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Part of an on-going series of posts by people who have never been to our fair city but who want to. This is what they think of when they daydream about LA, this is what they think it's all about.

by Jane, 22, Panama

I think of an Imaginary LA

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Tall palm trees lining a very expensive, very exclusive, very ritzy area of perhaps Hollywood Hills or Bel-Air (what the hell do I know? I should probably catch up on more E!) as you drive in a convertible car (bright, shiny red) with long blond hair trailing behind you (wrapped quite messily, on purpose, with a vintage scarf), your eyes hidden behind large, dark Jackie O glasses (also vintage, your mother's) accompanied by some C lister or porn star or up and coming pop musician.

White sand beaches with cold, turbulent gray water, sunbathers taking up every possible inch of sand, surfers in full body wetsuits, hot, sculpted bodies (male and female) in designer beachwear, and finally lifeguards.

I think of immigrants riding in the back of an old dusty, rusty ,truck, hiding from the "migra" in bodegas and corners. Houses on stilts on slanted hills with big windows, very modern minimalist architecture, and a pool overlooking Hollywood. Oh and obviously the Hollywood sign because well, it comes with the territory. Hollywood = L.A., right?

Rodeo Drive (pronounced ro-deh-OH) and the walk of fame and that chinese theatre where important events happen. Tan, beautiful people, struggling actors, A list actors, silicon valley and silicon breasts; that movie with the young Sean Penn and a sticky bun stuck into his surf shorts.

I don't even know if half of what I am describing is the real L.A. I would like to see the real city though, the grimey and dirty and noisy city, not just the fabulous, glitzy, glamorous side of it, but it's ugly sister counterpart as well.

Jane blogs at

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