I’ve waited 3 decades to see Hollywood. Every time I’ve visited my family they kept going on and on about how we’d hate it. Vic and I really enjoyed it much like we thought we would, but you have to temper your expectations. We’re big city born and raised people so pretty much nothing phases us. We’re the type of people that pretty much nothing phases us. My Cali family is pretty suburban now even though they are New Yorkers, they moved out there in the late 80s and 90s.

Yeah, there were some homeless but they weren’t aggressive like ones we’ve encountered in San Francisco; it did smell kinda like pee but our train stations and even some train cars can smell a lot worse. But it was so satisfying to finally do something I’ve been wanting to do this for years which probably made it that much more “WOW” for me. (Sigh of relief.) During quarantine, we got really into watching Lucifer on Netflix and it got me in that LA movie mode. Lucifer is hilarious, I wish I had a friend like that, such a heathen. Ha.

To be fair, I did read some reviews about people hating Hollywood so it’s not for everyone. We could have also gotten lucky and visited after the city may have done a sweep (not sure). I wanna go back in full tourist mode. We had the morning and afternoon free because we were going to Universal Halloween Horror Nights. We booked this trip back in March 2022 and Jetblue kept cancelling our flights. Our original flight was supposed to leave at 9 am from JFK, we ended up catching the only flight out of NY at 4:45pm. As much as I was peeved about loosing a day, it was relaxing. I got to vacuum in the morning, cuddle my cats, try a new local restaurant by our new apartment, and wake up at a normal time.

I finally got to see the Chinese theater! When I was little my Dad was really into New Age stuff so we read all the Linda Goodman books. She spoke about the Roosevelt Hotel and the Chinese Theater a lot. Plus, Hollywood is known for it. Next time, I’d like to see a movie there and pretend I’m sitting with all the old timey movie stars.

The Graumann’s Chinese Theater is located at 6925 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, along the Walk of Fame. We took a short little tour (15 minutes) of the theater. It was built because of the success of the Egyptian Theater across the street. Completed in January 1926 after 18 months of construction.

Sidney Patrick Grauman, March 17, 1879 – March 5, 1950, was the guy behind two of Hollywood’s landmarks: The Chinese and Egyptian theaters. If you’re in the area and like architecture, they’re worth checking out. We didn’t visit the Egyptian theater.

There’s a few stories about how the foot and hand prints outside the theater came about. The theater’s version is – Norma Talmadge inspired the idea when she accidently stepped in wet concrete. An interview in 1937, Grauman said he got the idea to place hands and feet in it. Here’s a couple fun facts: Mel Brooks had a 6th finger made so he can be the only person with 6 fingers imprinted. Ha. I love him. Marilyn Monroe imprinted her diamond earring in the “i” of Marilyn.

The room before the bathrooms.

Our guide told us how tourists from mainland China say the theater isn’t remotely Chinese. Then she went on to say it’s American Chinese. That made me smile because that makes me kind of think of it in terms of my Dad’s family, America town Chinese, we don’t follow any Chinese traditions. Like my generation in my family doesn’t even give out red envelopes for Lunar New Year, I just remembered my Dad didn’t hand out red envelopes for New Year’s either. We do like to go for dim sum and see some kind of lion dance if possible wherever we live. It’s hard to explain, there’s a big difference between 1st and 2nd generation Chinese Americans than being 5th generation or specifically my Dad’s family. Like Vic and I were raised very differently. Even though I grew up in Chinatown, I wasn’t Chinese enough and/or didn’t look Chinese enough so I didn’t have many friends. Same for my Dad and his siblings. They are 1/4 white so the Chinese didn’t socialize with them and same for their Dad. In the 1940s, there weren’t many Chinese in America due to the Chinese Exclusion Act (like maybe 500 Chinese in NYC Chinatown, it was very small). Most their friends were Italian and they had an Italian babysitter so I’m better versed in Italian culture (my grandparents were out dancing!). My paternal family and paternal extended family has been intermarrying since the early 1900s as well so it’s just different for us, our customs changed a lot. They always emphasized that we were our own thing. It’s fun going with my Dad’s family to eat in a restaurant in Chinatown, they never know what to make of us so it’s funny. Every time I hang out with my Dad’s family reminds me how fun they can be. I haven’t really spent time with them until my dad died in 2018 so I try to visit every year or every other.

Being New Yorkers, Vic had to get a slice. $8 for a large slice of pizza. No, it doesn’t taste like NY pizza. Not remotely but we’re an arrogant breed when it comes to pizza.

I’d like to stay at the Hotel Roosevelt because it has so much history and so many haunted tales but that will probably never happen. It’s so expensive! But we can appreciate it from the outside.

