In my mind Los Angeles is divided into two sections:
The Freeway cuts through a vast field of behemoth skyscrapers known as Downtown which, as far as I know, nobody ever goes to, but just looks out the window at on their way from The Beach Part to The Hollywood Part and back again. Though I could be wrong about this.
Oh, and there's also a part of Los Angeles called The Valley, but I'm not sure where or what that is.
But anyway, as Maria, Justin and the kids live in the Beach Part, we seldom traverse The Freeway to The Hollywood Part during our Los Angeles visits
However as Tom, Tommy, and I were on our own Last Monday I suggested that we venture across The Freeway and hike up into the Hollywood Hills to the Hollywood sign, something Tommy had never done and that Tom and I hadn't done in years, not since Maria and Justin lived in The Hollywood Part.
We all agreed that a hike to the Hollywood sign would be the very thing.
But we got a late start, it was close to 10:30 by the time we left, and though Tom drove and negotiated the high-speed bumper-to-bumper Freeway traffic with impressive proficiency, it was about 11:45 before we reached the Hollywood hills.
Now, as I recalled from previous excursions years ago, to reach the hiking trail one was required to drive uphill through a steep but lovely winding neighborhood of beautiful homes, at the top of which was the Sunset Ranch,
I guess we should have taken a clue, though, from the crowds of people who were walking through the uphill neighborhood, the streets of which were now lined with parked cars, and from the fact that we were the only ones driving.
When we arrived at the top of the street we were greeted by a gate closing off the Sunset Ranch and a no-nonsense police officer who told us in no uncertain terms that there was no parking beyond that point.
Which explained why everyone was hiking the long trek through the street up to the trail, having apparently parked in the neighborhood below.
My daughter later explained to me that there was some dust-up going on around the Hollywood sign, the residents were sick of tourists driving up their street to get to the hiking trail and so the trail was closed to parking. To which I replied that I wondered how well the residents now liked all the parked cars and walking people crowding their street.
But anyway, we subsequently had to make our way back down the hill to look for a parking spot either along this street, or, more likely, some other street farther away.
As it was by now close to noon I suggested that we put our hiking plans on hold and grab some lunch at the cafe at the bottom of the hill street.
As we were strangers in a strange residential upscale Hollywood Hills neighborhood, I suggested that we pull out the map and find our way to Hollywood Boulevard, the heart of the tourist trade in these parts, where we'd surely find some nourishment and some parking, and which we proceeded to do.
And we'd promised to have the car back to Maria by 4 pm, as she needed it to get to a work appointment.
And so, seeing as a hike up to the Hollywood sign was not in the cards, we folded and instead joined the crowds hiking up and down Hollywood Boulevard,