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 Los Angeles is a heaven on earth
.... Birinder Dhillon

Chandigarh, July 17. 2011

On  June 20, United Airlines Plane landed me at Los Angeles International Airport. The weather was like weather of February month in Punjab. My old friend Surjit Singh a Lawyer from Chandigarh now settled in California was waiting for me. We reached his city in Bakersfield in his Silver colored Mercedes car in two hours. I stayed with him for five days. I wanted to see Los Angeles, a home of Hollywood. Next five days we regularly visited L A for sight seeing.

 Often known as LA, and its residents call it the City of Angels, Los Angeles is the most populous city in California    and the second one in the United States. Its population is 5 million and area is 500 square miles. The City was founded on September4, 1781 by a Spanish governor. In 1821   it became a part of Mexico, but in 1848, at the end of the Mexican-American War, Los Angeles and the rest of California were purchased by U.S.A., thereby becoming part of the United States.  Los Angeles is a world centre of business, international trade, entertainment, culture, media, fashion, science, technology, and education.  Los Angeles has been ranked the fifth most powerful and influential city in the world, behind only New York City in the United States. As the base of Hollywood, it is known as the Film City, leading the world in the creation of motion pictures, television production, video games, and recorded music.

 The importance of the entertainment business to the city has led many celebrities to call Los Angeles and its surrounding suburbs home. The Los Angeles coastal area was first settled by the two Native-American tribes, thousands of years ago, before the arrivals of Europeans in 1542, in an expedition a Portuguese-born explorer who claimed the area of southern California for the Spain. The town was officially founded in 1781Two-thirds of the settlers were from African, American-indian, and European ancestry. They were intermarrying. Oil was discovered in 1892, and by 1923 Los Angeles alone was producing one-quarter of the world's petroleum. In the 1920s, the movie and aviation industries flocked to Los Angeles, with continuing growth. In 1969, Los Angeles became one of the birthplaces of the Internet, as the first ARPANET transmission was sent from the University of CA Los Angeles to SRI in the Bay Area. During the remaining decades of the 20th century, the city was plagued by increasing gang warfare, drug trades, and corruption.

 The city is divided into many neighborhoods that were annexed by the city. There are also several independent cities around Los Angeles, but they are popularly grouped with the city of Los Angeles. Generally, the city is divided into the following areas: Downtown Los Angeles, The Eastside and Northeast Los Angeles, South LA, The Harbor Area, Greater Hollywood, Wilshire, the Westside, and Crescent Valley. Los Angeles is irregularly shaped and covers a total area of 498.3 square miles.

 It is the major city in the United States bisected by a mountain range .Los Angeles is both flat and hilly. The Los Angeles River, a major river which is largely seasonal, is the primary drainage channel. It was straightened and lined in concrete by the Army Corps of Engineers for almost its entire length to act as a flood control channel. The river flows east along the north edge of the Santa Monica Mountains, then south through the city center, on its way to its mouth in the Port of Long Beach at the Pacific Ocean. Los Angeles is prone to earthquakes due to its location on the Pacific Ring of Fire which cause approximately 10,000 earthquakes annually. A few earthquakes are of low intensity and are not felt. In 1994, the earthquake shook the city, causing $12.5 billion in damage and 72 deaths.

 Los Angeles enjoys plenty of sunshine throughout the year, with an average of only 35 days with  measurable precipitation annually. The average annual temperature in downtown is 20 °C. In day it is 24 °C and at night is 14 °C. In the coldest month, January, the temperature typically ranges from 15 to 23 °C during the day and 7 to 13 °C at night. In the warmest month – August – the temperature ranges from 26 to 32 °C during the day and around 18 °C at night. Los Angeles averages 15.14 inches (384.6 mm) of precipitation annually, which mainly occurs during the winter and spring (November through April) with generally moderate rain showers, but usually as heavy rainfall and thunderstorms during winter storms. The coast gets less rainfall, while the mountains get  more. Snowfall is extremely rare in the city basin, but the mountains within city limits typically receive snowfall every winter.

 The Los Angeles area is rich in native plant species due in part to a diversity in habitats, including beaches, and mountains. The name given by the tribe of Native Americans for the area translates to the valley of smoke, because of the smog from native campfires. Owing to heavy reliance on automobiles, and the Los Angeles Long Beach port complex, Los Angeles suffers from air pollution in the form of smog. The state of California has led the nation in working to limit pollution by mandating low emission vehicles. Smog levels are only high during summers because it is dry and warm. In the winter, storms help to clear the smog and it is not as much of a problem. The city continues to take aggressive steps to improve air and water conditions.

 Sources of income of Los Angeles are international trade, entertainment (television, motion pictures, video games, and recorded music), aerospace, technology, petroleum, fashion, apparel, and tourism. Los Angeles is also the largest manufacturing center in the western United States. The city is home to seven Fortune 500 companies. Many Other companies headquartered in Los Angeles .

 Los Angeles is often billed as the "Creative Capital of the World", due to the fact that one in every six of its residents works in a creative industry. There are more artists, writers, filmmakers, actors, dancers and musicians living and working in Los Angeles than any other city at any time in the history. Los Angeles is home to Hollywood, globally recognized as the epicenter of the motion picture industry. A testament to its preeminence in film, the city plays host to the annual Academy Awards, the oldest and one of the most prominent award ceremonies in the world. Furthermore, there are 54 film festivals every year, which translates into more than one every week. The performing arts play a major role in Los Angeles' cultural identity. There are over 1,000 musical, theater, dance, and performing groups.

