Travel

Not all dreams come true in LA

IT'S as if America's dreamers rushed west and stopped when they ran out of land.

Los Angeles is many things, but one thing it is not, is judgmental.

It is the only place in the world I have visited so far where the homeless and the rich exist side-by-side.

Where you can go to Santa Monica beach and find the poorest of people sharing a bench with the famous or wealthy.

For me, LA was an eye-opener to what happens when people give up on themselves, the community they live in and their dreams.

Success here, can be spectacular but failure equally so.

Angelenos, (as I found out the people of LA are referred to) are typically from somewhere else, but for one reason or another have decided to call this place home.

There is a lot to see and do in LA from Beverly Hills to Venice Beach, but top of my list was Hollywood Boulevard.

It's the street all dreamers visit. It was exactly what I expected but somehow not what I imagined.

Characters from all your favourite movies lined the streets, tourists (including me) cosied up for a photo with them, all the while being disheartened in their quest for what they were searching for.

This showbiz strip excited me but somehow drained me all at the same time.

But one place where you can have equally the same fun (minus the draining) with a touch of adrenaline is the Santa Monica pier and amusement park.

I didn't go on any of the rides, for some reason Final Destination 3 was playing in my head.

But I got enough amusement by seeing and photographing others enjoying the rides.

Plus I was saving my energy to rent a bike for $21 an hour and cycle along the boardwalk from Santa Monica to Venice Beach.

I was told by a policeman, the night before, to be careful in the area but he said by day Venice Beach and the surrounding area was safe for tourists and locals to wander around. But by night he described it as "not a place for a young woman to go alone".

Venice Beach is straight out of a movie; bikini bottoms, drugs, the smell of bad personal hygiene from the homeless, buskers, budding actors looking to be discovered, muscle men, skateboard riders and works of art.

These are the things that make up the incredible and addictive atmosphere of this world-famous beach.

It is like Santa Monica on steroids. The number of homeless people quadruples and they are not just hanging out there, they have big umbrellas and canvas covers to get away from the sun and to possibly be out of sight from the cameras of photography enthusiasts.

It is strange to see the families eating hotdogs and chips on a grass hill, less than a couple of metres to a group of homeless people. But I guess that is what America is all about. The gap between the classes is somewhat bridged by areas like this.

But the huge police numbers in the area, including undercover cops and police on horseback, kept you constantly aware of just how careful you still needed to be.

Everyone needs to experience this part of the world. Los Angeles is a million different worlds rolled into one and it attracts people from all over the globe, too.

On my way back to my hostel in Santa Monica one evening, I met a nice homeless man who had asked me for money.

I told him I would not give him money, but if it was food he was after I would get him some.

So I went into the hostel, used my last few US bucks for the day and created a feast on a budget.

I went back to where I had met him and found only a bag of rubbish he had been carrying.

I then decided to take the food I had made to where the homeless tend to spend their days, in the park at Santa Monica beach, but I didn't feel comfortable approaching the large groups of homeless people.

I couldn't find any single people to approach as I didn't want to cause a fight, if I took only enough food for one.

So the food ended up in the bin and I sulked all the way home. Homeless man 1: Kristy: 0.

My time in Los Angeles was bitter-sweet.

I would have to say a lot more sweet than bitter, but the latter somehow made it a nice balance.

>>More Travel Stories

 

Kristy Muir’s solo backpacking trip around the US - first stop: Los Angeles.
Kristy Muir’s solo backpacking trip around the US - first stop: Los Angeles. Kristy Muir

Topics:  los angeles travel united states



FATAL CRASH: Motorbike rider dies after serious accident

Ambulance with lights on

Photo Tony Martin / Daily Mercury

The man died on scene when a motorbike and a car collided.

The best places for lunch in Ipswich

A number of readers voted Brassall Seafood and Takeaway as the best place to grab lunch.

WE ASKED you where your favourite place to go for a local lunch is

Why these Ipswich teams are recharged for state league

Force co-captain Bree Farley (middle) keeps her teammates focused during Ipswich's comprehensive victory over Toowoomba on Saturday night.

Force basketballers have positive impact

Local Partners

Amy and Tyson Murr feast on My Kitchen Rules win

Controversial Queensland siblings secure $250,000 prize after out-cooking Valerie and Courtney Ferdinands in MKR finale.

Sam Thaiday stars in Broncos’ carpool karaoke

Sam Thaiday makes people laugh

What's on the small screen this week

My Kitchen Rule's mother and daughter contestants Valerie and Courtney.

MY KITCHEN Rules grand finalists face off and Love Child returns.

Ipswich serves up two home cooks for MasterChef auditions

CHASING A DREAM: Ipswich father Ben Ungermann, 32, has auditioned for the ninth season of MasterChef.

Dad of three makes it in front of MasterChef judges

Anthony LaPaglia steps out with new fiancee

Anthony LaPaglia.

Actor Anthony LaPaglia engaged to much younger girlfiend

Ronan Keating a dad for fourth time

Ronan Keating and Storm Keating.

Bouncing baby boy for Boyzone star

Falling rents could spell doom for housing prices

What if I told you housing in Australia was getting cheaper?

Couple gets rich renovating run-down city homes

RENO RADICALS: Baden and Nelson Marino-Hall have turned three Toowoomba homes around for profit, saying the Garden City was a haven for renovators like themselves.

The couple has already turned around three homes

Townhouse pitch raises questions over 'high density'

BIG PLANS: Residents have a chance to offer their opinion on plans to build 42 townhouses at Raceview.

Developer plans 42 townhouses for Ipswich suburb

7 million dollar city homes for sale right now

3 Keira Court, Blue Mountain Heights.

Here are seven of Toowoomba's best, and most expensive, houses

'Raping and pillaging': Landlord's anger with nightmare cost

Chris Duane, who is chairman of the body corporate for Terralina Court, says insurance companies are charging too much for premiums.

BODY corporate boss unleashes on huge costs dumped on home owners.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!