Los Angeles, California

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When I think of LA, I think of plastic surgery, celebrities, and of course, “The L Word.” Los Angeles is an incredibly diverse city, brimming with countless ethnicities and spanning every social strata. Within two blocks, one might find taco trucks serving blue collar workers around the corner from manicured mansions. The juxtaposition can be mind boggling, homeless sleeping on the Hollywood stars under advertisements for the latest botox, as Maseratis zoom by. It is a land of extremes.

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On Saturday, we walked the Walk of Fame, snapping pics of our favorite stars such as Jodie Foster and Dolly Parton. For a celebrity to get a star, someone must sponsor them for $30,000. Half of that cost goes to installing the bronze and terrazzo star, while the other half of the big bucks goes to the Hollywood Historic Trust, an organization that maintains and looks after the stars. The celebrity honored also must appear at the unveiling ceremony. Julia Roberts and Clint Eastwood have declined their star nominations, while a few other celebrities have two stars.

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We then admired the Chinese Theatre, the site of many famous premiers, such as Star Wars, and home to three Academy Awards ceremonies. There are nearly 200 celebrity hand prints, foot prints and autographs in the concrete out front of the theatre.

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Next up was the Dolby Theatre, host of the annual Academy Awards ceremony.

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We then hopped on a celebrity home tour through Beverly Hills and Bel Air. I have to hand it to Los Angelenos, they sure do know how to landscape to prevent any curious eye from reaching the front door. As we weaved through the hills, we were afforded extraordinary views of the surrounding mountains and downtown LA, but very few views of actual homes. After our tour, we drove to Korea town for some delectable Ramen.

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That afternoon, we drove out to Santa Monica Pier. Swarms of people lined the pier, devouring ice cream cones dripping in the sun’s rays. Children screamed and laughed as roller coasters zoomed by at the small amusement park at the end of the pier. And we walked through the mystical forest of piers under the bubbling platform above, gawking at the incandescent light beaming between the trunks.

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We unfortunately missed the typical muscle and bronze beach scene of Venice Beach. It seemed like a quieter day than usual on the white sands, but the quirky shops and restaurants lining the main drag provided plenty for the eye to ogle.

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We opted to stay in West Hollywood, or WeHo… aka the gayborhood. Walking around the neighborhood to various eating establishments and local shops draped in rainbow flags was so heartwarming. We frequented The Abbey, a world renowned gay bar in the heart of WeHo, and Urth Caffe, a local coffee shop thought to be the inspiration for The Planet of “The L word.” Santa Monica Boulevard cuts through the heart of WeHo and is the remnant of the old Route 66.

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On Sunday, we sipped lattes at Urth Caffe before finding a boozy brunch of bottomless mimosas in Echo Park. We also drove up to Griffith Observatory to catch a few more scenic views of downtown LA from above. Before we knew it, our short weekend stay in LA was over and we were heading back to LAX. Until next time, LA!


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