Rewire: Stranger in a Strange Land

Is this where old Rockers come to slide on by? I doubt it as the only old rockers around here are living on the street. Jerry Lee would probably like the neighborhood though as there are lots of groupies working as waitresses here.

I moved into a new apartment in the heart of Hollywood, less than two miles from our home of seventeen years in the Hollywood Hills.  My new hood is populated by tons of young, good looking  girls (and guys if you must know), bars and clubs up the kazoo, enough lingerie shops to make Victoria’s Secret scared of the competition, and tourists who actually stop to look at the stars on the Walk of Fame.

Here’s what’s not here:  old people like me (who aren’t living on the street that is), parking of any kind after 3:00PM, anyone walking about at 7:00AM, and places to eat that don’t have a cover charge.

I use to tell people that I lived in Hollywood, but I was wrong.  Really wrong.  This is Hollywooda land of dreams (in process, or documented or broken), starlets (in the making), guys on the make, kids lost in the street life, Tattoo parlors bigger than most restaurants, clubs with rope lines, tour buses rolling down Sunset, walking tours of the Walk of Fame (which celeb has five different kinds of stars?), families taking pictures of each other at Sunset & Vine, guys writing screen plays at the local Starbucks (next to old guys pounding the keys on their blog) and on and on.  Ohh, by the way, did you see that Heidi Fleiss (the Hollywood Madame for those of you living under a rock) has opened a new place on Hollywood Boulevard  — a cigar shop?

Wow, how the hell did I get here? Much like a Hollywood B movie in which the protagonist tries an experiment that mutates into something very different than expected, I’ve become a Stranger in a Strange Land.

In preparation for the Next Phase –whatever the f___ that might be –KR and I sold our house in the Hills, bought a place in Puerto Vallarta, and began living the dual life of me in LA most of the time and KR in Puerto Vallarta most of the time.  We’d go  back and forth a much as possible while awaiting our next grand adventure.  The moment that I get tired of pulling on the oars of commerce, I’m on the first Greyhound south to PV full time.

Enter 1930 Whitley Avenue, #101.   Things would be different here at Whitley.  I should have known it wasn’t going to be a fast road to happiness when Ben, the guy we sublet from, said something to the affect,  “Parking?  No problem! I’ve never had a problem.  Look right out there, that’s my car!”   He must of taken the last spot as I’ve gotten seven tickets in two weeks.  Robert, the building manager, has explicitly told me that he doesn’t handle tenant problems as he gets stressed out dealing with conflicts.  I’m suppose to call the owner but they have an unlisted number.  This is Hollywood, after all.

As good as gold. Parking permits require two (2) proofs of residence to get. I only have one.

All of us at Whitley live according to the parking slot.  Got a good one, then you never move until forced out by hunger or lack of supplies.  No, we who live at Whitley WALK everywhere for fear of taking our car and having to park up the Mount Kilimanjaro that Whitely Avenue turns into shortly past our building.   Which is why I can tell you that Tiquila’s bar on Hollywood makes a good Screwdriver for Happy Hour, or you should skip Devil Burger’s burger unless you can handle the hot stuff, or that there really are some really, really cheap hotels in Hollywood that are always full, that the Guiness World Record Museum doesn’t appear to be doing as well as the Hollywood Wax Museum.

Those of you on your game today would have wondered if #101 was a good thing, as in the lower apartment in the front of the building right next to the front door kind of good thing.   I’m sure I wasn’t this way when I was twenty-something, but just how late can you party during a weekday?  Whitley residents have a well-trod answer:  2,3, 4 AM is about right.  And it’s always good to do a recap of the evening’s event’s (Did you see what he was wearing! ) on the street with the gang before stomping in on the wood hallway floors.

It’s not all bad at Whitley.  Bob, the can’t-handle-conflict building manager, asked me whether I was in The Business as I was just renting for a couple of months.  “Ya, I’ve been called in to fix a couple of scenes on a movie.  It’s the sequel to Dumb Ass, the Movie…” Now I make sure that everyone can see me pounding the keyboards sitting in my window.  I’m making great progress on Act 3, Scene 24.

The Whitley Heights apartment. I'm in the one on the lower right, next to the front door and above the trash cans.

One needs an oxygen tank to make it to the top, which is where I usually have to park.

The biggest and nicest building in the neighborhood isn't enough for some people, they need to advertise their ride as well.

There are nice places to eat in Hollywood, but they're usually behind some kind of wall. Here, I peak over at the diners in a .... Mexican restaurant on The Boulevard.

Tour packages to meet all tastes and pocket books. You want to sit on top of a Greyhound-sized bus, we have the one for you. Something a little more modest, how about a Dodge mini van with the roof cut off? Tour salesman was less than enthusiastic in his sales efforts.

Only the strong survive. There are more tattoo parlors, t-short shops, and Hollywood trinket shops than any other business in Hollywood. So, why not combine all three into a dazzling retail emporium of bad taste?

Somebody tell the owner of this very high end salon this isn't Beverly Hills. Two doors down is...

This fine establishment, more representative of the businesses on Hollywood Boulevard.

Yet, there's always room for new ideas. Heidi Fleiss, better known as the Hollywood Madame (no surprise, Charlie Sheen was a good client) is opening up a cigar shop next door to a place that rents pipes to smoke. Who says the US isn't innovating anymore?

Open 24 hours. Bus passes, check cashing and lawyers to fix your tickets. I'm thinking that maybe $199 is well spent in this parking-ticket hungry town.

Every Starbucks has its hangers-on, unemployed, and homeless. Hollywood has a special version of the latter -- kids who party and live on the street. This crew magically appears at Starbucks upon opening and hangs for most of the day. Usual makeup of the crew is one girl and 4-5 guys.

The only bar in Hollywood in which the waiters are older than me, Musso & Frank's is also the oldest restaurant in Hollywood. Great food, but way too expensive for this kid, but a drink is doable. Gentleman on the left colors cartoons for Disney and lives in Echo Park.

You know you're in a downscale bar when the vodka girls are pushing Smirnoff not Absolute.

Fortunes are made here, for a price. Zoltar offers to tell my fortune. There's the $2 fortune, the $3 fortune, and the... Only in Hollywood. I'm going to give the $2 Fortune a shot and see what lies ahead. I'll let you know

6 replies
  1. Chuck Brown says:

    Hi Fred,

    You always give us a good read and wonderful photos. I love the guys in the Starbucks. Did they come over and mug you after?
    Got to come and visit one day.

  2. Sam says:

    OK, quit the sad, old, lonely bullshit. Tell us about how KR and Lily are doing back in PV and LBS and your next adventure. And,weren’t you supposed to pick up NV yesterday in Port Hueneme? News…no more whining!

  3. Gary Wescott says:

    Hi Fred,

    Welcome home–I guess. KR drives to PV alone without getting shot? Does Greyhound really have a bus to PV? When are you there? We are scheming on flying to Guadalajara, renting a car, visiting friends in Chapala and Ajijic, and trying to make it a round trip to PV and back. Only a dream at the moment. We just returned from a month-long road trip and I can almost see my desk.

  4. FHW says:

    Gary & Monika-

    We’d love to see you in Puerto Vallarta. There’s plenty of room, so make it happen! fred

  5. Sam says:

    Walti, it’s been two months since your last post. You’ve moved, you got a great new account and you blog nothing! And don’t whine you’re too busy. We need a Walti fix.

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