Los Angeles


THE CITY OF L.A.        
  San Pedro
LA Harbor
Universal City
Beverly Hills   Santa Monica


Population: 3 805 000(metro: 16 585 000)
Year: 2001


Los Angeles, often called simply LA, is the 2nd largest city of the US. It was the main destination of our California trip April 10th - April 18th 2001. It is the longest time I have stayed in any city outside Sweden! We rent a car and stayed at hostel in Hollywood (see the Hollywood section above). It was very interesting and no really bad events happened. Sometimes it takes hours to drive across different parts of the city and there is very few pavements, so without a car in LA you are nothing!

Los Angeles is a very diverse city. As the movie capital of the world, it is no secret that LA is the city in the world that has most residents for movie stars in the wealthy suburbs like Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Marina del Rey, Bel Air and Malibu (we visited all of them). Most of them are located in the west part of LA, close to the Pacific Coast. There we saw huge mansions, some belonging to celebrities, and boulevards filled with planted palms. When driving through these suburbs it felt like we were being a part of a famous Hollywood movie. In Hollywood we visited the famous Universal film studios and in Culver City we took part of a recording for a new TV show. Our hostel, Banana Bungalow was situated close to Universal Studios in Hollywood. The first Disneyland in the large suburb Anaheim is also a very popular tourist attraction (though we just drove by at night).

Hollywood is not so fashionable as it used to be, but is the unofficial downtown of Los Angeles, even if it used to be a suburb outside the city borders. It is were the Rock Walk with the celebrities footprints are, outside Manns Chinese Theater. And in Hollywood Hills we saw the famous "Hollywood" sign. Even if LA:s own Downtown is pretty dead after office hours, you cannot disregard the fact that its skyline, shaped by skycrapers in glass and steel, has a very interesting architecture and has served as a backdrop for several Hollywood movies. The most striking building in downtown is the famous 5 glass cylinders of the Westin Bonaventure Hotel. Close to Downtown we visited Little Japan and Chinatown, with its Chinese architecture. In Century City there is a somewhat smaller skyline. Striking is also the huge number of highways with sometimes as much as 12 lanes!

A part of LA that we didn't visit is East LA and Watts, with its pretty unfamous ghettos. Many people live there in pretty bad conditions where the crime rate is high. This part is a big contrast to the wealthy suburbs in the west. Overall it was a fantastic, almost unreal experience to visit Los Angeles, feeling like a movie star!

The United States has a different type of health care system. Most US citizens have their health care provided to them through their employer. When they reach the age of 65, they can enroll into Medicare which is another health care system provided by the government.


Typical LA environment somewhere between Downtown and Hollywood.
Note the Hollywood sign in the distant mountains