Text read by Mary Peters

Will Bernard shake hands with a film star?

We started our trip in Mulhouse and flew to London. There we had a two-hour stopover. We drank a coffee. NO tea, with milk.

The flight from London to Los Angeles lasted 12 hours. The plane was almost empty. I had a row of seats to myself, so I could lie down and sleep. We also walked in the plane, drank Baileys with the very kind flight attendants.

Our guide welcomed us at the airport and drove us to Santa Monica and the Pacific Ocean. We looked for Pamela Anderson, but unfortunately, she was not there. The Pacific Ocean is like the Atlantic. The colour of the water is the same.

I remember lunch was in a typical American restaurant. It was a self-service restaurant. 80% of the restaurants we went to were self-service. The coffee was like water.

After a quick lunch, we drove to Universal Studios. It is the largest film studio in the world. The most well-known films were Earthquake, Jurassic Park. It is like going to an amusement park. We went to a film studio. We saw the making of films. The most important films. When I watched Waterworld, I thought it was filmed on a large ocean. In reality, it was a small swimming pool. We made a tour with a tourist train around the sets for Jurassic Park and Earthquake. We also drove through the parting of the waters used for the film “Moses”.

We spent the whole afternoon at Universal Studios and although I didn’t meet any film stars, I did meet a friend who lives in a village close by. I did not know he was in LA as well.

Visiting Universal Studios is interesting, but honestly, once is enough.

Los Angeles is a big centre, spread out over a big area, so driving from one place to another takes a long time. We stayed in the Venice Beach Hotel.

On the way, we made a small detour via the houses in Beverly Hills. I saw the houses where the film stars lived. We drove down Rodeo Drive, where we saw the stars on the Walk of Fame. I also saw the “Hollywood” sign on the hill.

We drove past the fire escape on which Richard Gere went to meet Julia Roberts at the end of “Pretty Woman”. It’s a happy end but it’s only a film.

We can dream of this world. You remember the films. I tried to imagine the interior of the houses and thought, perhaps a star will drive by.

LA is really about the movie industry. There aren’t many green areas, but many buildings, highways. We arrived at the hotel late, had not slept since arriving in the morning. 

But already, I had noticed, the people were bigger, the portions were huge and how many elderly people worked, cleaning and doing odd jobs.

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