The title of this post may sound like a line from a bad spy film, but it is actually a fact. While wandering up and down Hollywood Blvd, I found Marilyn Monroe and Ginger Rogers Walk of Fame stars outside the local McDonald’s. Out of everything I saw on that long stretch of La La Land, this detail summed up Hollywood for me.

The Walk of Fame.

When I emerged from the metro station and out into Hollywood, they were filming something. There was a massive crowd and they were going a bit wild but I had no idea who the person being filmed was! And so I walked on and I was amazed by what I saw. Hollywood Blvd is all about the contrasts…Mann’s Chinese Theatre, sex shops, Kodak Theatre, tattoo parlours, Walk of Fame, McDonald’s. It’s a lot to take in!

The slightly less glamorous side of Hollywood.

I had never seen so many tacky souvenir shops in one place before and most of them were spectacularly tasteless. I had a choice of sexist slogans on T-shirts, mugs in the shape of a pair of boobs (complete with tan lines) or magnets shaped like bums in thongs to name a few items. The winner of the “Most Tasteless Oscar” has to go to a t-shirt I saw that was in the style of the Obama campaign…except instead of Obama it has Osama Bin Laden, and instead of “Hope” it said “Dead”. I stood staring at it for a while because I couldn’t believe how bad it was. Another great thing about these shops was the staff. They were the most unfriendly staff I had ever come across. They didn’t even tell me how much my purchase was, they just stood there looking exasperated, waiting for me to hand over some cash. They rolled their eyes when I gave them a large bill and they rolled their eyes when I had the exact change. I always smiled and thanked them in my sweetest voice.

One of the many tacky emporiums...excellent free entertainment!

I loved coming home and being able to show people all these photos of rough looking shops and buildings and telling them that the photo was taken in Hollywood! I was also very excited to see all the famous landmarks too. My stomach was doing somersaults the nearer I got to the vantage point to see the Hollywood sign. The best place to see it from the boulevard is from the Highland Mall. There is a lovely courtyard out the back with an Egyptian theme and a massive stone structure where you can see the sign. I was surprised at how far away it was. It looked smaller than I expected but it was a thrill to see it. The most famous sign in the world!As I walked along Hollywood Blvd, I saw a lot of people lying on the ground having their photos taken “next” to their favourite stars. Another regular sight were the characters hanging around outside places like the Kodak Theatre and Mann’s Chinese Theatre…there’s someone for everyone along the boulevard: Marilyn, Elvis, Spiderman, Spongebob, Batman, and even Hello Kitty. Hollywood becomes a friendly place when you walk past these playful characters and critters; they all wave at you and are normally hugging someone. The idea of them (for anyone who is clueless!) is that you can have your photo taken with a famous movie character by paying a tip and they can scrape a living in the in City of Angels.

Next – More of Hollywood and the less famous sights of Los Angeles.