The second half of our epic road trip vacation begins in Los Angeles, California. We’re staying at the Holiday Inn Express in Hawthorne for three nights, and not having to drag our stuff in and out every day is nice for a change.
Skye navigated us to the Hollywood hills, where we planned to hike to the Hollywood sign. The road led us to the front of the sign, which has no trailheads for sign access. There was nowhere to park in the neighborhood closest to the sign, and security guards made sure nobody tried to. We did park lower on the hill, near a park, with a hundred or so other people, and walk up the winding streets toward the sign. Eventually, the street turned to go down the hill, becoming to steep for vehicle access. There was a chain across the drive next to the last house, and signs indicating that crossing was illegal and violation could mean fines up to $1,000. No access to the Hollywood sign, they said, and hiking to it was not allowed. Jenna would not violate these edicts, but Skye and I passed through, with many other persons, and hiked up further. When this drive ended, there were more signs prohibiting access, but I ignored those, too, and climbed high enough to get a good picture. One guy coming down as I was going up said he’d been sitting on one of the letters of the sign before a police officer stationed at the sign told him to get off and go down. I didn’t have any interest in sitting on a letter or upsetting a cop, so snapped a few pictures and walked back down, satisfied.
The houses in the hills were gorgeous, as one might expect. The views from this perch are spectacular, although dealing with tourist crowds constantly walking and driving past must get tiring.
Skye wanted to see Beverly Hills and take a photo of Rodeo Drive lined with palm trees on both sides, so she navigated us there. The houses were incredible, as were the cars on the road and in the driveways. I have little interest in celebrities, but it was quite interesting from a sociological and cultural perspective to see both the opulence and the gawking. We are a peculiar species, indeed.
The next destination on our LA tour was Little Tokyo for Jenna. She wanted to navigate so she could have a better view out the front windscreen, so she switched with Skye. Little Tokyo is in downtown Los Angeles. After parking in a garage, we walked to the Japanese garden Jenna wanted to visit, but unfortunately it was closed for maintenance. We then walked to a square where Jenna checked out a tea shop. From there we visited the Japanese American National Museum, which was very cool. They had a large permanent exhibit on the Japanese internment following our entry into WWII. It was sad and embarrassing. It also struck me how very little we’ve learned from our own history. The sentiments about the Japanese then are nearly identical to the rhetoric being spewed by the Republican candidate for president now, about Mexicans and Muslims. Will we ever cease to foment hate?
A temporary exhibit at the museum, all about origami, was impressive. The intricacy and perfection in detail was inspiring. We as Americans could learn a lot from Japanese culture.
When we left the museum, we were all hungry and tired, not having eaten since breakfast at the hotel in the morning. We drove back to the In-N-Out adjacent to the approach end of runway two-four right at LAX. To my delight, all of the girls wanted to do this for the second evening in a row. We ate burgers, then moved to the small park across the street and took pictures of airplanes passing overhead.
We got back to the hotel room around 19:00, which is probably the earliest we’ve ended a day since the trip began. It’s nice to slow down, which has given me a little more time to draft these blog posts, go through photos, and plan for the next day’s activities.