La La Land: The City of Dreams?


Everyone has that fairytale notion of what L.A. life and Hollywood life is. With the rise of social media, famous public figures have given us the behind scenes look at the lifestyle in the motion picture city. So where did I go for my birthday? Los Angeles. What it worth it?


Day one started with us finding a place to eat. My family and I are from Houston, Texas where portion sizes are larger than life and everything is deep fried. I was so hungry after the flight but I lost my appetite on the drive to the hotel. We were driving through downtown LA to get to Hollywood when I saw something that is never shown in the movies. Poverty. Homelessness. And I know that this is in every city but this was different. You could see the clear geographical line between the privileged and the homeless and it was hard to believe that LA is known as the city of dreams. This being the first thing I saw on my trip to LA was definitely a turn off.


We ended up at the Santa Monica pier and I have never seen water so blue in the states. Of course it did not compare to the white sandy beaches in Cozumel but it was a hell of a lot better than Galveston. Beautiful blue water stretching into the horizons and was definitely a sight to see. I watched through the window of the restaurant as locals and tourists were spending their day at the pier enjoying themselves and shopping. I also saw the homeless sitting and asking for food. As much peace and serenity the beach was giving me in that moment, I felt as though the reality of the city was not leaving me behind.

That night, we went for a walk down Hollywood Blvd and I could not wait. And yes, again, I was disappointed. The walk of stars was literally just a dirty sidewalk outside the Chinese Theater and there was nothing special about it. I was very disappointed. The city was losing its charm every hour I was there.

The next day was better. Instead of driving around to see the city, we went to Universal Studios because it was only about ten minutes away from our hotel in Hollywood. There, my family and I enjoyed very much as we explored the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the beautiful town of Springfield and we even met Gru from Despicable Me. This was probably the most fun we had the entire trip. The food, the butterbeer, and the rides all loved up to what they have always been. The best part of the Universal Studios was the studio tour of the back lot of the park where all the popular movies and shows were filmed. The tour guide takes you behind the scenes to see the sets how the animations are done to make it all seem real. The best part was when I instantly recognized the set for Kristen Bell’s new show “The Good Place” and she was actually there filming at the time! It was so cool to see the set in real life and how small the studio space really is.

That night, we decided to drive up a mountain to Griffith Observatory. As my father driving up the side of the mountain, my mother and I were scared for our lives because of the lack of railing on the side of the mountain. But when we got to the top, the view was absolutely breathtaking. We were so close to the Hollywood sign and I felt like I was on top of the world. I sat down in front of the observatory just people watching and what I saw intrigued me. When on the observation deck, I was overlooking a city of lights and I’m sure it was full of dreamers.

The rest of the trip, we drove around to museums and what not but nothing was as special as it was played out to be. I left LA regretting wasting my birthday on west coast. So what were my thoughts as I took off from LAX back to IAH? Ignorance is bliss.



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