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Daniel Tours America
View of a Hollywood Hills valley from an open house
27th May 2008
LA's richest - Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Marina del Rey

Tuesday was spent being very green.  Green with environmentally-friendly attitudes?  Come off it, this is America, being green gets in the way of my 6 litre hemi V8.  No, green with envy.  I toured LA's richest neighbourhoods staring at the mansions and wondering how anyone could possibly afford them. 

My day was based upon touring the length of Sunset Blvd.  I started in Hollywood Hills, where I actually went round three open houses (house for sale with their doors wide open).  They were quite modest really, only around the $2.5 million mark, yet had been lavishly decorated:  huge bedrooms, baths and showers overlooking the valley, TVs in the bathrooms, kids' playrooms, out-house writing rooms, studies with en-suite....  One owner was apparently a director for some daytime TV shows, as his bathroom was covered in Daytime Emmy Award certificates. My cover story was that I was scouting houses "for my parents to buy"; this hopefully explained the interest of a bum-lookalike in these homes.

Beverly Hills had the most ridiculous houses, mansions, castles (yes, some even had gaudy fake turrets and towers); they were unimaginably large.  Each was done in a different style: art deco, Spanish, Italian, Berber, modern, minimalist.  That in itself was fun to see, as it makes a change from the cookie-cutter of real life.

I walked down Rodeo Drive, which on a weekday was populated only by tourists.  I visited Gucci and discussed how the new 1500 series of watches have evolved from the same line when I worked at Gucci in 2001; and visited Bang & Olufsen, where the bored girl showed me what I asked for:  the finest in high-fidelity.  I had a demo of a pair of $21,000 speakers; the sound was pure bliss (more in the the picture description).

After this I became the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and saw mansions that were almost hidden from the road by their long drives and tight security fences.  After a good hour navigating the rabbit-warren of dead-ends I was rewarded with a great view of Downtown from atop a hill.

Finally I took the Pacific Highway (route 1) to Marina Del Rey, which was a little disappointing.  The map showed a "Fisherman's Wharf" affair, which was really a boat owner's wharf:  not much beyond yacht yards. 

On the way back here I braved the LA traffic in rush hour.  It could have been worse, considering it's supposed to be the worst in the country. 


Just before I hit the sack I bumped into Solenne, the French girl from Phoenix.  A big country, yet a small world.

Next: Sequoia National Park
Previous: Los Angeles: Hollywood; Santa Monica and Venice beaches

Diary Photos

View of a Hollywood Hills valley from an open house

The director`s accolades, Hollywood, CA

$2.5M house, Hollywood, CA

Beverly Hills, CA

Random mansion, Beverly Hills, CA

Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, CA

Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, CA

Roller, Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, CA

$21,000 B&O speakers, Rodeo Drive, CA

Choo and shoe, Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, CA

Downtown LA from Bel Air, CA

Marina del Rey, CA

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