I find it really annoying that I have a pretty high tolerance for tourist traps. You know those places; crappy venues that offer stupid things for a price that never ever is worth that price. Museums that charge $20 for a tour, which ends up being something like a picture of Micheal Jackson made out of chewing gum. Endless rows of places selling t-shirts that are never interesting. Those kind of things. When I see a place like that, I am drawn to it like a moth to a bug zapper, and shake a fist full of dollars blindly going along with it.
Of course what I am really paying for is my ability to be snarky after the fact about the experience … and meat a guy dressed like spiderman, who doesn’t like that.
As tourist traps go, Los Angeles has probably the worst in the world. Let me understate that a little more … WORST TOURIST TRAP IN THE WORLD. I am talking about Hollywood Boulevard. I took up the trap yesterday as the closest shop to get the tires I want for my car were just up the street from there; so I spent the afternoon on along this famous street wondering why I thought being there was a good idea in the least.
If you never been, Hollywood Boulevard is in Hollywood (as the name suggests) runs just Northwest of Downtown LA along the edge of Beverly Hills. Once upon a time, it was home of many of the main theaters that were where many movie premiers were held along with some stage theaters, some of which held the biggest of award shows. From time to time, it also hosted television shows & other events. In other words, it is the epicenter of the Entertainment industries in the Entertainment Capitol of the world.
I think that means that tourists think that going to Hollywood Boulevard will mean they will see a celebrity. In a way it’s like thinking that if you hung out in a steak house long enough, you would see a cow. I guess it could happen, but you’re more likely to see the outcome than the starting point.
There are two pretty famous attractions there; one of which isn’t even there … and is arguably not an attraction. The Hollywood Sign … which is a sign that spells ‘Hollywood’ and I guess that makes it kind of exciting … is visible at spots along the road; most notably by the Dolby, El Capitan, and (formally) Mann’s Chinese Theaters. Of course, the only good place to get that photo is in the shopping center they built just for that purpose. You can get a fine picture of yourself with the Hollywood Sign over your shoulder, just a few feet from a Victoria Secret (though I do recommend the ramen shop there).
The other big attraction is the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Running nearly 3-1/2 miles up and down Hollywood Blvd and branching off Vine Street, the walk of fame is … and let’s call it what it is … pavement with peoples names on them. Intended to be landmarks of entertainers past and present, this famous stars embedded in the sidewalk allow you to walk along, read their names, ignore them, ask who the hell is “Hildegarde” (no last name, just Hildegarde), and occasionally squat uncomfortably next to the dirty ground as some random person takes your picture as if you are right there next to that person. The whole thing has a silly air to it. I mean, do you really think Dean Martin wanted his name next to a tattoo parlor? Or Danny Kaine want to be next to a Pep Boys? Or those poor folks that are the gateway to the strip club. It’s not like the streets here are the cleanest to begin with, and the tourists are flocking to crawl around on ground level to get to these little bits of something.
Of course there is more to soak the money from the randoms walking about. The main source is street performers. Specifically people dressed up in a costume so that people will take a picture with them for money. It’s a little extra dumb because in the world of copyright images, none of these people can actually “look” like the characters in question. Not that you would mistake the short pudgy guy in red spandex busting out at the seems to be Spiderman, but people were still posing with him. Of course, the guy could have been trying to look like Deadpool too … or a zombie, the costume wasn’t that good.
Oh, there are other things to see there, and I did fall for some of it. I threw $20 to go through a Believe It or Not museum because …as I mentioned before, I am a sucker for these things. I got as much out of the Dave & Busters next door though. I could have seen the creepy wax statues too, but I have my limits.
In the end, the two hour wait for my new tires allowed me to remember why I love to hate tourists traps. The extra three hours at the tire shop waiting for the work to get done was all because I knew that there is a limit on my tourist trap love too. I just know now in the future that if I need to get new tires, I just need to bring my red spandex suit with me to make a little scratch on the side.