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PLATFORM : Falling for L.A.

September 16, 1993| ALDA DONOHUE, a teacher who lives in Westlake Village, has traveled widely in the United States and abroad. Recently she decided to "do" downtown Los Angeles as a tourist. She told The Times:

My husband received a coupon for a free night at a Hyatt, anywhere. My friends couldn't believe we'd "waste" it on a weekend in downtown Los Angeles. They warned us not to walk around after dark.

We had a wonderful time.

We parked our car at the hotel and left it there. We walked everywhere. We walked down the new Bunker Hill steps, modeled after the Spanish Steps in Rome. We watched the amazing water fountains at California Plaza. We walked through the elegant old Biltmore, which reminded us of hotels in Vienna. We appreciated the very attractive renovation of the Central Library.

We walked down some stairs, put 25 cents into a slot and rode the Metro. We got off at Westlake, walked around, went back and rode to the other end, Union Station. The Metro was clean. It was efficient. It was delightful.

We returned to the hotel and sat in our 17th-floor room and just stared at the city. The skyscrapers looked glamorous at night, bathed in special lighting.

When it was time for dinner, we walked five blocks to the Sheraton (and five blocks back, in the evening, with no problem). Our waiter spoke Italian to the diners on our left and French to those on our right. The feeling began to come over us that we were in a city with class, an exciting city, an international city, a city we were proud to be "from."

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