California Dreamin’… and Drivin’…

by Dorothea

Speedin’, cruisin’ or crawlin’: the car is King in Los Angeles

Palm3Palm Tree on Rodeo drive

As a pretty savvy driver, who can take on any Parisian around the Arc de Triomph in Paris, I find driving in LA a whole other proposition. If you are zooming along, or crawling at a snails pace, LA is the city where you spend more time in a car than anywhere else!

So here you are, cruising along, minding the speed limit on one of the twelve lane freeways when you are overtaken from the left and right! It is quite daunting initially, but soon you get the hang of it like the millions of other drivers in LA.

FreewayLAA Los Angeles freeway in rush hour

I am lucky that my friends lend me their gleaming new Jaguar with GPS, because without GPS, you are cooked. I remember when driving in LA involved mapping out your routes in advance and having dozens of Post It’s on your dashboard.

Jaguar-F-Type-Coupe-4Jaguar F-type

There is also the “carpool lane” for 2 or more passengers. In LA 90% of the cars have only one person in it. The carpool lane is a tricky affair as you are only allowed “in and out” every so many miles. Of course, I can not take this lane with friends without thinking about the hilarious episode of “Curb your Enthusiasm” where Larry Davis hires a hooker to be able to take the lane to get on time to the game…

Curb“Curb your Enthusiasm”, season 4, episode 6

I can’t help loving driving in LA, listening to “Ventura Highway” by America, one of the songs that made me first dream about California and of course: “California Dreamin”, first recorded by The Mamas & the Papas in 1965. The song was covered by many artists, amongst them America and The Beach Boys. My favorite version is by José Feliciano, chosen by Jamiroquai as one of his favorite songs!

HockneyDavid Hockney, A Bigger Splash – 1967

I often have a bout of “California Dreamin” during the long dreary winter months in France…