Saturday, June 4, 2011


Our neighbourhood is at the base of foothills and mountains, so there is a real mix of homes. In the more level area, it's mostly apartments - for the plebs like us. But as you head north, and the roads cease to be straight and start to take on a slight incline, the apartments give way to modest homes and cute bungalows.  Not for long, though. The roads begin twisting and get steep fairly quickly, and the bungalows evolve into the sort of homes that give me a serious case of home envy.

It's a simple equation. Steeper roads + no pedestrian access (ie footpaths) = fancy schmancy homes.

Our local supermarket is the last one before the foothills start, so we see some seriously expensive cars around - belonging, I assume, to the fancy homes above us. Some celebrities lives in these hills, but I've never spotted any. But then, they probably get their PAs to fetch their groceries, right?

It's jacaranda time of year
I enjoy going for walks around here. Sometimes it's leisurely, armed with my camera so that I can play with it. Other times, I go instead of a rare gym visit, iPod plugged in with music to help pump me up those hills. I never venture into total mansion territory, though. The lack of footpaths I mentioned earlier? And narrow, winding roads to walk on instead? Combined with the way people drive around here, it feels... unsafe. Not the smartest place to be on foot.

It's about here that the home envy kicks in
So I stick to the lower part of the foothills, and if I'm lucky, certain bends in the roads will give me glimpses of views: the local area and its tall buildings downtown, Griffith Park, and - from a few points -
the towers of downtown LA. The other evening at sunset, the sun cast a pink glow off the sides of those skyscrapers. The sight felt incredibly, well, LA baby.

Looking north
Would you believe this is looking south, from the exact same spot as the previous photo? 
Downtown LA is in the very far distance.

Moments after hitting the shutter button for these last two photos, drama unfolded.

I was standing on a large pedestrian island in the middle of one side of a four-way intersection (with stop signs) when a white car came careening around, turning left, and stopping in the middle of the road - preventing other cars from getting past.

There was a crunching of gears changing, and I could see the male driver's arm furiously gesturing to the female passenger. Loud, angry words cut through the air.

I wasn't sure what to do next - their car had stopped in the direction I was heading.

Then, I'm pretty sure I heard the driver shouting, "Did you pull the trigger?"

I wasn't sure I'd heard correctly, but I suddenly felt trapped and very exposed on that pedestrian island. I looked around, not sure which way to run, or maybe duck down.

Did it occur to me to note the car model? Or the registration number?

Nope. I was in panic mode, and looking for escape.

Did I take a photo? Um, no, I was more concerned about possible bullets flying past.

Drama queen, I know.

It didn't occur to me to call 911, because I didn't have my phone on me.

A middle aged cyclist rode past me, looked at me, and shrugged his shoulders, as if to say, People, huh? What can you do?

Then the white car lurched forward, continuing its journey, while the female passenger screamed at the driver to get out of the car, repeatedly. The sound of her terrified screaming faded as the car disappeared into the distance.

Shaking, I crossed the road, and began walking home. About a block later, a dark blue SUV pulled up alongside me, and I recognised it as one of the cars that was at the intersection.

An older woman wound down her window, and called out to me. "Ma'am, did you see what happened back there?"

(This is where I confess that secretly enjoy it when an American addresses me as Ma'am - well, unless they happen to be moronic security guards)

So I walked over to her, and we talked about what we'd just seen. She was equally disturbed, and had the presence of mind to note the car model, and call 911 to tell them the direction this car was headed in. Thank god.

I have no idea what happened to those people in the car. Who was threatening who? But I was still shaking when I got home, and angry with myself for freezing like I did. It's hard, though, to know when not to get involved in something like that.

What a way to end a lovely afternoon stroll.

Later in the afternoon, I heard quite a few sirens in the distance, and my imagination began to run away, so I googled news in our neighbourhood.

Nothing turned up about a violent domestic dispute... but I did find out that Mario Lopez is one of the 'celebrities' that lives up in the hills nearby.

The vodka is kicking in now, so I'm okay...


  1. Those photos are totally beautiful but yes, I can imagine the terror of your brief glimpse through that little domestic violence portal that opened up. I'm glad nothing else happened and that the other witness managed to get some details. It is often the case that people freeze in that kind of situation so don't be too hard on yourself. Hope the vodka helped.

    I'm loving those jacarandas. How beautiful is that street? Even better with no gun toting maniac on it.

    Did you know you have a Scientology ad over there on the right? So it must be true what I've heard about them being everywhere in LA ...

  2. By the way, "Anonymous" is me, Melbo. I don't know what's up with blogger but it's being a real bitch to me lately and won't let me post .. sometimes even on my own blog. I think it's trying to give me a hint.

  3. Oh Mel, I just knew it was you! Thank you.

    The jacarandas are lovely. I missed then when we were in the UK, but by the time we were living in Melbourne, I'd forgotten about them. I didn't see any until November that year, when we flew to Sydney for a wedding - as the plane flew over Sydney and I saw purple explosions everywhere below, I got so excited. It's the little things, right?

    I've had trouble commenting on other Blogger posts too, so I don't think Blogger's out to get you - yet ;)

  4. Holy shit! See, as much as those photos are so LA Baby, that experience you just had seems even moreso. I saw shit in LA I did NOT want to see. Nothing that dramatic but disturbing nonetheless.

    Glad you survived, lady!

    And your photography is truly amazing.

  5. Angie, I want to hear more about your time in LA - I mean it!

    As for the photos - ta! But I do love tinkering with them on Picnik. No way do they come straight from my camera looking as good. Maybe one day, if I devote myself enough to it...

  6. Think one-legged Vietnam Vets, crazy homeless people, creepy lowlifes on public transport.... I was there no more than 6 days in total. MUCH worse than New York. New York was positively clean and wholesome by comparison!

    And there is no such thing as 'nude' photography these days. EVERYTHING has been tinkered with.

  7. Never a dull moment! I would have completely frozen and forgotten to get any details too!
    The pics are gorgeous though! love those...and glad you are ok!