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 LOS ANGELES

LOS ANGELES, AUGUST 1995 - It was my first visit to the North-American continent, and my first encounter with American city life.  While the plane was making it's descent towards LAX airport, I could see plenty of low-rise houses, the suburbs of this enormous city.  I was somewhat disappointed not to see high-rise buildings - I had to wait till the next morning for that.  I went to the hotel and met some of my fellow travellers before trying to sleep through my jetlag...- which worked wonderfully, against all expectations.  The next morning, I took some quick breakfast (muffins and coffee) and I was ready to get into the city ! 

Hollywood

That day we first visited the Hollywood area.  When driving from El Segundo towards Hollywood, we made some sightseeing trip through Beverly Hills.  We didn't meet any of the stars or other famous people, we only saw beautiful cars in the streets and encountered police and security officers, always telling us not to park when we were slowing down.  The houses were all fenced and had gardens surrounding them.  After a while we arrived in the Hollywood boulevard.  I had seen this boulevard numerous times on TV, and finally I was standing there and walked on the so famous pavement.   Next, to the Chinese theatre, to admire the foot-and-other-prints of the famous.  It was like all the TV series coming true all at once, but this was real, and at the same time this seemed just like an 'ordinary boulevard' ... a bit of a strange feeling came over me.  A feeling that would come back many times during my trip through the USA.

Hollywood boulevard Chinese Theatre

Next, we were driving into the hills of hollywood, stopped several times to see some houses of filmstars (even climbed a fence once), fotographed the Hollywood sign,... to arrive finally on the parking lot of Universal Studios, where the view of LA was great : finally high-rise buildings in all their glory !

Half a day visit to Universal Studios... was like all the movies coming true.  After having met Jaws & Frankenstein, after having been in an earthquake and in a fire and almost in space, it was time to return to reality.  

We went on for the following days drving on the Pacific Highway, passing in Santa Monica & Santa Barbara (made a little "Bay watch" beach stop) and went on towards Big Sur, with wonderfull vistas all the way.  It was also the first time I had seen the Pacific ocean, and of course I couldn't resist at some point to hike down from the road and feel if the water was any different than anywhere else in the world.

Pacific Coast, Big Sur