Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Los Angeles Books & Travel Guides pt 1

Some books and travel guides about Los Angeles that are worth of checking out while planning your trip. Or when you hit da hoods.

Secret Stairs: A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of Los Angeles
In a city known for its fast cars and freeways, this guide reveals a unique feature of the Los Angeles cityscape: more than 200 stairways across the hilly sections of the city, many of which are remnants from the days when most city residents depended on streetcars and buses for transportation. Containing more than 40 walks and detailed maps, this handbook highlights the charms and quirks of this quintessential feature of Los Angeles’ development and chronicles the geographical, architectural, and historical features of each staircase and the neighborhoods in which the steps are located. Rated for duration and difficulty, the circular walks deliver tales of historic homes, their fascinating inhabitants, and troves of historic trivia—such as where William Faulkner lived while he wrote the screenplay for To Have and Have Not, where Graham Nash lived, and where actress Thelma Todd was murdered—while other walks highlight spectacular homes by some of southern California's most important architects, including Neutra and Schindler. From strolling through the classic La Loma neighborhood in Pasadena and walking the vintage Red Car Loop in Silver Lake to taking the Beachwood Canyon Hollywoodland hike and enjoying the magnificent ocean views from the Castellammare district in Pacific Palisades, these staircases present a new way for urban explorers to discover a little-known side of the City of Angels.

Top 10 Los Angeles (Eyewitness Top 10 Travel Guides)

Drawing on the same standards of accuracy as the acclaimed DK Eyewitness Travel Guides, each book in DK's Top 10 series uses evocative color photography, excellent cartography, and up-to-date travel content to create a reliable and useful pocket-sized travel guide.

Dozens of Top 10 lists provide vital information on each destination, as well as insider tips, from uncovering a city's most memorable sights to finding the best restaurants and hotels in each neighborhood.

And to save you time and money, there's even a Top 10 list of Things to Avoid.

L.A. Bizarro: The All-New Insider's Guide to the Obscure, the Absurd, and the Perverse in Los Angeles

The cult classic is back! More than 10 years after pioneering the gonzo guidebook genre, this all-new edition of the beloved #1 best-selling guide to bad taste L.A. has been fully revised. Packed with 75% new material, L.A. Bizarro boasts scores of fresh discoveries plus original photos presented in luscious, lurid color. Connoisseurs of the weird and wonderful, Anthony Lovett and Matt Maranian steer readers into a world of culinary curiosities, morbid museums, sexual sideshows, and dipsomaniacal dives. From pet cemeteries to pi ata district, hundreds of odd and outr delights are laid bare for visitors and Angelenos alike.

Top Trails: Los Angeles: Must-Do Hikes for Everyone

From the Santa Monica Mountains to Angeles National Forest, from Orange County to the San Bernardino and the San Jacinto Mountains,Southland hiking guru Jerry Schad describes the "must do" trails in the greater Los Angeles area. The highly visual, easy access guidebook includes a range of trails for all levels and abilities suitable for walking, hiking, running, and mountain biking. Each trail has a custom map, "don’t get lost" trail milestones, elevation profiles, and the full range of trail features so hikers, cyclists, dog walkers and stroller users know exactly what to expect. This new edition describes a total of 57 trips and nine new trails including Corral Canyon in Malibu, Sycamore Canyon Waterfall, Oat Mountain in the Santa Susana Mountains, and Cobal Canyon Loop near Claremont.

Lonely Planet Los Angeles & Southern California

Hang onto your Mickey hat while careening down Space Mountain
Try on Pamela Anderson's tank top or designer shoes from Alias
Dangle your sandy feet over a concrete wall and watch a surfer-skater-dog parade
Swirl, sip, savor and spit your pinot on a sustainable wine tour

Covers LA, Disneyland, Orange County, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Palm Springs and Joshua Tree!
Three local authors; 1500 hours of on-the-ground research; 56 more pages; 65 detailed maps
New Southern California for Kids chapter packed with tips for families

Monday, December 20, 2010

Getting around in Las Vegas - Transportation

RTC Transit is a public transportation system providing bus service throughout Las Vegas, Henderson, North Las Vegas and other suburban areas of the valley. Intercity bus service to Las Vegas is provided by traditional intercity bus carriers, including Greyhound; many charter services, including Green Tortoise; and several Chinatown bus lines. Amtrak California also operates Deluxe Express Thruway Motorcoach dedicated service between the City and its passenger rail station in Bakersfield, California.

A new bus rapid transit link in Las Vegas called the ACE Gold Line (a bus route with limited stops and frequent service) was launched in March 2010, and connects Downtown Las Vegas, the Strip, the Las Vegas Convention Center, and Town Square.

