Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Los Angeles, California

Last few days of 2007 had been a little hectic for us. After Christmas holidays in Lake Tahoe, my hubby had some business in LA. A few weeks before, he was in Portland, Oregon. But, we missed the opportunity to tag along then. If not, I would have gotten the chance to meet up with my school-mate friend Ins (Hamidah Zakaria) who is residing there with her husband and their 2 children. My hubby came home impressed with the Malaysian-Iranian couple's fine hospitality and their lovely home. The last I saw Ins was at Marriot, Putra Jaya in mid 2006 when we had 'The Invincibles' 30th anniversary of leaving school. She came all the way from Portland for the gathering; and that was the first time I saw her - along with many others from my batch - after MCE of '76. Hmmm... orang lama, ek? he..he.. We had lots of fun during the 2-day get-together cum 'down-the-memory lane' retreat. If you wanna see a group of ladies - how sophisticated they maybe - turned school girl-ish screaming & hugging & talking all in unison, you should see us at one of our gatherings. :)Weee can turn back the wheels of time and become oblivious of those around us. It is as though we are in our own 'zone', leaving hubbies at the door! he..he.. ANywayyy, that is another story altogether. This time around, the children and me didn't want to miss out on the City of Angels - Los Angeles and what she has to offer. Universal Studios, Disneyland, Hollywood Walk of Fame, Hollywood Blvd, Rodeo Drive... just to name a few. Driving south from San Jose to L.A takes 5 - 6 hours and that was what we did on Friday morning of Dec 28th 2007. A bit on history.. bear with me for awhile :), at the end of the Mexican-American War in 1848, Los Angeles and California became part of the United States. Los Angeles or L.A is the largest city in the state of California and the second-largest in the US. It is located in Southern California with a population of almost 4.0 million people. The Los Angeles–Long Beach–Santa Ana metropolitan area however, is home to nearly 13 million people who come from all over the globe and speak more than a hundred different languages. Begitu diverse-nya L.A nie... Astonishingly enough, Wikipedia says that the crime rate has declined since the 1990s with 2007 recording the least homicide cases. Nevertheless, the city is still being referred to as the "Gang Capital of America". Hissh..teringat pulak TV series L.A Law & Order, LAPD, Homicide..... CSI L.A (ada ker...?). Wikipedia also says that car chases in L.A happen more often than in most other major cities. The freeway (highway) system in L.A is complex and allows for lengthier pursuits...aksi kejar - mengejar! It was good that nothing happened on the road when we were there but I realised that the driving in L.A ada sikit-sikit macam driving in K.L. Aggressive! Well, it's nothing to a well experienced K.L driver like my hubby..he..he.. Suite 400, 550 South Hope Street, Los Angeles, California hosts four Malaysian offices : Consulate General of Malaysia - the other one is in New York; MARTRADE, MIDA, and MSD. The MSD - Malaysian Students Department now has only 3 staff ( I think ) very much reduced; not like it used to be a few years before when they occupied at least half the floor. Well, that was what I understood from Kak Yati... in the ladies room! Malaysian students dah tak ramai. That's no surprise... Yang non-sponsored of course masih belambak - where they get the financial aid, beats me! Kita ni harapkan MARA & JPA jer... itu pun kuota dah reduced. ANywayyy, ter-melalut pulak... the city of Los Angeles ni is prone to earthquakes due to its location in the Pacific Ring of Fire; which causes approximately 10,000 earthquakes every year. Nevertheless, many are of low intensity and are not felt. I remember the 5.6 Reichter yang menggegar San Jose last year... takat tu pun dah kecut perut! Hollywooood..., a district in Los Angeles, California and situated to the northwest of Downtown L.A is where the glamour is. Due to its fame and cultural identity as the historical center of movie studios and movie stars, the word "Hollywood" is often used as a reference to the cinema of United States. Macam "Bollywood" is to Hindi films laa... Actually, the Hollywood Sign is Hollywood's "biggest star". It is more than just nine white letters spelling out a city’s name; it is one of the world’s most suggestive symbols that reflects ambition, success, glamour …and dream. That is why hundreds of teenagers run away from homes to flock to Hollywood hoping to be 'discovered'. Competing with the professionally trained, a few made it - by pure talent, I suppose. But those that don't, end up becoming gas & parking attendants, panhandlers (peminta sedeqah), prostitutes or star in pornographic films. The Hollywood Walk of Fame was created in 1958 for artists in the entertainment industry based on career and lifetime achievements in motion pictures, live theatre, radio, television, and or music, as well as their charitable and civic contributions. We tracked along