As a Singaporean whose country is always affectionately known as the “little red dot” on the world’s map, Los Angeles was a place that was way too big for me. It was a ratio of 1 to infinity. Everything here is huge-the roads and buildings in LA are thrice as wide as what I was used to seeing back home. Even the food portions in restaurants and the pigeons in the sky are twice the size than what I was accustomed with. It is a city with endless trails of surprises and possibilities.
I found out that it could be dangerously fun while taking detours at Downtown LA, where we stayed. Skidrow Street is known to be sketchy and I can see why-there was a pervasive smell of pee along the alleys, many wandering hobos, and shifty-eyed strangers. But it is the fastest route to Little Tokyo and the place where many awesome food chains and fun events are held. About two blocks away, there is a shop called The Last Book Store, where you can sell or trade old books, pick up new ones, or even grab a record or two. Housed in an old bank, The Last Bookstore is said to be the largest independent bookstore in Southern California. You can immerse yourself in perusing the many reading materials there. After which, you can head on to Venice Beach. This beach area is full of people in bathing suits enjoying the sun, sand, and sea. Hanging in Venice Beach and Santa Monica made me feel like I was cast in a Hollywood film.
Some days were spent shopping, looking at pretty houses, and having small talks with strangers. Other days, we appreciated art and visited printmaking studios. We also took a long ride from Downtown to Beverly Hills and Uber was the only way of transport for me in LA since subways and other kinds of public transport were non-existent. Although to my knowledge, there is a subway in Hollywood town that could take you to Universal Studios and all those other tourist attractions. Might be best to take along good company when you visit these parts. You may also enjoy a stroll looking at the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Be mindful though, as there are scammers-so please avoid taking the CDs they are offering you. Other than that, you would be delighted to see celebrities walking through the city just like ordinary folks. Kurt Russell was just behind us at a Cuban Restaurant and Ellen Page walked past us like a tiny cool person. Everyone was so nonchalant while I was so starstruck!
The eclectic mix of showbiz, art, culture, and a vibrant night life set in one of the world’s most unique cityscapes will keep you entertained in LA. With a city as vast as Los Angeles, the list of things to see and do here can be quite long. But that’s also the great thing about it-whether your time in town is limited or not, you’ll always find something to make your stay worthwhile.
Words & Photography by Marilyn Yunjin