Oy, the only pic I took of the Roosevelt. We used our cell phones this entire trip, it was nice not carrying camera gear.

We also visited the Hollywood Museum which we enjoyed. It has memorabilia of movies, old and new. Our visit lasted about 2 hours. The museum opened to the public in 2003. We actually love all that touristy stuff. It’s fun. My cousin was trying to talk us out of this this. They just hate LA. If it wasn’t so spread out and walkable, I have a feeling I could get into LA as a city. It’s large, has a lot of museums, and diverse. But I hate the heat and don’t want to learn to drive so it’d never be a place I could live. Speaking of heat, the end of September had a bit of heat wave. It was 90s and slightly humid! I left my cold NY weather for a heatwave 😦 but at least I wasn’t at home, ha (covid lockdown memories).

We’ve gotten more comfy travelling. Vic has to go in the office 3 days a week and we live in a very population dense environment. There’s no way to avoid people so I just had to get my ass back out there. I never want to live like that again, it packed a giant punch mentally. Do what’s best for you and stay safe. One thing we do is plan our vacations around our vaccines. Each time we flew, we got vaccinated two weeks to a month before our trips. In no way is what we do fool proof, everything is a risk. We’ve gone to Vancouver Island/Seattle, Lisbon, Alexandria (VA), Hudson (NY), and CA – I have a lot of writing to catch up on. I’ve been so off the last couple years, I feel like half my posts would have been whining if I wrote about our trips as we traveled. I needed to see my Dad’s family apparently, after this trip I felt like I need to try hard for me to let go of grudges. Vic’s family has caught covid a few times, they have school kids. My mom has as well. All are ok. My mom had a rough go of it, took her 2 months to heal. Some of the folks we know who caught covid still have some effects from catching it, like that deep chested dry cough. So far we’ve been really lucky but being so population dense, we do feel like our time will eventually come.

4/23/2023 – And our time did come for covid… Hi! Hope you’re all ok. We’re both recovered from covid in Feb (I wrote this post a long time ago). We didn’t get it traveling, we got it locally. We both had a really mild case. We’re actually surprised we haven’t gotten covid sooner since NYC is very population dense. In our circle, we’re some of the last to get it; tiny handful of covid virgins left. Stay well and take care 🙂


11 thoughts on “Hollywood

  1. It is good to hear from you, and learn a little more about your families, Andrea. It was interesting to see a little of L.A. through your photos. It has been a long, long time since Rick and I were there, and we were working a wine event and did not get to see much of it.

    We are vaccinated and boostered, and so far we have avoided covid here, we think. I did have a heart attack last year. 2022 evaporated very quickly recovering from that.

    1. Oh no! Wishing you a speedy recovery. Hugs. Rest up, hope you’ll be out and about again.

      We tend to have good luck traveling. Like weather either tends to be warmer or drier than usual. LA was unusually hot and a bit humid when we visited so we think that could have lead to less shenanigans when we were there too.

      Take Care!

  2. Hi Andrea & Vic,
    So good to see you back and that the pandemic hasn’t put a complete stop to your travelling. It’s becoming a badge of honour now to have had covid and come through it ok… though my heart goes out to so many people who survived it but with long-term complications. My brush with the dreaded virus was last April… in between travels to Venice and Mallorca.
    I’m intrigued by your Hollywood post but still have no desire to visit LA. San Francisco I love, but nothing about LA has ever got passed my overall dislike for all things celebrity! I always think of Neil Simon’s quote… when its 104 degrees in NY it’s 78 in LA; when it’s 30 degrees in NY it’s 78 in LA; there are 4 million interesting people in NY and 78 in LA!!
    However, I still really enjoyed reading your experiences of the place, and also your family experiences of Chinese communities were eye-opening. Here’s to a small community of open-minded world-wide travellers.
    Best wishes.

    1. Hi! Glad you are ok. Covid is so weird. I was barely sick and it took me 2 months to get full energy back. Vic was fine right after. It affects all of us so different. Long covid is scary. I try not to think about it.

      I fell into a bad funk. Doing much better now. If I wrote post last year it’d be all whining. We also moved and have 2 computers now so I never remember to ask Vic to edit my posts. Was easier when we shared a computer.

      I know this sounds bad but we wouldn’t go to CA if it wasn’t for my family. It’s expensive and you have to drive. There’s a lot of other places we’d rather see. I don’t tell them that. ha.

      One day, not sure when we may go to Alabama. Our friend has a house there and she really wants to show us around. I’m excited and nervous. All I can think of is the food! I remember you really like eating in the southern states.

      Take Care and happy traveling!

