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Hints for the Newcomer : A Mini-Guide Offers Some Helpful Ideas

November 08, 1986|LYNN SMITH | Times Staff Writer

Los Angeles . . . :

a) has more murals than any other city in the world;

b) is the home of America's biggest single concentration of bureaucrats and politicians outside of Washington, D.C.;

c) is one of the most exciting cities in the world for breakfast lovers.

All true , according to Bobo Karlsson, a Swedish travel writer, unabashed Los Angeles lover, and author of "Mini-Guide to the Pleasures and Pastimes of L.A." published and distributed by the Greater Los Angeles Visitors and Convention Bureau.

In his mini-guide, Karlsson also informs his readers it is not true that L.A. is "a bunch of suburbs with no downtown" or that you "absolutely must have a car in California." Realistically, though, Karlsson knows the unexpected distances can drive a tourist nuts and warns: "Choosing the wrong part of town to stay in can be a major mistake." He further notes the chances of getting any information about bus lines from the natives is "zero" since they all drive cars.

However, for intrepid riders on the RTD ("one of the most modern bus networks in the world"), those who have managed to rent a car, or downtown foot pilgrims, Karlsson recommends all the theme parks ("little fantasy worlds built by humans"), Frederick's of Hollywood ("a remarkable institution"), Manhattan Beach Boulevard in the evenings ("like a scene straight out of American Graffiti"), and for fast food, Tommy's (hamburgers) or Canter's delicatessen; for punk food, Danny's Dogs at Santa Monica Boulevard and Vista Street in West Hollywood ("The Flying Burrito Brothers would feel at home with the local skinheads, who like to throw food at each other. The older gentlemen who hover in the periphery might either be child welfare officials or talent scouts from the record companies.")

Karlsson sends seekers of "young, wild" beaches to Zuma. "The people around you will be reading surfer magazines, playing their radios loud, squeezing lemons into their blond hair and keeping a close eye on the opposite sex."

Hollywood is "a mixture of charming historical sights, celebrity nostalgia, peeling glamour and depressing American cityscape"; West Hollywood "contains more of 'today's Hollywood' " and Malibu is "Hollywood-by-the-Sea." Movie stars will be hiding, he warns, but might be spied in Malibu at the Country Store, George Market or La Scala Malibu. Since Hollywood dance clubs such as Lunch, In the Pink, Ariel's, Dirty Box and Power Tools are constantly changing their names and addresses, investigative visitors should seek advice from employees at Melrose Avenue boutiques, steady customers at Al's Bar downtown or people at the next booth at Ben Frank's Coffee Shop on Sunset Boulevard, he writes.

There's only one reason, he says, that any sensible tourist would visit Anaheim. (Hint: it starts with a D.)

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