California Dreamin’ #1 – when Bajan Reporter was in L.A. via HBO

All the leaves are brown
(All the leaves are brown)
And the sky is gray.
(And the sky is gray).
I’ve been for a walk
(I’ve been for a walk)
On a winter’s day.
(On a winter’s day).

I’d be safe and warm
(I’d be safe and warm)
if I was in L.A.
(If I was in L.A.)
California dreamin’
(California dreamin’) on such a winter’s day…

  • Writer: GILLIAM, MICHELLE / PHILLIPS, JOHN EDMUND ANDREW

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Not so long ago, I was part of a Caribbean contingent far from home – I had a whirlwind visit to Los Angeles thanks to Home Box Office, showing how the Internet makes connections easier and the popularity of Bajan Reporter grows exponentially every day.

Art Deco styled chair in Sofitel's Lobby, with old Silver Quarters glued on, plus many gorgeous and rare Hollywood photos of which they offered print copies on request - so you know the fee was not slight!

Art Deco styled chair in Sofitel’s Lobby, with old Silver Quarters glued on, plus many gorgeous and rare Hollywood photos of which they offered print copies on request – so you know the fee was not slight!

Due to my coverage of their top shows, it eventually led to their asking if I wanted to visit for a brisk two days? Does a vampire adore faerie blood? I thank God for the B1/B2 visa I have, but then I had to rush and renew my passport, which I did not realise had expired – my trip had more drama than Daenyrys acquiring the Unsullied!

Outside Grauman's Chinese Theatre, if you had snapped a shot close up? They'd expect you to cough over some loot! That's how they make a living...

Outside Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, if you had snapped a shot close up? They’d expect you to cough over some loot! That’s how they make a living…

It seems the videos and press releases I carry on True Blood and Game of Thrones rank fairly high in Google, this led to a growing synergy with HBO’s Miami office. For me, the visit to LA was an eye opener in so many ways…

This was where I stayed, located on Beverly Boulevard, this was known for cinema stars in the 50's and the staff while formal & professional were warm and considerate. I was across the street at a yet to be fully open Bloomingdale's on a Friday morning about 8:30 LA time which is 11:30 am here!

This was where I stayed, located on Beverly Boulevard, this was known for cinema stars in the 50’s and the staff while formal & professional were warm and considerate. I was across the street at a yet to be fully open Bloomingdale’s on a Friday morning about 8:30 LA time which is 11:30 am here!

Airport Security from Miami to Los Angeles, in order to prevent another 9/11 is so strict it almost made me miss my connecting flight! I discovered I was more fit than I thought, wow, did I run to grab that last seat… My stay was at Sofitel in Beverly Hills, for True Blood fans this was when Bill & Sookie went to Dallas, this was the hotel used to look like they were in the Lone Star state. The room just did not have a docking station if you have an iPhone, but a BOSE radio for your listening needs. The windows were bolted on my floor, I was in 423, maybe there were previous suicide attempts? Meanwhile – I can’t really complain for Barbados’ roads since LA’s were about the same, that’s the truth!

If I needed Medical treatment, the Cedars-Sinai was not so far off, but I doubt even my Health Plan can cover it, they are one of the top hospitals in the world!

If I needed Medical treatment, the Cedars-Sinai was not so far off, but I doubt even my Health Plan can cover it, they are one of the top hospitals in the world!

But I was grateful for the chance HBO afforded me, the Sofitel is a very swank five-star establishment, I was one of five regional media – apart from yours truly? There were Editors from Bahamas, Jamaica, Turks & Caicos along with Caymans. We had a grand time, we visited both the Warner Brothers Studios and also sat in on a recording of Real Time with Bill Maher.

My intrigue was learning that if the Caribbean can develop a greater base of following with HBO, then not only would we have a Caribbean channel which allows for English, but we can have HBO on Demand as well as HBO to GO which are currently limited to the Continental USA, this is why they have an avid interest to see how Flow or Columbus Communications will perform in this basin, if there’s sufficient demand then what was limited to America would essentially be universal coverage.

When we passed the studio, we had to stop talking, as their red light was flashing which meant a film or TV program or a Video Commercial was being made right then...

When we passed the studio, we had to stop talking, as their red light was flashing which meant a film or TV program or a Video Commercial was being made right then…

The proof of the pudding was not the eating but the app, on my Tablet I was able to download both Marvel as well as HBO apps while in the USA which I could not do when here, yet when I returned to Barbados, the apps were not running correctly since eCommerce here is severely limited (Barbados only recently acquired the right to have PayPal accounts via debit card) and most Caribbean folk shy from Credit Cards as the interest rates make them nervous…

So there are now extra reasons why many Bajans would like to see Flow succeed as a viable alternative to DirecTV or Multi-Choice.

So, how was California? An eye opener…

LA had Jewish Synagogues like how Barbados has Anglican Churches, I only saw a single Mosque in the area I toured! Pet hotels and Pet spas are just as frequent as locating a KFC here, many Californians adore their dogs maybe more than themselves – I saw a lady with a baby hairless chihuahua perched on her café table… Eating from the same bowl as her? I was told if the dog is under regular spa treatments its mouth is probably cleaner than her own!

A chance to appear as though I was trying to catch the Hogwarts Express, I'd have sooner spent some cash if it was a scene in Bon Temps or Westeros... Perhaps Littlefinger's? LOL!

A chance to appear as though I was trying to catch the Hogwarts Express, I’d have sooner spent some cash if it was a scene in Bon Temps or Westeros… Perhaps Littlefinger’s? LOL!

Marijuana in California is like Rum in Barbados, you can acquire a License which allows you to use the substance and once you see a green clinic, such as Herbupuncture, then you visit and make a transaction. While on Venice Beach, I saw a guy who had a sign – “WILL SING FOR POT” I am serious; the only reason my camera was not with me is that it was packed away to allay Security since I was killing time before my flight back to Bim, otherwise my SanDisk of 4 GB’s would be full!

Once again, my thanks for both Miguel Oliva & Melody Regalado for making sure the team and myself had a ball… Plus they made sure my meagre Spanish was well exercised, once they knew I could muster more than a few words, LOL!

My pal and probably the only character more Looney than moi! ;)

My pal and probably the only character more Looney than moi! 😉

In my next segment, I will fill you in on how to have a great time while attending the recording of a live talk-show, plus what I saw and did while at Warner Brothers!

 

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