I’m very non-discriminatory in my obsessive interest in suburban edgelands. An ultra-wealthy enclave is just as worthy of close examination as a light industrial estate or the banks of a canal. In fact, experiencing the ordinary banal familiar everyday of luxurious living when nothing is happening in the lives of the fabulously wealthy is possibly more fascinating than anything else. Perhaps because it’s less rarely encountered.
Which is a long-winded introduction to the residential neighbourhood of Beverly Hills: the sort of morning running territory that makes you wish you were in training for a marathon with no three-line whip deadline for family breakfast.
The guidebooks say no one walks in LA generally. This I can confirm in relation to Beverly Hills north of Wilshire. To be fair, there’s not much driving either. Lots of nice cars on driveways but very little movement.
Most observable movement of any kind tends to be the repetitive type: clipping of greenery, scrubbing of concrete, vacuuming of sidewalks. In fact, there’s a soothing sort of mechanical background hummmmm to the place in the early hours of the day. I felt very untidy as I ran the gauntlet of grass verges and feared being swept up or pruned if I stopped to take a photo.
Actually, I didn’t take many photos. The chocolate box variety and range of architecture to admire made it hard to settle on any one as a subject. It was more fun to play a variety of games: Which one would I live in (if I absolutely had to)? Which was the ugliest? Most expensive? Most pretentious? Most aesthetically pleasing? Etc., etc.
Then there were the scents and the perfumes at every turn. Stephanotis, previously only known to me as an attractive evergreen conservatory plant over-greedy for attention and care, grows here like a weed. I’m envious. I’m also envious of the profusion of bougainvillea everywhere, and succulent succulents.
My only real complaint is that I wasn’t appropriately shod for wet pavements. The downside of the early morning run is that after all that vacuuming outside, it’s the time for a good sidewalk wash.
Otherwise the armed response guys may be forced to intercede.