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Los Angeles


U.S.A. facts & history in brief        U.S.A. Map

Los Angeles is a city on the southern west Pacific coast of the United States of southern California.
It's the second largest city in the USA, and one of the largest built-up areas in the world.
Metropolitan Los Angeles takes in a wide range of geographical features, including a subtropical desert, 122 km (76 miles) of sea coast, a pair of offshore islands and peaks that exceed 3000m (10,000 ft) in elevation.
The San Andreas Fault, one of the world's major fault zones comes within 56 km (33 miles) of downtown Los Angeles and the many minor faults that run off it have been responsible for five serious quakes this century and dozens of imperceptible quakes every week.
The 1200 sq. km (465 sq. miles) Metropolitan Los Angeles comprises more than 80 incorporated cities, like Santa Monica, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, San Fernando Valley and Venice to mention only a few.
LA is a tangle of freeways and sprawling suburbs.
The Gabrieleño and Chumash Indians settled in Los Angeles' desert area between 5000 and 6000 BC.
In 1542 a Portuguese sailor Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, was the first European to visit the Los Angeles basin.
In 1769, Don Gaspar de Portola, the Spanish governor of California and Junipero Serra, a Franciscan father led an expedition north from San Diego, to build missions and Christianise California's 'heathen' natives.
They set up 21 California missions along the El Camino Real (The King's Highway), two of them in today's Greater Los Angeles area, the Mission San Gabriel Archangel in 1771 and the Mission San Fernando Rey de España in 1797.
In 1781, the missionaries chose 44 settlers from San Gabriel to establish a new town on the banks of a stream about 15 km (9 miles) southwest of the mission.
The settlement was known as 'El Pueblo de Nuestro Señora la Reina de los Angeles del Río Porciúncula (The Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels of the Porciuncula River) after a saint whose feast day had just been celebrated.
Los Angeles, as the pueblo became known, developed into a thriving farming community.
After the independence in 1821, many Mexicans moved to California looking for free land grants.
In 1848, as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the United States paid $15 million for all Mexican territories west of the Rio Grande and north of Arizona's Gila River, including Alta California.
In 1850 California was admitted as the 31st state of the union.
In 1842, gold was found near the San Fernando mission that led to one of the greatest gold rushes in history.
By the middle of the 1850s California's gold rush was over and the state fell into a depression.
In 1876 the railways reached Los Angeles, to service the budding orange-growing industry in southern California.
In 1899, the construction of a harbour began at San Pedro, 40 km (25 miles) south of city and the first wharf opened in 1914, the year the Panama Canal was completed and San Pedro became the busiest harbour on the West Coast.
In 1913 an aqueduct was finished to carry Owens River snowmelt water was spilling into the San Fernando Valley at a rate of 120 million litres (26 million gallons) per day.
The rest of the city's water, and Southern California's electricity, comes from dams on the Colorado River, 320 km (200 miles) east.
Oil discovery boosted the population to one million in 1920, two by 1930.
During WWI, the Lockheed brothers and Donald Douglas established aerospace plants in the area, and by WWII the aviation industry employed enough people to lift Los Angeles out of the Depression.
From the beginning of the twentieth centuries movie studios set up businesses in Los Angeles because of its more than average sunshine hours and favourable desert climate, most of Los Angeles is protected from extremes of temperature and humidity by the mountain ranges to its north and east.
August and September are the hottest months, January and February the coolest and wettest.
'The industry' helped to lure new breeds of immigrants the city, the eccentric artisan and the fashionable hedonist tempted by the Hollywood lifestyle.
In 1965, the nation's worst-ever race riots shook the city an the nation and subsequent riots in 1979 and 1992; the later, a direct result of the notorious Rodney King beatings, cost 51 lives and $1 billion in property damage.
Though a surprising number of earthquakes, wildfires, floods and mud slides have plagued Los Angeles in the last decade, they've brought out the best in Angelenos.
It has become a major commercial, industrial and urban complex in the 1900s.
Major industries include aircraft, oil refining, and entertainment (film and TV).
It is also a cultural and tourist centre.
Some of Los Angeles' many attractions are:

The Downtown with the Civic Centre, that extends eight blocks east to west and America's largest complex of government buildings after Washington, DC - It contains the most important of Los Angeles's city, county, state and federal office buildings, including the Criminal Courts Building.
Olvera Street, a narrow, block-long passageway that was restored as an open-air Mexican marketplace in 1930s.
The Union Station, built in Arab-Moorish style.
The nearby Chinatown comprising 16 square blocks of the social and cultural nucleus for the over 200,000 Chinese residents.
Southeast of the Civic Centre is Little Tokyo, first settled by early Japanese immigrants in the 1880s, and many others.

Hollywood, with its many movie and historic interest.
Chinese Theatre, where more than 150 of the glitterati have left their prints on the sidewalk.
The Roosevelt Hotel.
Hollywood Wax Museum.

Disneyland is divided into four different lands: Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland where every child want to visit.

Catch a tram on the Backlot Tour to see the locations of several famous movies and TV shows at Universal City.

A visit to Los Angeles is never complete until one visits the star-studded Beverly Hills' to admire the homes of the likes of Jack Nicholson, Warren Beatty and Harrison Ford at least from a distance.
Rodeo Drive, where retailers such as Tiffany, Armani and Vuitton have their exclusive stores.

Bel Air, in western LA.

Malibu as one of the often filmed Los Angeles' beaches, immortalised by the Beach Boys, Beach Blanket Bingo and Baywatch as miles of golden sand.

Santa Monica and its beaches is one of the city's most appealing neighbourhoods.

Venice beach's Ocean Front Walk is a human circus of jugglers and acrobats, tarot readers, jug-band musicians, pick-up basketballers, oiled-up fitness freaks and petition circulators.

Knott's Berry Farm that nowadays runs in competition with Disney Land but started out as a little Old West display to keep the diners entertained.

Pasadena and its oak-lined avenues and many mansions is another nice neighbourhood to visit.

The La Brea Tar Pits, just outside the downtown area, is one of the world's most important paleontological sites.

Santa Catalina Island and its Chimes Tower, Wrigley Mansion, Wrigley Memorial & Botanical Gardens, San Gorgonio Wilderness, Mt San Bernardino, San Gorgonio Peak, Jenks Lake.

Palm Springs, Palm Springs Desert Museum, the Living Desert, Museum of the Heart.

Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara County Courthouse, Mission Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara Museum of Art.

To visit Los Angeles is an event in itself, but the city has many other events like the Academy Awards, Los Angeles County Fair, AFI-LA International Film Festival, swimming, surfing, diving, fishing, whale- watching, rock climbing, hiking, cycling to mention only a few.
Los Angeles has a very good transport system, including international airport, bus, underground and taxi services.

Population about 4 million in the city and about 10 million in the metropolitan area.

Area covers about 1200 sq km (465 sq miles) city, 10,600 sq km (4081 sq miles) the metropolitan area.

Many airports and bus station have 'accomodation board displays' where you can see many of the cheapest hotels advertising their place, their 'unbeatable low prices, and outstanding facilities', although most times we found these untrue (With excuses - all booked out, but we have some left at, etc. usually, a much higher rate), at LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) we decide to try our luck, mainly because it was nearly 11 pm and we were desperate to put our heads down.
These boards have direct free phone lines to these places.
We rang one, the man was very abrupt with Hui Chin when she tried to negotiate with him.
In desperation, I rang him back accepting his price, which included a free pick from the airport to the Hotel in Downtown LA.
Next day we moved to the Orchard Hotel, next door for $35 (Nearly half of the other one) for both of us per night.
Hui Chin and I enjoyed Los Angeles, Hollywood, the conducted tour of the city, Beverly Hills, the famous Hollywood sign, Chines Theatre, Universal City and many, many other attraction Hollywood got to offer.
We caught a public bus right outside our hotel back to the airport.
Great savings, good times all around.

You can click on these photos for an enlargement.


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