 The major daily newspaper in the area is the Los Angeles Times, La Opinion is the city's major Spanish-language paper.  There are also a number of smaller regional newspapers, alternative weeklies and magazines. In addition to the English- and Spanish-language papers, numerous local periodicals serve immigrant communities in their native languages, including Armenian, Korean, Persian, Russian, Chinese and Japanese. The city has major broadcast channels as well as three PBS stations.

 City student population is 800,000 in the City. The city and the rest of the metropolitan area is served by an extensive network of freeway and highway. Los Angeles road traffic as the most congested in the United States. The average traveler in Los Angeles experienced 72 hours of traffic delay per year according to the study. Among the major highways that connect LA to the rest of the nation include Interstate 5, which runs south through San Diego to Tijuana in Mexico and then north to the Canadian Border. The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transport Authority and other agencies operate an extensive system of bus lines, as well as Subway and light rail lines across Los Angeles County, with a combined daily rider ship of 1.7 million. The majority of this (1.4 million) is taken up by the city's bus system, the second busiest in the country. The main Los Angeles airport is Los Angeles International Airport. The sixth busiest commercial airport in the world and the third busiest in the United States, LAX handles over 62 million passengers and 2 million tons of cargo. The world's third busiest general-aviation airport is also located in Los Angeles.

 The Port Of Los Angeles is located in San Pedro Bay approximately 20 miles south of Downtown. Also called Los Angeles Harbor and worldport LA, the port complex occupies 7,500 acres of land and water along 43 miles of waterfront. Singly, the Port of Los Angeles is the busiest container port in the United States and the largest cruise ship center on the West Coast. Passenger ferry service from San Pedro to the city of Avalon on Santa Catalina Island is provided by Catalina Express.

 The residents of Los Angeles are White 50%, Black 10%, Native American 0.6%,Asian 10.4%,rest other races 29%. The 42.2% spoke English and 41.7% Spanish, rest are other languages. Los Angeles residents are from more than 140 countries speaking 224 different identified languages.Los Angeles has had a high degree of income disparity as compared to the rest of the country The median household income of the wealthiest neighborhood was $207,938, while in the poorest it was $15,003.

 Here is a beautiful fun centre known as ‘Golf 'N Stuff Family Fun Center’. With two locations not far from the main hub in Los Angeles, this family fun center has a wide variety of games and attractions. The center features three 18-hole miniature golf courses, laser tag, bumper boats and cars, a kid train and two arcades. The beach encompasses a total of five acres filled with dining, night clubs, shopping and beach activities like water sports, surfing, swimming and sun bathing. Enjoy people watching as Venice Beach attracts visitors from all over the globe.

Known as one of the busiest ports and marinas in the world, Long Beach is bustling all day long. There are many things for visitors to do along the beach. The beach stretches along 5 ½ miles of coastline. Beautiful and busy, watch many different types of boats and yachts as they dock along the beach or just lay out and enjoy the beautiful California sun.

If you love to surf you won't want to miss out on Malibu beach. Known as one of the premier surfing beaches in the world the beach is over 22 miles of gardens, beaches and wetlands, an ocean lovers paradise. Malibu pier offers excellent salt water fishing and guided tours are available. Known as a popular celebrity hangout, The ‘Ivy caters’ to the top echelon of the LA crowd. Visitors were watching Jennifer Anniston and Keanu Reeves film Stars, eating there. Although the interior is simple, the menu offers a wide range of tempting dishes. Make sure to make reservations.

  Another famous hot spot in LA is the House of Blues. Featuring blues bands and live performers this is a great place to have a fun night. Visitors can visit their web site, before stopping in, to see who will be playing and when. Many famous performers have made a stop by the House of Blues, so you should not to miss it when in town. Executives from Paramount Studios dine here frequently so visitors have a good chance of some great Caleb spotting. The menu is exceptional as is the wine list. The specials changes nightly, so whatever night you are in you are sure to be in for a treat.

 Aquarium of the Pacific is a place where your kids will love discovering life under the sea. The aquarium offers 3 main galleries and a Shark Lagoon with some sharks that kids can touch. Take a tour of the Universal Studios a place where fantasy comes to life by the creators of Jurassic Park, Jaws, and E.T., and see the soundstages and movie sets where the magic of these and other films were created. On the tour guests are conveyed in trams equipped with state-of-the-art audio and video systems, with narration by celebrities such as Ron Howard, or Jason Alexander, explaining the inner workings of the industry. This great chunk of land at the east end of Santa Monica Mountains was donated by Griffith J Griffith, who was a miner and made his fortune in gold. The park features Golf Courses, the Griffith Observatory and Planetarium, Los Angeles Zoo, the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round with 68 ornately crafted and decorated horses, Pony Rides, and Train. Also in the park is a natural amphitheatre known as the Greek Theatre, which holds summer concerts.

From Malibu in the North to Long Beach in the South, the coastline of Los Angeles consists of over 70 miles long beautiful area of sun kissed white golden sand with dozen beaches. Out of all these famous beaches are Malibu Beach, Santa Monica Beach, Marina Del Rey, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach and Long Beach. I have visited in the evening Malibu Beach. Most northerly beach in Los Angeles and is most famous. Malibu Beach is not the vibrant bustling beach that is portrayed in the movies. It is in fact a relatively quiet beach, no entertainers or beach side shops here, ideal to escape the hustle and bustle of LA for a day. Take a walk along the shoreline to see  the fabulous celebrity  homes that front the beach, watch the surfers or hire a board yourself or take a stroll around the local shops and shopping mall. For the more cultured there is the original J. Paul Getty Museum a fabulous roman villa set on a hillside which houses countless works of art, splendid gardens and J. Paul Getty's grave. Really LA is a heaven on earth.




Birinder Dhillon is a Freelancer writer