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Flashback To LA: City of Angels

By Sam Umukoro
04 December 2021   |   3:30 am
If Fontana in California is a virgin, Los Angeles is an attractive cougar. LA, as the city is popularly called, is associated with Hollywood, movie stars, glitz and glamour.

If Fontana in California is a virgin, Los Angeles is an attractive cougar. LA, as the city is popularly called, is associated with Hollywood, movie stars, glitz and glamour. I set out for the city with the excitement of a young man on a first date with a desirable beautiful older woman.

I got to the station in Monte Claire to board the 9 am bus to LA. Being my first time, I decided to cross check the bus schedule I got from the internet with a lady who wore the uniform of an official of the station.

Politely, I made my enquiry and her response left me mouth agape. “I can’t help until after my break in 10 minutes time,” she said to me rudely.

Momentarily, my excitement retreated like the sun behind the clouds and I was left with the thought that this woman wasn’t an angel. I resolved not to allow her dampen my mood to the City of Angels, as Los Angeles is also nicknamed.

Luckily for me, a man who overheard our conversation directed me to a queue in front of the door of a parked bus. I joined the queue and when the door of the bus was flung open, I was surprised to find that the driver of the bus was the same woman who I had spoken to earlier.

The one-hour journey to Los Angeles was hitch-free. We arrived in the city as scheduled and I faced another dilemma; I was supposed to meet a friend in Universal Studio and didn’t know what bus stop to alight. I was forced to return to the driver for help and once again, she told me she couldn’t help me.

I was tired of the antics of the bus driver, so I pulled the buzzer and alighted in an area that looked like Downtown LA, because of the skyscrapers.

“Excuse me, please where can I get a taxi around here,” I asked a middle aged man dressed in suit, but he ignored me and walked away briskly. Americans are known to be very friendly and I was taken aback by the unfriendly behaviour of the bus driver and the man I just met.

I decided to walk to an intersection that was about a 100 meters away from me, and was relieved to find a taxi parked in a street corner.

“Where are you from,” the taxi driver asked me.

“London,” I replied with pride.

“ No I mean where are you from originally,” he asked again, probing further like a detective from the famous Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) we see in movies.

We drove past the LAPD building and excitedly, I muttered under my breath “Famous LAPD.”

Trust taxi drivers not to miss anything, immediately the driver responded. “My friend, I would say the infamous LAPD. In movies, they are the good guys, in real life they are bad”.

I chuckled at his comment and a likeness for him was beginning to envelope me. I decided to share with him my experiences with the bus driver and the man on the street. The taxi driver told me the bus driver’s behaviour was strange; however, the man on the street was not. I learnt from him that, because of the preponderance of homeless people in downtown LA, most people are not in the habit of talking to strangers.

Our conversation was interrupted when my phone rang, it was my friend asking me to make a detour and meet him in Hollywood Boulevard. Now, all my ‘Christmases’ were coming at once. Hollywood is the mecca of the movie industry and its most famous street is the Hollywood Boulevard. My pilgrimage to the city has been fast-tracked to the high point. I met up with my friend and began a walk on a 31/2- mile loop around Hollywood Boulevard that’s known as the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

It was a memorable experience. Over 2000 stars featuring various celebrities were inlaid on the sidewalk, along the walk of fame. Other attractions include Kodak Theatre and the nearby Universal City – I had initially planned to visit.

Los Angeles has many attractions, but the walk of fame was the main attraction for me. Truth is, it is not a city you explore in one day, but after the walk of fame, the city didn’t hold much attraction any longer. I was ready to return another day to explore the other attractions.

Moreover, this is my first visit and Los Angeles is not a ‘cougar’ of spent energy.

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