TRAVEL: LA LA Land

The best thing about traveling by yourself is you can pretty much do what ever you want, when you want.

Want to lie in your hotel room, sweating in the 30+ degree heat like the only wildebeest at a lion convention, do it.
Want to race to the corniest tourist trap in Hollywood (aka Mel’s Drive In) for Coke and fries? Tuck in!
Want to take nine million cheese core pictures of stars on the walk of fame. CLICKITY CLICK, HOMES!
The downside is being a little less adventurous than you might be when you travel with a pal.
At least, I am a little less adventurous.

I’ve been in LA for about five hours and so far I’ve followed the same routine as last time, including the conversation I just had with the hotel guy about the weather.
I’m even staying at the same hotel, The Hotel Hollywood on Yucca.
One difference: Little did I know when I booked it that I would be renting the very room Marylyn Monroe lived in when she first came to Tinsel Town. (Cue joke about lounging in my hotel with “nothing on but the radio” a la Mazza.)

I’m pretty sure the almighty chandelier in the room is a recent addition, but it’s not hard to imagine a thrifty Norma Jean lugging her cardboard suitcase up the three flights to the small, back-corner room and lying on the then single bed, dreaming her big, prophetic dreams of stardom.
Today, Capitol Records, that shabby platter of discs, is just out the window, and down the road is the Pantages, one of Hollywood’s oldest theaters.

America’s first mall, Crossroads of the World, is just a couple of blocks away, and at the far end of Hollywood Blvd is The Roosevelt Hotel, where the first Academy Awards was held.
The Kodak, where the current awards show is held, is just across the street, next to Graumann’s Chinese theatre.
I mean, you come to Hollywood for this shit, right?

Best of all, when you open the inauspicious hotel door onto grubby old Yucca Street, your eye is immediately drawn to the emerald green hill rising up behind it.
In the centre of that scrubby face are 9, 10 foot tall, white block letters that Marilyn and her fellow hotel guest James Dean (he stayed room 102, FYI) would have been well acquainted with.
They spell out one word so steeped in magic and meaning it’s taken on a life far beyond the merely descriptive.
It means promise, potential, escape, it means a kind of charming tackiness that only happens in America and above all, it means entertainment (for better or worse).
HOLLYWOOD

I bet Mazza picked the hotel precisely because you see the sign every time you venture out into the city.
 I like to imagine similarly-solo Marilyn had a few well trodden paths from The Hotel Hollywood to casting couches and risky risqué photo shoots about the city.
Maybe one of them took her to this same booth at Mel’s, where I’m writing this post. Maybe she sat here wondering when things were going to kick off for her.
 Me? I just enjoy the shit I enjoy. And besides, things kick off for me tomorrow, when I gotta go deal with 130,000 geeks and Norman Reedus.

Tonight, I rest – and maybe shop. Shopping’s restful, right?
 But after that I think I’ll take a circuitous route back to the hotel. Sure it’s a well trodden path, but the cherry pie is so good, why would I stray?

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