Los Angeles Urban Legends and Realities
...First, the lets dispel a couple of Los Angeles urban
legends: #1: Los Angeles DOES have a mass transit system --
both trains and buses. And for $1.50 a day, you can ride
endlessly on both (senior fare , of course; regular is
$3.00). The metro system is much like DC's with a couple of
exceptions. First, it's run on the honor system (no gates,
station attendants, etc., which must cut down on costs and
seems to actually work). And second each station has a theme
that corresponds to the world above. I especially loved the
Hollywood and Vine station -- movie reels for the ceilings.
And the bus transit stations are highly organized -- a
specific bay for specific buses -- no chaos and no bus nazis!
How American of us....
#2: The air in Los Angeles is dramatically improved -- kudos
to EPA (keep up the good work down there, Mike). The weather
was scorching and the skies were relatively clear. You could
even see the mountains from the Coliseum. By comparison,
when I first went there in September 1961, I walked out of
my dorm in November and stopped dead in my tracks because I
hadn't seen the mountains and didn't even know they were
And here are a couple of realities: #1 The biggest change I
noticed on the USC campus (other than new buildings, etc.)
was that every girl had absolutely perfect boobs.
Unbelievable!!! #2: You will still see vintage cars in mint
condition just as you did in the '60s. I love it! #3:
Parking is XXX$$$ for 15 minutes. All day -- don't even ask.
Still, I sense the "natives" are glued to their cars and not
inclined to join the unwashed masses on the transit system.
#4 The city has always been multicultural, and is even more
so today. Some Californians probably think it is extremely
Hispanic, but I'm not sure that it's more so than the DC
area. I'll have to do some investigation on the numbers. #5:
The police force and the bus drivers are very nice and
helpful (what a difference between Los Angeles and Greece).
Of course, there are the few surley ones, but I saw many
acts of kindness by people and it was very touching.
My lodging was interesting. It was billed as a B&B, but I
knew from the price (cheap) that it wasn't your typical
upscale establishment. Turned out to be a nice little house
in a very convenient part of Hollywood with only two guest
rooms. The rest of the house was full of young people --
mid-20s, all sexes (mostly guys) and colors. They were
terrific! I had such a good time talking with them as they
raced in and out to their various jobs -- valet parking for
the Emmys, webdesign for ???, etc. So much energy in that
house -- it was contagious!
Safely home again. Next installment begins October 7th. In
the meantime, you'll find me at Bailey's at Ballston on
Saturdays, where the USC alumni gather to cheer their team
on to victory!