I didn’t see that coming. You know, I’ve always thought I was an East Coast guy. My favourite city is still on the East Coast, but I’m not an East Coast guy anymore. Since when? Since I’ve been in the City Of Angels.
It’s not that I didn’t think it wasn’t a city i could like, it’s just it wasn’t my first dream when I thought about the US. Yeah California, of course, everybody likes it, dreams of it. Palms everywhere, the ocean, the sun. I knew it, but I’m a New Yorker deep in my soul, then California could wait. Until eventually I got there last August. I was damn wrong. Hell, that’s not even a city, it’s another world. Like ten or more different freeways within the city, just to get from a neighborhood to an other. In a nutshell, crazy.
Trying to explain a city like Los Angeles would be an extremely difficult task for me. For starters I wouldn’t know where to begin. Then I would run out of adjectives pretty soon. So, I chose a different approach. I mentioned on one of my latest post, I see too many movies. That’s one of the reasons why my fantasy’s always working. Another one is that I also read too many books. Before you start thinking I’m kind of a scientist, I’m telling you, I read just for entertaining me. Hence mostly novels. I used to read a lot more history books, now I just read for fun. And one of my favourite writers is Michael Connelly, an American author of crime novels. I’m a big fan of his most famous character. He’s a detective, he’s fucking tough and he’s named after a famous medieval painter. Hieronymus Bosch. Last but not least, he lives and works in the incredible city of Los Angeles.
Having read every novel of the Bosch series (just finished the 19th), I was pretty much familiar with the city. I mean, I hadn’t been before, but I knew already a lot of the names of the districts and the cities that compose the Area called The Greater Los Angeles. I knew the main streets of two of the most famous districts, since he lives in Hollywood and the headquarter of the LAPD is in Downtown, the old Parker Center. Not that you have to read his books to know the Sunset Boulevard. Surely one of the most famous boulevards in the world. But if you haven’t been before, reading about it can get you very familiar with it when you eventually get to drive there.
And driving is the real deal in L.A. You just can’t go on foot. You can have a walk along the boulevards of course, or you can stroll around Beverly Hills for instance. But that aside, without a car, you’re not going anywhere. The distances between the neighborhoods are impressively big. I spent most of the time driving around the places and the cities I read about during his investigations. Santa Monica, Long Beach, Beverly Hills (did you know it’s not a neighborhood? I didn’t, it’s a city!), Venice Beach, Redondo Beach. I made it to Newport Beach, that just to make things clear, you have to know it’s a hour and a half car ride, from Downtown. Though I didn’t get the chance to venture to Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena and the other cities of the San Fernando Valley because I stayed only ten days and only naming these cities can get you an idea of how big this Area is. It might sound crazy, but I also loved being in the traffic on the 101 freeway, since I’ve heard so much about it and finally I had my share of the famous Los Angeles freeway traffic. Terrific.
One particular thing I had been dreaming of, was how it must have been driving on Mulholland Drive. That’s the street Bosch takes every time he heads home. Mulholland Drive It’s a very famous crooked road which runs for many kilometres on top of the Hollywood Hills and the Santa Monica Mountains, a chain that literally divides the city in two parts. All along the road there are a lot of overlook points to get amazing views of Los Angeles. I took the picture in the title of the post from an overlook upon the Hollywood Bowl. I missed meeting a jackal though. That would have been awesome.
It might sound silly, but I can’t tell you what a beautiful sensation I felt driving on Mulholland. Driving up there was one of my dreams and eventually I made it come true. I love that city, I hope I’m going back some day.