USA Pt V: In Search of Hollywood

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What’s a visit to Los Angeles without taking photos of the Hollywood sign?

Built in the 1920s, it is easily the symbol of in the greater LA area. There are several ways to view the sign; we hoped to see it up-close from behind via Hollyridge Trail.

After our less-than-VIP experience at Warner Brothers Studio, we decided to head to the start of Hollyridge Trail. While it wasn’t too far from Burbank, we had to use the small and windy residential roads to get there.

Heading into the hill

Despite a few wrong turns, we managed to reach our intended destination. However, to our disappointment, there was a sign at the end of North Beechwood Drive indicating that the trail was closed. Had to fall back to Plan B: a good view point of the sign.

After consulting our friend Google, we found out that a good place to view the sign was at Lake Hollywood Park. It wasn’t too far according to the map but the road was narrow and winding and vehicles were parked by the side. Some parts were so narrow that I doubted that I would be able to maneuver through them if I wasn’t driving a Toyota Yaris.

The instructions given on the website was pretty good and we found the viewpoint without much trouble.

Lake Hollywood Park

Many people walking their dogs on a Friday morning

Not surprisingly, many tourists also had the same idea as us.

Like-minded tourists



The view of Los Angeles from there wasn’t bad as well.

Los Angeles in the background; Hollywood Reservoir in the foreground

Smoking prohibited

After getting the necessary photographs, we were back on our way, this time to another LA landmark: Hollywood Boulevard. We were lucky to find a parking lot just a block away from all the action.

Hollywood Boulevard

We had to decline many offers to join the tours who would be starting “in a few minutes”.

Chinese Theater

I didn’t quite get the ad

Hollywood Boulevard’s sidewalk doubled up as Hollywood Walk of Fame. We definitely recognized more than a few names.

Hollywood Hall of Fame

Javier Bardem – couldn’t forget his performance in No Country for Old Men

Disneyland is honored too

Patrick’s excited to find Tom

Patrick gets his own star

Like any good tourist attractions, there are many souvenir shops on Hollywood Boulevard. Ying found something which described herself perfectly.

Girlfriend of the Year

Feeling a little peckish, we decided to pop into Ghirardelli. Each customer who walked into the shop was given a Ghiradelli Square as free sample.


Ghirardelli dining area

We got a sundae (USD 5.72) to share between the two of us. Service was pretty good with the staff pro-actively offering cups of water to customers

Sundae – too sweet

After our dessert, we crossed over to the side of the boulevard where the Chinese Theater is.

Luckily the doors didn’t open

There was definitely more action there; almost every character of note could be found to take photos with for a fee.

Marilyn Monroe

Jack Sparrows


Bane and Batman

It was quite obvious that I was a first-time tourist and I fall for one of the hustlers’ trick. Many guys were offering their music CDs for free to passers-by and I naively took one from one of them. He was friendly at first and asked for my name. He then signed the CD and asked for ten bucks. I returned it to him with a smile and luckily he wasn’t persistent. Note to self: never accept things from strangers!

Outside the Chinese Theater there are handprints, footprints or autographs of Hollywood celebrities. However, I didn’t know most of them.

In honor of GI Joe

Finally someone I knew

After around 45 minutes there, both of us agreed that we should get out. Hollywood Boulevard felt like one big tourist circus and the touting and hustling were getting annoying. I was glad that I visited Hollywood Boulevard but honestly I would probably not visit it again.


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