We are still on central time so for the first time in perhaps months, we got to see a sun rise, from our room!
Our visit to Disneyland was a total waste of time and money. There were like a million people packed into the park. At almost $150 (counting the $5 fries and $3 bottled waters and the like), the carousel ride that Anna took — the only ride we could get on because everything else involved a long line and a 30-minute wait time — was the most expensive and wasteful adventure she has had in her 2.5 years (only Ping’s business school education tops that). And with the fake earth mounds, fake river, and the fake everything else in the park, the whole park screamed “fake” and “make-believe” just like the el-cheapo fake LV bags the tourists carry in the park. I grew up watching Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse, but probably not enough to appreciate the magic in Disneyland. Having visited both Disneyworld and Disneyland, I still don’t get it — I have no idea why the whole Disney theme park idea became famous and popular as it is, just like I don’t see why the letters LV imprinted or embossed all over a bag (and also on bags carried by every other woman between 16 and 60 on an L.A. block) could signal any particular status or lifestyle or personality or whatever. In any event, this is the last time I am wasting time on this kind of theme parks.
We left Disneyland shortly after lunch time and headed for Hollywood. The Hollywood Avenue, where the stars are, turned out to be in a pretty creepy area of the town. There weren’t any upscale shops, cafes, restaurants, or other kind of stores along the way that you would expect from a world-famous boulevard. Instead, within a few blocks I counted 1 or 2 topless bars, at least 2 sex-related stores selling lingerie and/or various toys, a “suit store” selling suits straight out of cardboard boxes, and a dozen or so loiterers who made sure that we were aware of their presence in various ways.
The day was not all lost. After two disappointments we headed for Malibu, hoping to drive on California Highway 1 again, sit by the famed beach, and enjoy watching the sun setting over the Pacific Ocean. The sun sank dangerously low before we got to Pepperdine University, which was my intended destination, so we pulled over to a public beach somewhere on Highway 1, and watched the sunset there.
We came back to our hotel and found this plaque near an elevator. It reads: “This is one of two elevators used in filming True Lies, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, September 1993.” I never realized that the movie was almost 15 years old. Judging from the decor I am guessing that the hotel has some special connections to the filming industry here (if anyone’s curious, this is the Westin in downtown L.A.), but maybe that can be said about all L.A. hotels.