Thursday, September 14, 2006

Los Angeles I'm Yours

Classes haven't started yet, but my job on campus has, so I've been heading over to UCLA a few times a week.

Readers of my blog, and people who know me, know that I am not fond of driving. I have been taking the bus from near my home in "Wilshire Vista" to UCLA, a direct shot northwest on San Vicente to Sunset to UCLA. Depending on traffic, this takes 1/2 hour to one hour. It seems long, but then I remind myself that it's no different from taking the T from JP to Harvard Sq. Yes, I still have to put everything in Boston or New York contexts in order to process them.

Anyway, the bus is very interesting. I'm pretty much the only white person on the bus to UCLA. The bus route goes through Beverly Hills, and it's pretty much all people of color going there to work. Class and race are really front and center in LA!!

After passing over Wilshire Blvd., I soon view Cedars Sinai hospital, and the famous view of the Max Factor building that you see in tv shows and movies.

The bus takes a left turn on the Sunset Strip at the famed Whiskey a Go Go. A string of other clubs follows until a few blocks later the Strip suddenly ends and Beverly Hills begins. (cue 90210 theme song here) BH is marked by high walls and even higher privet hedges, wide winding roads, and McMansions under construction. Here all the stereotypes are blatantly evident: crews of Latino workers working on lawns and blowing leaves and signs advertising Star Maps. I spotted the sign marking the entrance to Bel Air, which actually features a gate. Forget gated communities, Bel Air advertises itself as a gated city!

At this point the bus takes another left onto Hilgard, and winds it's way past the eastern border of UCLA and into Westwood village. The shops in Westwood Village are pretty generic college fare, though there are some beautiful old movie houses such as the Fox Village Theatre (built in 1931) and the Bruin Theatre (1937). There are also some good places to eat such as Native Foods and Jerry's Famous Deli.

I get off the bus at UCLA's Ackerman Terminal.

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