Hollywood Boulevard searching for famous names that we know. The kids raised their eyebrows to the ones that are familiar to me... the likes of Lindsay Wagner & Lee Majors....sapa tu? tak famous pun! Well, famous to me since I grew up watching Bionic Woman & Six Million Dollar Man.. he..he.. But, frankly I don't think I'ld prefer my name to be stepped on by millions of feet. So, jangan ler ada 'mat bijak' or 'minah pandai' kat sana tu yang nak tiru macam The Hollywood Walk of Fame nih.. memang bukan budaya kita! We can take the good, but please do away with the bad & the ridiculous. Bayangkan nama P.Ramlee or Saloma kat atas tanah di pijak-pijak. Cukup ler dengan nama dia orang diguna untuk jalan & restoran. I am not sure how Jln P.Ramlee looks like these days and I didn't have the opportunity to eat at 'Saloma'. But, I did have lunch at a restoran in Kinrara once, which has all black & white pictures of our yester-years celebrity as its deco...even the music reminds me of my childhood days... makanan? ... sedaaaap! Lupa pulak nama restoran tuu. I hope it's thriving well.. If you like watching the Oscars or the Academy Awards then you are familiar with the sight of Kodak Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard. I am not really a fan tapi kalau dah tak der kerja tu, tengok la jugak. :) Of course, we all know where our female artis-artis get their fashion sense from. Strangely enough, I don't have any opinions when seeing these foreign actresses 'berkemban' or bare-backed but rasa 'jelek' sangat pulak when I see any of ours parading in attires exposing most parts of their chests! And, I guess it's catching on even with our youngsters in K.L.. Frankly, I haven't seen anyone dress undecently or unpleasing to my eyes since we are here. Agak nya sebab cuaca sejuuk & all have to be wrapped up most of the time. If you want those kind of action then I guess go to the beach! ..he..he... While we are here in L.A, Atiqah wanted to go to Disneyland but I know we need at least 2 days there. So tak cukup masa ... Anyhow, the tickets are soo expensive. Tak cukup duit sebenar nya... :) We settled with just Universal Studios since we could get cheaper tickets on the internet. There are quite a number of advantages by just being AAA member here. Lagi pun we heard Faridah and family are also going... The children were quite excited at the prospect of visiting Universal Studios with Sara, Ozzie and Sabrina. The 3 siblings have already visited Universal Studios a few years back but Sabrina, the youngest was smaller then and couldn't remember or appreciate much of their visit before.... Sabrina the 9-year old girl (or is it 10? ) has already got Surah Al-Waqiah imprinted in her brain. She will recite it speedily and without hesitation. Seronok betul talking to this student of South Valley Islamic School who loves doing 'magic' and even confident enough to perform it in front of a 'mock' audience. Since L.A is a multi-ethnic city, eating 'halal' is no issue. However, we took a liking to a Thai Restaurant named Barn Rau and we frequented it while we were in the city. I think the owner originates from South Thailand because the dishes are very similar to ours...and sedap2 belaka. I didn't get his name but he is a big fan of Allahyarham P.Ramlee.. or at least I think he is, since P.Ramlee's songs berkumandang when we were there. There is an area in the restaurant reserve for anyone to solat and the restaurant owner himself leads his customers in solat jemaah. How 'coool' is that! he..he... With Ozzie leading the way, driving his family's car we cruised through Downtown L.A to places such as Rodeo Drive, Hollywood, Sunset Boulevard, Beverly Hills, Bel-Air, Santa Monica, Malibu .. & hoping to come across famous people's houses and cars. Sara says to watch out for fancy expensive cars with no license plates which would normally belong to a famous person. Nampak quite a few, but the windows were pitched black! Faridah played the part of an impromptu tour guide, most of the time on the cellphone with me! Come to think of it...seronok & kelakar... Everybody was satisfied with the trip: the children visited all the spots in Universal Studio within one and half days, my hubby met his counterparts in L.A and completed his intended task and I got to see Hollywoood......he..he.. Nicki Botswick - my daughter's violin teacher says in one of her text messages - after realising I've forgotten all about her violin lesson and in L.A! - that she's not a fan of actors as a lot of them have been caught in DUIs. So true! One of the shopping place of the rich & famous in L.A is Rodeo Drive. I noticed the chandeliers 'dressing' the lamp posts in the middle of the street. Impressive!!

Some of the famous brands lining Rodeo Drive.....


Maklong said...

I'd say money well and worth spending on trips like these..The experience is priceless and whats more all the loved ones are included the so called experienced..So blessed. Remember that.Yeah..hee jealousnyaa..Tiqah!! Anis!! Ayun!!

zidnee 'ilman said...

hehheheh....tuh la mak long org suro mai x mo...mai2 lekassss!!!!!!