Long Beach in the house...
Wednesday morning Mark wanted an oil change (preferably synthetic oil) for the Mustang.
After checking with the local yellow pages, we found an adequate lube place and hung
around while the operation was performed.
On the way to Long Beach, our intended base for the next few days, we passed through some
of LA's suburbs. We came pretty close to Disneyland in Anaheim. From the main arteries not
much of the city itself could be seen. The roads were either elevated or submerged in the
ground, and large concrete slabs shielded the surroundings from the noise of the many
Long Beach was fairly quiet that Wednesday morning. Only a few other cars occupied the
parking lot near our motel. We got a room on the 2nd floor. Access to this upper level was
by an outside stairway. The room was dark and nondescript like so many other rooms we
encountered on our trip. There was no sense in staying cooped up so we proceeded down to
the beach, half a mile away.
The beach was virtually deserted even though the sun was out. It was still early in the
season, even for southern California! A four feet wide concrete walkway ran parallel with
the water as far as the eye could see. Occasionally bike riders went past us. The Pacific
looked inviting but we knew the water was too cold to enter. Instead we sat down on the
sand and relaxed for a while, analyzing our situation. First priority of our adventure had
been achieved: we had reached the West Coast.
Lunchtime approached rapidly. A small junk food outlet served us well. While we ate our
Nachos, a couple of police officers on bicycles stopped and had some lunch too.
We talked about what to do next and the choice fell upon the Hollywood area. First we
drove through the fashionable Beverly Hills (nine-oh-two-one-oh) and Bel Air
(nine-oh-two-one-one) to gawk at the many mansions. Next we tried to find a way up to the
famous Hollywood sign in the hills above the town but to no avail. We ended up in yet
another high-class neighborhood.
Later the Mustang was left at a parking meter and we walked along Hollywood Boulevard,
which is also known as the Walk of Fame. Everybody who has achieved a certain amount of
fame in Hollywood's film industry has received a star in the sidewalk. Each slab of
concrete has the hand and foot impression of whoever the star belong to. Among some of the
names we stepped on were Marilyn Monroe, Boris Karloff, and Charles Chaplin. Melrose
Avenue was checked out afterwards. Melrose, a very trendy neighborhood, has some of the
weirdest shops one can find in Los Angeles. Also, quite a few of the pedestrians were
extreme in their choice of clothing and hairstyles. We didn't seem to blend in very well
but that was probably for the best. Most of the 'freaks' had spiky hairdos or generally
just dressed like some sort of deviants. For an observer it wasn't hard to tell that the
four of us, rednecks: body and soul, had just arrived from good ol' Carolina!
At Jonny Rocket's, a sidewalk dive on Melrose, we sat down and had some drinks. The
establishment excelled in different flavored cola, and as true "Pulp Fiction"
fans we had Vanilla Cokes.
Later, at Santa Monica we walked the beach and the characteristic pier, which contains
restaurants and an amusement park. The evening was rather chilly and we were only lightly
clothed. By this time the sun had gone down but it was too early to go back to the motel.
Evening in Santa Monica
Downtown LA was busy. Many people walked on Third Street and the atmosphere was relaxed
and pleasant, a far cry from what one might picture LA at night. We found another Jonny
Rocket's and had more Vanilla Cokes and Chili Fries. Manuel and Dave wanted to check out
House of Blues but you had to be 21 to enter so we went back to Long Beach instead.
Sound Snippet (50 Kb)
Vanilla Coke me!
See more photos from May 22.
Area map of Los Angeles (>195 Kb).
Go to the next page in the Diary (May 23).