      1. It’s specifically New Orleans for me. I was back there again four weeks ago. The first time since I was there in October 2019 but it was so good sampling such a range of fabulous food!

  3. Nice to see you back blogging! I always like your photos of the places you visit.

    Back in the 70s and 80s Hollywood Boulevard was notorious for being a place where junkies, drug dealers, and sex workers hung out. It wasn’t a good place to bring kids for sightseeing, though I remember going there as an adult in the early 80s and feeling a little creeped out. While I was looking for a punk club at night (and probably had the very lost tourist look), an extremely tall woman ran into me, hard. When I turned to say something to her, I realized it was a guy dressed in drag. A friend told me later that it was a good thing I didn’t make any “stupid comments,” because a lot of people on the street carried razors or knives.

    In contrast, my daughters visited Hollywood Boulevard in the early aughts and thought it was fun. Overly touristy and kind of trashy, but they were kids from the Midwest and were there just for the day.

    I went without a mask for two weeks in Vancouver because virtually no one, including Chinese seniors, was wearing one. (Some retail staff wore masks but I can’t blame them, they have to come home to their families at the end of the day.) I’ve been waiting for the Covid hammer to come down since I got home, but nothing so far. Knocking on wood and hoping that Covid has a season now, like flus and colds. Take care!

    1. Woohoo, fingers crossed you stay covid free! Maybe you’re one of those people that have super immune systems! We only mask on trains, cabs, planes, sometimes in a museum, and during theater shows that are packed. We aren’t that careful anymore. Don’t know what happened. After we caught it, we kinda got lazy. But if we see high risk people we take precautions.

      Old 80s Hollywood sounds like Times Sq.

      Looks like you had fun w the kids in Vancouver 🙂 So happy you got away in nicer weather. Maybe it rained but it wasn’t bad winter weather and it wasn’t a heat wave. We love it there, the air smells so clean to us up there. We love that airport too. ha.

  4. I’ve been through LA a few times, but haven’t been to Hollywood, or much else tourist wise. I never got around to writing up the last trip a few years ago.

    Interesting generational dynamics. I didn’t really know my parent’s or grandparent’s generations well so it’s hard to say what they thought. Culturally, my Dad was a Texan and my Mom a Yankee, so I suppose those histories might have led to conflicts if I had to try to satisfy both.

    That Covid roulette is tough. I’d played a winning game until just recently – but came down with it after returning from our recent trip to Europe. The annoying thing is, we were among the few that wore masks on the plane. It wasn’t too bad, but I’m still not sure if my ears are ready for scuba.

    So now that you’re getting back into the groove, what’s next?

    1. Oh no! Glad you and your wife are ok!!! Vic and I are like the 1% on the trains that still wear masks. They say if others don’t wear them it’s less effective. But i catch less colds on planes now:) I admit, we aren’t as careful anymore. We still wear them on the plane, trains, cabs but we’ve stopped in stores. Sometimes we wear them in museums. If we’re going to hang around people that are high risk we go back to masking often and go out less.

      MY FL cousins, their parents – mom was from MI and Dad from NJ. The kids are southern now. I used to love visiting them. They had a ton of animals so to me it was better than the zoo. I had all these fish, cats, horses, turtles, bunnies to hang around when I was little. Not as many animals now but one of them is into cat rescue.

      When I think of where my Dad’s family is from all I can think of is Chicago and Milwaukee. I still have to go there and visit!

      We’re off to St Martín and Argentina this year. My Spanish is kind of useless from Duolingo but I’m starting to recognize sentences in the street. A couple weeks ago, a guy was on the phone and said, “Quiero conprar zapatistos.” I want to buy baby shoes! Woohoo, I am learning something. ha, just can’t quite figure out what to do in the Mexican bakery yet. I go to the bakery to try and order in Spanish and get shy and order in English 😦

      Happy Travels!

  5. I enjoyed reading this so much, it reminds me of my first trip to LA as an adult, and I had mixed feelings going there as a tourist… but we had a blast, and I think to do it correctly, you need to be in full tourist mode, it adds to it 🙂 Interestingly, you mentioned that you are “big city born and raised” so pretty much nothing phases you both… I am much that way, but when traveling with my old friends from back home, they really can be shocked by what they see (and smell…). Wishing you both a wonderful spring and many more happy trails ahead.

    1. You’re right. Something happened recently while I was with another native NYer and it phased her. So I need to go back and rephrase it. It’s more of a person thing – those that get bothered by things and those that don’t. CA is so expensive, it’s not our favorite place to go and we don’t drive so it’s a pain. We go to visit my family. It kills me though because a week in a hotel in CA is more expensive than a week in Eastern Europe! I’d rather see Europe! Happy Spring!

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