With some exceptions, including Las Vegas Boulevard, Boulder Highway (SR 582), and Rancho Drive (SR 599), the majority of surface streets in Las Vegas are laid out in a grid along Public Land Survey System section lines. Many are maintained by the Nevada Department of Transportation as state highways. The street numbering system is divided by the following streets:

* Westcliff Drive, US 95 Expressway, Fremont Street and Charleston Boulevard divide the north-south block numbers from west to east.
* Las Vegas Boulevard divides the east-west streets from the Las Vegas Strip to near the Stratosphere, then Main Street becomes the dividing line from the Stratosphere to the North Las Vegas border, after which the Goldfield Street alignment officially divides east and west.
* On the east side of Las Vegas, block numbers between Charleston Boulevard and Washington Avenue are different along Nellis Boulevard, which is the eastern border of the city limits.

McCarran International Airport handles international and domestic flights into the Las Vegas Valley. The airport also serves private aircraft and freight/cargo flights. Some of the general aviation traffic uses the smaller North Las Vegas Airport and Henderson Executive Airport.

The Union Pacific Railroad is the only class one railroad to provide rail freight service to the city. Until 1997, the Amtrak Desert Wind train service ran through Las Vegas using the Union Pacific Railroad tracks that run through the city. Amtrak service to Las Vegas goes to Needles, California and continues on Amtrak's Thruway Motorcoach bus service. Plans to restore Los Angeles to Las Vegas Amtrak service using a Talgo train were discussed in the late 1990s but no plan for a replacement was ever implemented. The Las Vegas Amtrak station was located in the Plaza Hotel; it held the distinction of being the only train station in the United States that was located in a casino.

Proposals to revive passenger trains to Las Vegas have included the Desert Xpress high-speed train from Victorville, California; the California-Nevada Interstate Maglev which would extend eventually to Anaheim, California with its first segment being to Primm, Nevada; the Las Vegas Railway Express; and most recently, the Z-Train which would travel six days a week between Los Angeles Union Station and a new Z-Train Station adjacent to the Strip.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

San Francisco Trams (cable car system)

The San Francisco cable car system is the world's last permanently operational manually operated cable car system, and is an icon of San Francisco, California. The cable car system forms part of the intermodal urban transport network operated by the San Francisco Municipal Railway, or Muni as it is better known.

The very first successful cable-operated street railway was the Clay Street Hill Railroad, which opened on August 2, 1873. The promoter of the line was Andrew Smith Hallidie, and the engineer was William Eppelsheimer.

The current cable car network consists of three lines. Like other Muni routes, they have line numbers, but are generally referred to by the street name. The single-ended cable cars require manually-operated turntables to rotate the car around, so that it faces in the right direction. The city of San Francisco is home to three such turntables, or turn-arounds, outdoors (at Market & Powell, Taylor & Bay, and Hyde & Beach); with a fourth one being located inside the car barn.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Airports, Los Angeles

In the Los Angeles metropolitan area there are six commercial airports and many more general-aviation airports.
The primary Los Angeles airport is Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The fifth busiest commercial airport in the world and the third busiest in the United States, LAX handled 61.9 million passengers, 1.884 million metric tons of cargo and 680,954 aircraft movements in 2007

    International Airport
  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) (IATA: LAX, ICAO: KLAX) is owned by the city of Los Angeles. The airport is located to the west of the city and is, by far, the busiest airport serving the city.[1] It is the fifth busiest commercial airport in the world and the third busiest in the United States; in 2006, LAX handled over 61 million passengers and 2 million tons of cargo.
  • LA/Ontario International Airport (IATA: ONT, ICAO: KONT), owned by the city of Los Angeles; serves the Inland Empire. This airport is located to the east, in the bedroom community city of Ontario, California and is the next most prominent airport after LAX.

  • Bob Hope Airport (formerly Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport) (IATA: BUR, ICAO: KBUR) is located in the middle north-east of the city. It is limited to a small number of passenger airlines and serves the San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys.
  • John Wayne Airport (IATA: SNA, ICAO: KSNA) is located to the south-east of the city, in the city of Santa Ana, in the northern part of Orange County.
  • Long Beach Airport (IATA: LGB, ICAO: KLGB) is located to the south of the city, in the city of Long Beach.
  • LA/Palmdale Regional Airport (IATA: PMD, ICAO: KPMD) is located north of the city, in Palmdale. The airport is owned by the city of Los Angeles and serves the northern outlying communities of the Santa Clarita and Antelope Valleys.
  • Palm Springs International Airport (IATA: PSP, ICAO: KPSP) is located very far east of the city, near Palm Springs, and serves the Coachella Valley area of Riverside County.

