Or maybe a better title is: “Thank You Butterfly Effect: High Temperatures in Egypt Lead to Aspiring Actress Visiting Los Angeles.” Anyway, here I will describe the first time I put foot in the City of Angels. With photo’s!
Ever since I was a little girl I wanted to go to the Unites States of America. I was mystified by it. It was everything you saw in the movies, everything you saw on TV, in the magazines, on the billboards. Everything that wasn’t there in the middle-of-nowhere-village I grew up in. And I don’t mean the I-am-from-Denver middle of nowhere. I mean the literal one. You see, the village I grew up in lies next to a village called “Lutjebroek” (pronounce: Luh-chuh-brook) which is the word people in Holland use to indicate the middle of nowhere. Lots of Dutch people even think the village doesn’t exist. But it does, and I lived right next to it. Anyway, so America looked like the classic land of dreams to me and I wanted to go there really bad. And so many a this-way-i-can-get-to-LA plan came and went, until I finally landed in the promised land, where my dreams would either high five, shake hands or get kicked in the ass by reality…
The plans that didn’t involve Steven Spielberg busting into me or trying to motivate my parents towards emigration started coming somewhere around the wise age of 13. There was Plan A: doing a high school year in the US, which failed because a lack of $$. Then there was Plan B: being an au-pair in the US, which failed because of lack of babysitting skills. Then there was Plan C: going to university in the US. This plan actually might have succeeded if I just thought of it a little earlier then two months before graduating from high school. But then all of a sudden high temperatures in Egypt made all further plans unnecessary! Huh? Yup! It was the holiday period of the year I would turn 18 and my dad would turn 50, so my parents wanted to something different than camping in France. A cruise in Egypt was going the be that something different, and my sister and I were very excited since both of us hadn’t been outside of Europe yet. One day I come home and my parents and sister (very aware of my US obsession) are all seated, waiting to tell me something: Unfortunately the temperatures in Egypt were so high that the cruise had been cancelled. So they arranged something else…. A road trip through California and Nevada! I don’t want to sound like an America’s Next Topmodel contestant but I definitely cried out of happiness that moment. They had arranged it all secretly and I was completely surprised. It was like dream coming true.
The road trip took 3 weeks and started in Las Vegas. From there we drove to San Francisco and then via a famous coast route to Los Angeles, ending with a city trip to New York where I would have my 18th birthday. I could go into detail about how great it all was and how I was impressed by the variety of nature in America but this is a blog about acting, so I’ll skip right to the LA part. Or, well..let’s start couple of miles above LA.
While we were nearing Los Angeles, I was starting to get a little nervous. It felt like I was going to an Open Day for a life that I had dreamt about for a long time, and I was anxious about if I would fit in and if it would be all that it was made out to be. From the window of our rental car I was beginning to see the famous beaches and expensive cars driving past us. I checked every car to see if there was a famous person in it. It was all a bit weird. I saw people walking and driving their cars and just living there. And I was dying to know what that was like. But we were in LA only three days and I never found out about that during those days. We were tourists and we did the touristy things: The Walk of Fame, the Hollywood sign, Universal Studio’s…
And from a tourist perspective LA was kind of disappointing. Hollywood looked like a dodgy neighborhood and didn’t seem to have any glamour. Universal Studio’s didn’t have a lot of attractions, the Hollywood sign could be seen from many places but never from nearby and the walk of fame looked like an uninteresting shopping street with some cheap stores and touristy attractions where only the stars on the street were worth watching. Little did I know about the great times I would have here the following years: in the Kodak Theatre, the Roosevelt Hotel and the awesome vintage stores, all on the Walk of Fame. But none of those things are very visible for tourists.
Luckily we forced the dad to drive us through Rodeo drive. And that’s were I got the first glimpse of the area that is everything you expect from LA and more. However, for the three days we visited LA on our road trip, it was all a bit forgettable. Certainly compared to the impressive nature we saw and cities like San Francisco.
So did reality kick my dream’s ass then? Nuh uh, they didn’t really meet during this trip. Maybe they waved from afar or gave a formal handshake. But the moral of this story was: when you go to LA, don’t do (just) the touristy things. So what to do then? Well, my word count is nearing four numbers so I’m going to have to postpone that to the next post where I’ll write about the second time I went to LA, this time all by myself. And let me tell you, that time reality hugged my dream reaally tight!
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