The roads, especially the freeways. They were built in the 50s and intended to be used in case there was a need to evacuate the population in the event of a nuclear war. When I found this little know ( to me ) fact, it occurred to me when being driven down one of these roads: “ Why did they build them both ways then?” It also illustrated the paranoia around the 50s about the likelihood of such an event. If they intended to evacuate everyone, where to? All very odd.
The photograph above from the Runyon Canyon summit was taken yesterday evening. The weather: standard blue skies and pleasantly warm. The situation: Runyon Canyon area is a large hill open to hikers, the other large area being Griffith Park, not far away. Runyon is very easy to get to, so everyone and his brother goes there. Griffith Park is bigger and seems to take a fair volume of people too. In that stretch before you in the picture is just a small area of LA. So, both places get busy. There are no parks like Hyde Park, or Regents Park, of any real size. Small play parks, well equipped but any other green space may well be an exclusive golf course.
Travel, is of course, generally by car. Buses do exist, but most people use their cars. Trains? Rarely mentioned as a viable transport option, and then only for long distance when you have hours to spare. Walking anywhere but a park or shopping mall is generally thought of as quirky bordering on the barmy. Cycling is probably best done on an exercise bike staring at a woman with rippling thighs who tells you to go for the ‘burn’, you really would be deranged to go out on the streets on a bike here, I’ve hardly seen one. Scooters do abound in trendy areas, like Venice, but they are said to be exceedingly dangerous, as the cars and pick ups are so big, one tap from one of them and you’d be looking for the insurance papers to pay the medical bills.
I suspect that paramedics search first for the insurance card and then a pulse.
It’s not just the freeways that are big. Something as simple as an onion at standard size is the size of a small football. Food over here is big and in general excellent quality. Portions are generally very large too.
This was written a few days ago now, and I believe the temperature out there has dropped. There’s one more to go before the end of my “What I did on my holidays” missive.
I’d recommend anyone going out there to take the opportunity, well worth it.