The last time I visited Los Angeles was when I was eight with a Hong Kong tour group. Like typical tour groups we went to Disneyland, Universal Studios, and Hollywood Boulevard. The trip was a blur, and I don't remember much from it.
During our five-day trip, Jennifer and I were determined to cover our bases and see different sides of Los Angeles. Koreatown. Santa Monica. KCON LA. Chinatown. The Broad. El Pueblo. Griffith Observatory. The Last Bookstore. These were just some of the places that we visited. We stayed in the center of Koreatown and ate tons of Korean barbecue, knife cut noodles (kalguksu), and dumplings (mandu). In all, the trip allowed me to see another sprawling city- this time, on the west coast.
During this trip, I have been very surprised to see the contrasting differences between Atlanta and Los Angeles, even though both cities suffer from sprawl and heavy congested traffic. Summer nights in Los Angeles are chilly unlike Atlanta, where humidity still hits you like a wall at night. The public transit system in LA is old, but still much more sophisticated than Atlanta's MARTA, where it gets you to your destination the next day (not really, but pretty close). Socioeconomic segregation is extremely apparent, and homelessness in Santa Monica and downtown Los Angeles is impossible to ignore. In my Geography of Urbanization course last fall, I read about Los Angeles as the city with two downtowns, one separated for the elite and privileged and another for other working class residents. Shopping districts and businesses in wealthier and tourist areas have heavy security to prevent homelessness in the area ,and shopping centers seem to be designed as enclosed communities, liked Hollywood & Highland for example. Other neighborhoods, such as Koreatown, is in the midst of gentrification, where worn single-family homes are located next to up-and-coming modern condos and lofts.
While Atlanta is not immune to gentrification (see Little Five Points and effects of the Atlanta Beltline), I have not seen the level of socioeconomic self-segregation like in LA before. As described by Jennifer, the entire city of Atlanta is sprawled, filled with rows and rows of strip malls, and the closest type of divide between the wealthy and the poor/homeless that I can think of is the divide between the wealthy Midtown Atlanta and working class Downtown Atlanta.
On a lighter note, Jennifer and I decided to stock pile nice photos of ourselves since we weren't going to be together until the end of my semester in Seoul, so off we went to take photos with my vlogging camera (Sony alpha a5000). Below are some shots that Jennifer and I took of each other and ourselves at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and the Urban Light art installation as well as the Griffith Observatory.
We visited the Griffith Observatory a day before the eclipse, which may have caused the ridiculous influx of cars. In the end, we decided to abandon our Lyft and walked up to the observatory (about a half-mile walk uphill). Turns out, our Stone Mountain hike prepped us well for the walk, because Jennifer and I were at the top before we knew it!
At the Griffith Observatory, we had the opportunity to view Saturn through a telescope when we arrived. Through the telescope, I was able to see Saturn with its rings and its largest moon, which was pretty awesome. Personally, I've never been super interested in astronomy but having an opportunity like that made the trip a pretty cool experience.
In my next post, I will write about my experience going to KCON LA and meeting people who I usually see online in-person!
college student. junior. international studies major. over-the-top foodie. travel and lifestyle student blogger?
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