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The California Chronicles – 11/12/09

After two days of journeying all over Southern California, I am able to finally sit down, relax, and punch the keys of the past events. The past two days have been a long expedition of sight seeing and adventure. An adventure that included myself, my tag-team partner, a couple of cameras, a Ford Mustang, and a trusty navigation system, which somehow ended up with the name, “Pam” by the end of it all. 

The Getty Center
The all-out, ultimate tourist adventure began with a trip to the Getty Center. The Getty Center,  a museum in Los Angeles was an excellent visit for its architecture, art work, and impressive scene as it sits atop the hills of Bel Air over looking the city of angels.

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Hollywood
Following the artistic and somewhat educational beginning to the adventure, the tourist mode in us began as we pursued the “Hollywood” sign. We were able to capture it in its beautiful, and majestic essence, while experiencing and cruising through the Hollywood hills. Hands down, one of my favorite trips and sights in California. 


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Dodger Stadium
Next up on the adventure was the historic Dodger Stadium. The stadium, as expected, had a very nostalgic feel to it. The “Think Blue” Hollywood-like sign on the hills over the stadium sets the tone as you enter Dodgertown. One thing is for sure, if you attend a Dodgers game, parking will not be a problem. And oh yeah, expect to see a lot of blue. A whole heckuva lot. 


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Hollywood Blvd.
The expedition suddenly grew in tourist-like aura as we visited the well-known Hollywood Blvd. The area which included the walk of fame, Kodak Theatre, and the Chinese Theater, definitely reminded me somewhat of Times Square with all of its lights, street performers, and movement. However, despite the walk of fame, the area was somewhat disappointing. The Blvd. is about two blocks deep with action, and beyond that is the typical tourist and T-shirt stores. Maybe a little overrated.



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Staples Center
The next journey on this trip took us to the downtown Los Angeles area. There, the area was dominated by The Staples Center, and other facilities around it including, LA Live, The Nokia Center, and the Los Angles Convention Center. LA Live was impressive, filled with places to eat, hangout, and shop. The Staples Center lived up to everything that has been said about it. It is impressive in modern amenities, and has a feel of being the “MSG of the West.” Although, I must admit, the Staples Center has a certain jaw dropping feel to it when you come through the tunnel. It makes a New York homer such as myself a little town-conscious of the modern appeal of Madison Square Garden, as well as the last big event that has indeed occurred there. With that said, we’ll just by-pass all Knicks jokes here as well. Continuing, few places have that feel, and Staples Center is one of them. All in all, the combination of the Staples Center and LA Live gives downtown Los Angeles a must-be feel to it, along with a modern area which maybe duplicated in future sporting facilities across the nation. 


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Wayfarers Chapel
After taking a ten hour break from zig-zagging all over Southern California, we were back on the road as we marched up north to Rancho Palos Verdes, CA to see the Wayfarers Chapel. I must admit, I had no idea what this place was before, or as we were on the way there. My tag-team partner however, did. It actually turned out to be a very historical church with very unique architectural designs. After years of tagging with her, I have indeed grown to appreciate such aspects in life, and was very pleased to see it, despite the hour long drive. 


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Angel Stadium
And Finally, we concluded the two day non-stop journey at Angel Stadium. The trip over into Anaheim during rush hour and in California traffic was well worth it. Angel Stadium is one of the best stadiums that I have ever been to. The stadium, which looks tropical with many baseball-related aspects, resonates everything that is the Angels Baseball club and southern California. Anaheim is definitely a city that takes its baseball seriously, and is behind their Angels, which is reminiscent of the rabid fans back east. This was apparent to me upon entering the Angels baseball store. Wearing a Yankees T-shirt and hat (of course), I was immediately met by a store clerk who smartly quipped, “Hi, can we get you a new shirt, maybe hat?” It got a chuckle out of my tag partner and myself, but she was very serious. 


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In the end of it, as you can imagine, we are exhausted. However, we are also satisfied and content with not only our trips all over southern California, but what the area had to offer as well. I could not help but compare Los Angeles with New York City in every opportunity that arises. There are many ways in which Los Angeles and New York City are alike. In fact, if you take away the main attractions, many of the “regular” roads where everyday people live and call home resemble that of New York City. From the 99 cent stores, to the graffiti, LA and NYC are reminiscent of one another.

On the other hand, I could not believe the difference in character the two areas have. A friend who visited the area previously hit the nail on the head when he said that Los Angeles was “Too Showy.” Los Angeles seems to be about big cars, big houses, fancy clubs, plastic surgery, and all other sort of unnecessary enhancements. New York has its moments as well, but not to this extent. Yet, it can be argued that each are infamous for different reasons: NYC for business and LA for entertainment.


Plus, who wants two similar cities on different ends of the coasts?

All in all, I’m just glad I had an opportunity to enjoy them both to some extent. Each has something to offer the other doesn’t, and yet, both are amazing. I still have one day left here, so my California experience isn’t over. However, it has been one that has shed new light on this race called life.

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