In our beat up little mechanics replacement car we were driving while Esmeralda was having her fan problem checked (yes, visit number four to the mechanic), we hit the roads of LA.
We started at Rodeo Drive. A stop at Wholefoods got us some lunch which we picnicked on at Via Rodeo, surrounded by posh shops and lampposts with cascading flower baskets and tourists. Rodeo Drive is a bit over-rated as a tourist destination, but it makes for an interesting little wander or drive if you want to pretend to re-enact Pretty Woman. The distinction between tourist destination and shopping destination is pretty hazy. Judging from the foot traffic, I’d say it attracts more tourists than shoppers, but that would hardly pay the rent on these massive flagship luxury brand stores. Getting out of Beverly Hills I heard the most number of car horns tooting than I’ve heard across the rest of LA. People must be so much more uptight, impatient and aggro here. A little further down the road is the craziest intersection I’ve had the pleasure of not crashing at. At the junction of N Beverly Drive, N Canon Drive and Lomitas Avenue it is a 6 way stop. This is an upgrade of the traditional 4 way stop (for which us Aussies would have a roundabout) where you all have to stop and then the person who got there first goes first, or otherwise the direction with the most traffic goes. It requires driver to driver communication, which always works better the lighter the tinting of the car. It also means you have to understand when it’s your go. At a 6 way stop there seems to be no real rules. You creep, creep out from the stop line painted on the road until you have claimed your turn and then you go for it. Miraculously there were no Mercedes Benz, BMW and Lexus pile ups. This is the second time I’ve driven through this intersection and the second time it has freaked me out. We drove up Beverly Glen Boulevard to the ridgetop Mulholland Drive. Made famous by famous people living there and the magnificent views of both Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley, this highway is named after William Mulholland who was head of the LA Department of Water and Power and was responsible for building much of the infrastructure that supplies LA with water. While Mulholland Drive and Mulholland Highway stretches all the way from the Hollywood 101 freeway to Malibu, we drove only a short way, but appreciated the views from pull-ins and the winding road. At the last point of our drive, we stopped at an outlook that offered amazing views of downtown, the Hollywood Bowl and the Hollywood sign. Unfortunately this is also a stop on those bus tours and it got pretty clogged with them at about 5pm, so clogged we had to wait in the car to leave because one was blocking my exit from my park in a designated car space. I’d love to drive the whole section, but I think I will have to do it in small chunks because the windy road made me feel slightly carsick. Tips for driving Mulholland Drive:
- Pull over if you start to hold up traffic
- Stop at the designated points to admire the views
- Give yourself plenty of time as the going can be slow