Sunset Boulevard

In Hollywood, there’s a famous street called Sunset Boulevard. It is lined with tall palm trees, bright lights, commercial establishments, and is teeming with cars and people any time of the day. This is where the Star’s Walk of Fame is also located. I drove and walked in that road a couple of times.

Here’s our version of Sunset Boulevard here in Iowa, which I am more familiar with.

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Just me, the road, and the sunset.

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(*photos taken while on our way to my daughter’s university)

Nothing To Do In Iowa

Summer here is on its last leg, and autumn is knocking on our doors. Yet we are still trying to squeeze out the fun of what’s left of this summer.

Like the summers before, we again had a few friends and relatives from out-of-state who visited and stayed with us here in Iowa. They came from New York, from Florida, and even from out of the country like Taiwan and the Philippines.

One friend who came from Florida, was told by her office mates when they learned that she was flying to Iowa, that there’s nothing to see and do in Iowa. Except if you’re a Presidential candidate and you’re campaigning.

True, Iowa is not a tourist destination, like California or Florida. There may not be much to see here. But for our friends, seeing us, maybe is reason enough for them to visit Iowa.

Yet we tried our best to show our visitors what is here to see. We toured them around the city of Des Moines, the covered bridges of Madison County, and the farm fields of Iowa. Some of them even had the chance to go to the annual Iowa State Fair.

They said that our state fair is truly part of Americana. For where else can you go around the fair grounds while chomping on a whole turkey leg or a pork chop on a stick? Or munch deep-fried Oreos or deep-fried Sneakers? Or see the biggest cow, or the biggest pumpkin? Or see the famed butter cow sculpture?

This summer, we also had the chance to visit other states, like Montana and California. We have a few relatives in California, including my mother-in-law, who sadly to say, got awfully sick and eventually passed away during our visit there. Thus our vacation had a sudden turn of sad events.

She was hospitalized in a small hospital in Hollywood. In fact, the hospital was a couple of blocks from Sunset Boulevard and all the touristy spots in Hollywood. But driving back and forth to the hospital and where we’re staying was not a pleasant trip, as we were most of the time stuck in terrible traffic in the Los Angeles area.

photo taken after we visited my mother-in-law at the hospital

My mother-in-law stayed in the ICU for a few days, and I had the chance to talk to her physician. I introduced myself as an ICU doctor as well, so we can have a direct talk about the nitty-gritty details involved, as well as management, and of course prognosis.

The ICU physician was nice to me. Though he was in a bit of disbelief that I am practicing in Iowa. Perhaps he, like many others, have the impression that there’s nothing but corn and cows in Iowa.

He even asked my kids what do they do for “fun” in Iowa. My kids just politely said “a lot” without giving much details. I’m sure the good doctor was expecting answers like going to Disney, or visiting a theme park (which we also have though not as famous), or going to the beach.

My kids could have answered, how about catching fireflies. Or riding ATV in the cornfields with our friends. Or riding bike in dirt trails. Or perhaps just watching the sunset, or counting the stars.

As he was leaving, my mother-in-law’s doctor told me that he felt “sorry” that I live in Iowa. I just smiled and did not answer. It was past eight in the evening, and I knew he was not even on-call that night for he told me so, and yet he was still making rounds and seeing patients.

Me in Iowa? If I’m not on-call, I’m done with work by five in the afternoon, and I’m doing something “fun” by that time. Or maybe I’m just home spending time with my family.

In reality, it was me, who felt sorry for him.

For somebody who have lived in Manila, New Jersey, New York City, California, and Florida, I know what I’m talking about. And that’s why I chose to live where I’m living now.

Yes, there’s nothing to do in Iowa.

me and the bike trail in the middle of cornfiels


 

Pinoytransplant Goes to Hollywood

There is no place on earth that is synonymous to red carpet, bright lights and stars than Hollywood. So during our recent holiday trip to California, we visited this district of Los Angeles, which is the center for the motion picture and entertainment industry.

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Obviously we would like to walk where the stars have walked. But since we were not worthy of a red carpet, plus we cannot find a red carpet anyway, we settled to walk down Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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This is the place where the stars left their mark. I mean, literally.

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Since there were no stars to see in person while we were there, we did the next best thing. We visited their replicas at the Madame Tussauds.

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Madame Tussauds is a wax museum founded by sculptor Marie Tussaud, with the original site in London. Now the museum has several branches in a number of major cities, including this one in Hollywood. Here we saw hot stars of today, as well as of yesteryear.

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Contrary to what you’re thinking, the above sculpture is not of me and my wife. They just have some resemblance to us.

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Above is not a sculpture. Well, Sir Elton John is, but the one on the piano is my daughter trying to strike a pose.

Below are Paul Newman and Robert Redford as “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” The ones behind the jail bars are “pinoytransplant and his no-dance kid.”

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There are other places to visit in Hollywood, like the Kodak Theater, the Chinese theater, and the one below, the Hollywood and Highland Center. It is a large shopping mall and entertainment complex.

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If you look up into the mountains, besides the beautiful homes perched up on the hill, you will also see an iconic sign.

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Here it is with magnification.

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But we were not satisfied to see Hollywood from afar. We want to see it closer. I mean to see the “Hollywood” sign closer.

So my nephew who lives in LA, led us into a location, which is a far cry from an elegant red carpet walk. It was rather a rugged hike up the hills of Los Angeles.

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It is also up in these hills where you can have a scenic view of downtown LA.

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As I look into the Hollywood sign, I thought that maybe I can change career and pursue my luck here in Hollywood.

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After all, Jack told me so.

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But then again, my pretty face may just end up at the tip of Bruce Lee’s foot. In that case, I think I’ll pass.

From Hollywood,

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yours truly,

Pinoytransplant

(*all photos taken with iPhone)