 Auburn fans made the trip, the coliseum, which is the University of South California's stadium, can hold 100,000 persons... It is the first game of the year for both teams, so everyone is pretty excited. Unfortunately, soon after kickoff, things are not doing well. Games are always hard for players who make a long trip to play. Despite the fans screaming their heads off... despite some new players, unfortunately, they will lose. And we're of course, gently teased by the USC fans, but that's fair game.

Then the last day, Justin and I decide have a drive. As we head north, I notice Mullholland Drive is on our way. We're going to take it! Now, I didn't see the movie, but just by the location, I can have an idea of it. Mullholland Drive is a "mountain road", it goes up the hill, twisting and turning, along the road, you have either rocks, bushes and trees and it looks like Italy and occasionally, you have a glimpse of ritzy houses, carefully hidden by trees and fences. Further up, Los Angeles is at your feet and wow... You can get the feeling of opportunity (good or bad) a metropolis can have in front of this panorama. On the roadside, a wild rosemary grows, I pick up a branch and soon, the car is smelling great. It ends up by Hollywood. Metaphorically speaking, it is great find. It was one of the high points of the trip... So, here we are, in "studio city" finally, the Hollywood sign is there on the cliff... and here we go by Universal's Office... their studio is not far away and you can visit as if it was a museum.

Unfortunately, it's almost time to catch the plane. As the sun sets, we leave the Golden State, drowned by the light of the setting sun. Until we meet again...



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