LA Airports in popular culture:
  • Several scenes of the 1985 Arnold Schwarzenegger motion picture Commando were filmed at the Tom Bradley International Terminal, on the airfield, and in an LAX parking deck.
  • Although set at Washington Dulles International Airport, 1990's Die Hard 2 was filmed at the Tom Bradley International Terminal.
  • In the 2004 video game, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, the airport was featured and parodied as Los Santos International Airport or LSX and was commonly called as Los Santos International. The theme building and the control tower of LAX were also featured. The theme building was also featured in the 2005 videogame, Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories.
  • In the final season premiere of Lost, notably titled LA X, the alternate timeline sequences are mostly set in LAX, which was the intended destination of Oceanic Airlines Flight 815.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Bellagio, Las Vegas

Bellagio is a luxury, AAA Five Diamond award-winning hotel and casino located on the Las Vegas Strip in the Paradise area of unincorporated Clark County, Nevada, USA and a member of The Leading Hotels of the World. It is owned by MGM Resorts International and was built on the site of the demolished Dunes hotel and casino. The resort serves as the seat of the corporate headquarters for MGM Resorts International and is considered the main flagship resort of the gaming company.

Inspired by the Lake Como resort of Bellagio in Italy, Bellagio is famed for its elegance. One of its most notable features is an 8-acre (3.2 ha) lake between the building and the Strip, which houses the Fountains of Bellagio, a large dancing water fountain synchronized to music.

Inside Bellagio, Dale Chihuly's Fiori di Como, composed of over 2,000 hand-blown glass flowers, covers 2,000 sq ft (190 m2) of the lobby ceiling. Bellagio is home to Cirque du Soleil's aquatic production "O".

Film history

* The Bellagio and its fountains are featured in the 2007 film Lucky You and the 2008 film 21.
* The Bellagio was featured prominently in the remake of Ocean's Eleven. The curved staircase that Tess Ocean (played by Julia Roberts) descended was removed during a 2006 remodel to accommodate the entrance pathway from a newly built hotel tower, called The Spa Tower. New shops and restaurants fill the space. The fictitious vault for the three casinos that were robbed (MGM Grand, Mirage, and Bellagio) owned by Terry Benedict (played by Andy GarcĂ­a) was located beneath the Bellagio.
* In the 2007 film Ocean's Thirteen, Daniel Ocean (played by George Clooney) is talking about The Dunes Hotel (which was situated on the same place before the Bellagio was built) while he is standing in front of the Fountains of Bellagio together with Rusty Ryan (played by Brad Pitt).
* In the 2009 film 2012, The Bellagio, along with the rest of The Strip, was destroyed while the dome of the hotel is nearly crashed into by the giant plane similar to the Antonov An-225.
* In the 2009 film The Hangover, the Bellagio fountains are featured in the opening scenes. Towards the end of the film, Doug (played by Justin Bartha) finds Bellagio chips in his pocket after being found.
* In 2010 another remake of Ocean's Eleven featuring Owen McLeod prominently features the Italian styled hotel/casino along with the famous Bellagio fountains and the Boulevard.


3600 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109

No. of rooms 3,933
Total gaming space 116,000 sq ft (10,800 m2)

www: http://www.bellagio.com/

The Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco

The Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) houses 20th century and contemporary works of art. It moved to its current building in the South of Market neighborhood in 1995 and now attracts more than 600,000 visitors annually. The Palace of the Legion of Honor holds primarily European antiquities and works of art at its Lincoln Park building modeled after its Parisian namesake. It is administered by Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, which also operates the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park. The de Young's collection features American decorative pieces and anthropological holdings from Africa, Oceania and the Americas. Prior to construction of its current copper-clad structure, completed in 2005, the de Young also housed the Asian Art Museum, which, with artifacts from over 6,000 years of history across Asia, moved into the former public library next to Civic Center in 2003.

Opposite the Music Concourse from the de Young stands the California Academy of Sciences, a natural history museum that also hosts the Morrison Planetarium and Steinhart Aquarium. Its current structure, featuring a living roof, is an example of sustainable architecture and opened in 2008. The Palace of Fine Arts, built originally for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition, has since 1969 housed the Exploratorium, an interactive science museum.

Old Chinatown, Los Angeles

The first Chinatown, centered around Alameda and Macy Streets, was established about 1880. Residents were evicted to make room for Union Station, causing the formation of the New Chinatown.Reaching its heyday from 1890 to 1910, Chinatown grew to approximately 15 streets and alleys containing 200 buildings. It was large enough to boast a Chinese Opera theatre, three temples, its own newspaper, and a telephone exchange.

From the early 1910s Chinatown began to decline. Symptoms of a corrupt Los Angeles discolored the public's view of Chinatown; gambling houses, opium dens, and a fierce tong warfare severely reduced business in the area. As tenants and lessees rather than outright owners, the residents of Old Chinatown were threatened with impending redevelopment and as a result the owners neglected upkeep on their buildings.[3] Eventually, the entire area was sold and resold, as entrepreneurs and town developers fought over usage of the area. After 30 years of continual decay, a Supreme Court ruling approved condemnation of the entire area to allow for the construction of the new major rail terminal, Union Station.

"The original Chinatown's only remaining edifice is the two-story Garnier Building, once a residence and meeting place for immigrant Chinese," according to Angels Walk – Union Station/El Pueblo/Little Tokyo/Civic Center guide book. The Chinese American Museum is now located in Garnier Building.