Big City Tales

It All Began With a Trip to Los Angeles… | December 16, 2011

From London to Paris to Rome and beyond…every big city has a tale to tell and through this blog I would like to share a few of mine.

Where all the news that's fit to read is printed.

I have been fortunate to visit all of these iconic cities in recent years, but my fascination with large concrete jungles actually began when I was in my late teens on a trip to Los Angeles for a Christmas holiday.  As luck would have it, my first flight to the City of Angels was at night and soaring over the seemingly never-ending coastline to get to LAX gave me ample opportunity to ooh and ahhh from my window seat at the mesmerizing and breathtaking bright lights (fortunately not shrouded in smog on this glorious evening!) that dot the landscape for miles.  This first foray to LA was all too short and was really more about having fun at Disneyland with my high school friend than gaining a true appreciation for the beauty of this big city, but my first impression from the air at night was nonetheless a strong and lasting one.

Walt Disney Concert Hall: Bright and shiny on the outside; pitch-perfect sound on the inside!

In subsequent years I travelled through LAX on many occasions en route to other destinations but always vowed that I would one day return to see LA through adult eyes.  I finally accomplished this in 2011 and my return visit did not disappoint.

A light mist of fog/smog lingers after a morning rain shower.

The Omni Hotel located in the heart of the theatre district proved to be a perfect central location to embark upon my grown-up LA sightseeing adventure as it provided quick and easy access to everywhere I wanted to go.  With Disneyland not being on the agenda this time around, my activities included going to a Lakers game; strolling around the historic East LA/City Hall/LA Cathedral areas; visiting the Museum of Contemporary Art and The Getty Center; attending a one-man play by John Lithgow and a choral concert celebration at Walt Disney Concert Hall; and touring Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Hollywood Boulevard and Universal Studios.  Aside from one half-day of clouds and rain, the weather was a picture-perfect California postcard of blue skies and warm sun making for a fantastic few days exploring the diverse range of architecture, sporting and cultural activities that LA has to offer and then some.

An eclectic and colourful building in East LA.

The Angels Flight Tram still operates in downtown LA.

No trip to LA is complete without star-spotting and my exposure to local celebrities included the aforementioned John Lithgow, but I also saw Jack Nicholson sporting his typical blazer, pants, slicked back hair and tinted glasses court side at the Lakers game; I encountered two movie/TV shoots in progress (one involving a tear gas explosion at a church in East LA); and Keith Carradine sat right behind me at the Lithgow play.  If he wasn’t surrounded by an entourage of his ‘people’, I would have turned around and engaged him in conversation as, being a fan of Criminal Minds, I was literally dying to ask him if playing the part of the highly twisted serial killer Frank (who was the arch nemesis of Gideon) had anything to do with John Lithgow taking on the award-winning role of Arthur Mitchell in the Dexter series (also a very dark and disturbed character).  Alas, not wanting to impose on what was clearly a night out for Keith and his family/friends to show support for his longtime industry friend, John, I did not voice my question but took great delight in hearing Keith’s bellowing laughter as he reacted to the humour in the well-written and acted play paying tribute to John’s father.

All told, it was a great return visit to this grand, glorious and great big American city.  Long overdue, rest assured, but well worth the wait and affirmed my belief that LA has a lot to offer from the sky and from the ground.   Here are some more pictures that I hope give you a sense of what I’m so enamored with – enjoy!

Historic Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood.

The Staples Center: Home of the NBA's World Champion LA Lakers.

The marble exterior of the elegant and expansive Getty Center glistens in the morning mist and dew.

LA Opera: Placido Domingo's home away from home.

The reflection of City Hall softens the modern exterior of LAPD headquarters.

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