| Panda Holiday 2001 |

The above picture pretty much sums up what I did during the Hollywood portion of my holiday - I visited the Hollywood Entertainment Museum. That's Buster Keaton in front and a bit of Charlie Chaplin at the back. Oh, I also saw a movie - the much panned Town and Country, starring Warren Beatty and Diane Keaton, among others.

I was in Hollywood at the beginning and end of my holiday - from 30 April to 2 May, and 5 May to 8 May - mainly because LA was my American point of entry and exit.

I really stayed in Hollywood, too - at the Liberty Hotel on Orchid Avenue, directly behind the famous Mann's Chinese Theatre. If not for construction work going on, it would've just been a short walk to the theatre. Liberty Hotel is a sister hotel to Hollywood Hostel on Hollywood Blvd. I'd found Hollywood Hostel on the Net and it appealed to me because it was right on Hollywood Blvd. So I emailed the hostel and found that it had what I wanted at a reasonable rate - a private room with attached bathroom for $40/- a night. But when I arrived and called the hostel for transport, I was given Liberty's address. The reason? The hostel only has shared dormitory rooms whereas Liberty has private rooms. As it turned out, Liberty was a better place (for me, anyway) - it was away from the main hustle and bustle of the "Walk of Fame", and quiet, too.

I walked a lot while in Hollywood. On my first morning there, I walked down Hollywood Blvd to the post office at Wilcox Ave. It was early - about 8:30 a.m. - and I later wrote in my journal:

"Before I arrived, I thought Hollywood Blvd would be teeming with tourists from quite early in the morning. Well, I was wrong. It was deserted, and anybody about were street people or crazies. Yeah, I was one of them - the latter group!"

I'd searched the Net for things to do and see in Hollywood. Since I'd been to Hollywood before (in 1990), I searched for new things added since then. I found out about the Hollywood Entertainment Museum from Gary's Seeing Stars web site. What really appealed to me was the statue of Buster Keaton at the entrance. I'm a big Keaton fan, having studied him and watched his movies as part of my undergraduate film studies courses. So I determined to visit the museum and have a picture taken with the Buster statue.
As you can see, I did get my picture
taken with "Buster"
Things have a way of looking better and nicer on the Internet. Such was the case with the Hollywood Entertainment Museum. On the Net, Buster's statue at the entrance hinted at big things within. In reality, the statue stands on the "Walk of Fame" and the museum is not on its own grounds but occupies what could be described as a "storefront". And probably due to lack of space, the museum was not big and did not house too many exhibits. In short, it did not live up to its name. Don't get me wrong - I'm not knocking it, but it just needs bigger premises to live up to its name. However, that could mean relocating it away from what gives this place its whole meaning in the first place - Hollywood.

What else did I do while in Hollywood? I met up with Loretta, an old housemate from my days at the University of California, San Diego. She drove me along Melrose Avenue, but we didn't get down to walk around cuz it was hot and the street looked too fancy for me. She also took me to Farmers' Market, which I didn't find too impressive (sorry). Eventually, she took me to lunch at a place near Paramount Studios - Lucy's. Now, that I found impressive. Thanks for a great lunch, and great company, too, Loretta!

Would you believe I also tried to walk to Tower Records on Sunset Strip? After half a block or so, I gave up, and walked back. That was when I went to the Hollywood Entertainment Museum instead. And had my picture taken with Buster Keaton.

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