Huntington Beach, CA
Our daughter, Jessica, arrived at LAX right on time late Monday morning. It sure was great to see her, although she is only two thirds of the daughter we use to know.
Jessica has changed her diet and exercise (previously “lack of exercise”) routine and has lost the weight of an average fifth grader. She looks great!
We drove back to Huntington Beach and took a walk up the beach to enjoy a coffee while watching the surfers. Later we drove south to visit Newport Beach and Laguna Beach. The Ferrari Dealership in Newport Beach tipped us off that these communities were a bit upscale. On the way back, we pulled into a park along the ocean to enjoy a sunset.
The next morning as two of us walked the beach trail, we came upon what appeared to be a young California surfer bunny out for an early run before enjoying a day of surfing.
That afternoon we took one of the four hundred freeways in the area north to visit Hollywood. Apparently Christmas is a big day for tourism, as Hollywood Boulevard was packed with people.
One of the famous sites along Hollywood Boulevard is Grauman’s Chinese Theater. Built by a partnership headed by Sid Grauman, the theater opened in May of 1927 with the premiere of Cecil B. DeMille’s film The King of Kings. It has since been home to many premieres, including the 1977 launch of George Lucas’s Star Wars, as well as birthday parties, corporate junkets and three Academy Awards ceremonies.
Among the theater’s most distinctive features are the concrete blocks set in the forecourt, which bear the signatures, footprints, and handprints of nearly 200 popular motion picture personalities from the 1920s to the present day.
In front of the theater, we began checking out names on the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame. The Walk of Fame consists of 2,487 five-pointed terrazzo and brass stars embedded in the sidewalks along fifteen blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and three blocks of Vine Street. The stars bear the names of a mix of actors, musicians, directors, producers, musical and theatrical groups, fictional characters, and others. The Walk of Fame is a popular tourist destination, with a reported 10 million visitors a year.
Walk of Fame rules prohibit consideration of nominees whose contributions fall outside the five major entertainment categories (motion picures, broadcast television, audio recording or music, broadcast radio, and theater/live performance), but the selection committee has been known to conjure some interesting rule interpretations to justify a selection. The Walk’s four round Moon landing monuments at the corners of Hollywood and Vine, for example, officially recognize the Apollo 11 astronauts for “contributions to the television industry.” Muhammad Ali’s star was granted after the committee decided that boxing could be considered a form of “live performance.” His star is the first (and so far only) one to be installed on a vertical surface. It is displayed on a wall of the Dolby Theatre, acceding to Ali’s request that his name not be walked upon.
Returning to the car, we continued our tour by taking a drive down the famous shopping area, Rodeo Drive. We had planned to do some shopping but found most stores closed due to the holiday. That Louis Vuitton handbag will have to wait until our next visit!
The Santa Monica Pier is another site on any good tourist’s list in this area.
The pier contains Pacific Park, a family amusement park with a large Ferris wheel. It also has a carousel from the 1920s, an aquarium, shops, entertainers, an arcade, a trapeze school, a pub, and restaurants. The end of the pier is a popular fishing spot.
We drove up the coast to Malibu to see the home of Charlie in the TV show “Two and a Half Men” but apparently the show is fictional and Charlie never really lived there. But many wealthy people do, as the cliffs are dotted with beautiful homes overlooking the Pacific.
We returned to the motorhome to enjoy a tasty holiday meal prepared by our head chef. Tomorrow the prediction is for clouds and winds so we’ll wait until morning before developing our travel agenda for the day. More on that later.