Los Angeles means the city of angels in Spanish. This lovely city of angels is the home to the most popular film society in the world, “the HOLLYWOOD”. Hollywood is just an area in northern Los Angeles and since many of the production houses and the studios are located here, the movies produced from this place came to be known as the Hollywood movies. Very similar to how we refer Kodambakkam in the context of tamil movies. The popularity of the term “Hollywood” doesn’t need any special mention and in India particularly, movies coming out of here do have a good amount of expectation and also get a really good reception. To take it further almost all the film societies in India have their names coined in such a way that they end with “wood” just to sound like Hollywood (Bollywood, Kollywood, Tollywood, etc). I just wonder, had Tamil movies managed to get a widespread global reach at a time even before the Hollywood movies became popular world-wide, there could have been a chance that the American movies would have been called some “#@$^% bakkam” movies.

Almost all the tourist who happens to visit Los Angeles will not miss a chance to visit the Hollywood. So, for someone like me who has moved into Los Angles, visiting this place will always be on the agenda. Just as my facebook wall started getting flooded with photos of new students at the Hollywood, I became pretty restless to go there and just get myself photographed and post it on my facebook wall. But once you go there taking a picture and posting it on facebook becomes secondary and all you wish to do there at that moment is to just explore the place and get a glimpse of the locale where some of the richest and the most famous in America happen to live. The area located on the Beverly Hills is full of ups and down and lot of curves and turning and gives you a feeling that you are in a hill station at many places. It is on this hilly area that many of the Hollywood icons such as the likes of Tom Cruise, Al Pacino, Julia Roberts, Quentin Tarantino and many others have their homes.

So I and my roommates decided to go to Hollywood and we chose the 25th of August to be the day for it. The word Hollywood erected on the Hollywood hills is visible to the naked eye from where I live at some particular angles. So I knew the direction that I need to move towards, but for the route and the public transport information I had to resort to the GPS in my smart phone. Now I am pretty confident that with this technology I can move around the city and go anywhere I want without getting lost. So we tracked down the bus numbers that we have to take and the place where we need to get into and set forth on our journey. The GPS showed that we needed to take two buses. After we got down from the first one at the place we were supposed, we switched on the GPS to track the connection that we need to take from there. It so happened that we needed to wait for some time before it arrives. The tracker showed that the connection has arrived and left, but it was physically nowhere to seen around. It took us nearly half an hour to figure out that the connection that is shown by the smart phone is actually a train that is running four floors beneath the place where we were actually standing. The Public transport here, popularly known as the Metro comprises of buses, trains and trams and all these are referred by the term “Metro” and this led us to the confusion. So after figuring out this, we caught the next available train and finally reached Hollywood.

The place is thronged by people all through the day and you get to see tourist from all the continents coming here. We visited the Hollywood wax museum and the Madame Tussauds hall where you get to see the wax statues of popular icons of the Hollywood cinema, both living and dead. Anyone would be amazed by sheer artistic skill of the sculptors who just bring all those stars to life though their intricately sculptured statues. Sometimes you just don’t know if they are wax models or the real people holding their breath and standing still. Even the very minute details are incorporated into those statues and I just don’t have words to describe the beauty of those statues standing right there in front. Even though you get to see these wax statues at the Hollywood wax museum as well as the Madame Tussauds hall, the later has a special mark for itself. Both are equally good but something makes those at the Madame Tussauds a notch better. I don’t know if my pre-conceived notion is to blame having heard of the brilliance of Madame Tussauds, but this is what I felt when I was there looking at those wax statues.  The Ripleys “Believe it or Not” museum showcases some rare exhibits in the form of photos, models, videos and also houses some excellent artistic creations. You get to see portraits of people made out of pins, guitar plucks and even rubix cubes for that matter. On the pavement on both sides of the streets is the well-known Walk of Fame where the names or nearly 2500 eminent people form mostly the movie and the music industry etched on metallic stars. Incidentally, the great boxer Muhammad Ali was offered a spot in this walk of fame, but he rejected stating that he doesn’t want people to stamp on the name Muhammad. Muhammad Ali being a devout Muslim didn’t wish to bring disgrace to many Islamic people around the world. But how can a person of his stature can go without being honoured. So he was offered a spot on the wall in the hall of the famous Kodak theatre and his name is etched there. This walk of Fame runs for a pretty long distance. You could also get to see the famous Dolby theatre, the Hard-rock café and many luxury hotels were the movie stars hang out and spend their time.

There was a 2 hour tour in which they take you through the Hollywood and Beverly hills area and show you the houses of some of the popular Hollywood personalities. I got to see the homes of people like Jackie Chan, Al Pacino, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Daniel Craig, Quentin Tarantino and many others. The entrance of the “Wayne Manor” that comes in the batman trilogy and the house of the Iron Man were also there to be seen. The tour was on an open car and the ride was really refreshing with the temperature and the breeze being nothing but ideal for such a trip. The houses in this area and the market street where the people living here go out to shop and hang around explains the wealth that is there in this place. The Beverly Hills area has a striking difference from the actual town of Los Angeles and anyone would easily fall in love with this place. While the region around the Beverly Hills area is pretty dry and the vegetation consists mostly of the dry, scanty plants the Beverly Hills is lush green with well-trimmed green lawns all along the sides, neatly maintained and colourful gardens everywhere, thick and beautiful hedges and tall and handsome palm trees standing guard on both sides of the road. The place has a serenity associated with it and the Hondas and Toyotas are nowhere to be seen on the roads that are criss-crossed by the likes of Mercedes, BMW, Porsche, Range Rover, Rolls-Royce and other high end cars.

The trip turned out to be yet another amazing one after the visit to Malibu. I am sure there will be many such trips and lots of places that I will get to see in the two years that I am going to spend here. But to remind myself the classes are going to start tomorrow and I also need to focus on my subjects from now onwards. But there will sure be intervals in which I can devote my time towards exploring the other places of interest around southern California.


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