After my plane landed in LAX, I shared the experience of millions of other international travellers who arrive in the US to be met by an aggressive border officer whose monosyllabic tone failed to mask the contempt he held for me.
America is known for its great national contradictions, but it is a real shame that the positive and friendly exuberance of a population who frequently remind you to ‘have a great day’ is in such contrast to the first people you meet.
There is something inherently cool about taking your first look around Beverly Hills, Hollywood and Malibu Beach. These names bring instant recognition and it’s a pity that the envy of your friends doesn’t quite match your own experience in these glamorous locations. Certainly, there are some fabulously expensive shops and houses in Beverly Hills and a long, open beach in Malibu.
However, other areas lack the glitz you anticipate and the aesthetics fail to live up to their illustrious reputation. This begs the question, if these places were not so entrenched as reference points in Western culture, would anyone have heard of them at all?
This isn’t to say I subscribe to the ‘get in and get out’ policy of many seasoned travellers to LA. Visitors will always enjoy their time in Santa Monica and Venice Beach. The Avenue of Stars will also maintain it’s appeal, even if the selection policy appears bizarre. Barbara Streisand for film anyone?
Los Angeles is definitely worth seeing – just remember that no country does hyperbole quite like America.