Disneyland Westwood Irangeles Aging Walls Smoking Outdoors iFly Michael Phelps Waiting Room Behrouz Vossoughi Motorola RAZR v3i - Nokia N82 Naked Juice Shopping Cart Skate Chipotle Los Angeles Bikers Burbank Bookstore Cheeseburger Porn Star Kia Rio Kristin Nicole Price (1979-2008) Nokia N82 low light House Party Bachelor Party The Room Hush, Hollywood Cinespace, Hollywood Drive Thru Laundry Thousand Oaks Mall Entourage Los Angeles City Block
Mickey will greet you at the airport.
Mr. Yazdi outside his Iranian bookstore on Westwood Blvd., south of Wilshire Blvd. in Westwood. Not sure why they don't officially name this neighborhood Little Iran. Persian bookstores, ice cream shops, markets, beauty salons and restaurants help create a sense of a Tehran away from Tehran.
Even in America objects age and walls crack.
The culture of not smoking indoors.
A girl skydiving at Universal City Walk. Flying behind a glass wall in an enclosed space. This has got to symbolize something.
If Michael Phelps was a country, he would finish high up in the standings with 8 gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He alone has won more gold than all the gold medals Iran has won in at least the last four olympics. In the absence of Iranian athletes, it was nice having the American champions to cheer for.
A waiting room where you can hear a pin drop.
1970s Iranian superstar, Behrouz Vossoughi in a scene from one of his most famous films Ghaysar. It was featured on a documentary called Iran: A Cinematographic Revolution that I watched on Netflix. For some reason watching it cleared up any doubts I had about going back to Iran. I must go back. I must contribute.
I have retired my 1.3 megapixels Motorola RAZR V3i. This is the phone that I have used to take every picture over the last 18 months. Starting with this very image, it has been replaced with a 5.0 megapixels Nokia N82. So the quality of the photos will improve and more importantly, you can get high-res versions of photos you like and print them!
Here's a name you'll never see for natural juice bottles in Iran!
The term "shopping cart" makes me think of shopping carts in online stores, not the "old school" shopping carts found outside super markets!
Speaking of "old school," at an old school roller skating rink in central Los Angeles.
At Chipotle Mexican restaurant in Burbank, California. Chipotle I'm told is the fastest growing fast food chain in the United States.
A couple of bikers on the 101 Freeway. My personal experience with bikers has been a good one. I once shot a commercial for a group called "Bikers Against Child Abuse." As you can imagine, they were a nice group of people. They did however show up with their minivans which I thought was odd.
A hole in the wall bookstore in Burbank. A lot of people outside of the United States think Americans are the arrogant dumb people they see in stupid reality TV shows that originate from here. Just judging by the sheer number of books published and sold in the US each year, you have to beg to differ.
A tasty charbroiled burger topped with mushrooms, grilled onions and bacon, with a side of garlic fries.
At Sardo's, also known as "Pornstar Karaoke Bar" in Burbank, where a porn star was being interviewed by a sleazy looking man.
I saw a silver Kia Rio -- my car in Tehran -- and it reminded me of "back home." When I am in Tehran, I often see things that remind of "back home" in the US. Seems like I'm always home away from home.
Kristin Nicole Price, a friend and a former classmate of mine at both USC and Thousand Oaks High School passed away after a life long battle with Cystic Fibrosis. I attended her memorial service where I was inspired by her life story. You can send donations in her name to Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, 6931 Arlington Road, Bethesda MD, 20814, Attn: Bruce Joyner.
I am still pushing the limits of my new camera phone. At extreme low light situations it adds white dust in the underexposed areas. Overall quality is better, but one annoying thing about it is that I cannot turn off the shutter sound. Apparently there's a US privacy law that now prohibits silent photography! Isn't that censorship?
Chips, soda and alcohol on standby before a house party. Parties in Iran are the same, with two minor differences: 1. You can't find the famous red party cups in Iran and 2. in Iran they usually serve food to guests whereas here chips alone will do.
My friend RK is getting married next week. As one of his groomsmen I helped organize his bachelor party. No photos from the actual bachelor party (for obvious reasons), but we all went out bar hopping in Hollywood after the debauchery. A bachelor party in case you don't know is a "celebration" of the groom's final nights as a "free" man before the commitment of marriage.
A girl and a guy performing at The Room in Hollywood.
A jazz band at Hush in Hollywood. A beer at a Hollywood bar costs $6-$8. A mixed drink anywhere from $10-$16.
At Cinespace on Hollywood and Ivar in Hollywood. Note to self: bars, clubs and alcoholic drinks are overrated. No need to miss them when in Iran.
At the drive-thru window of El Pollo Loco.
There are no laundry rooms and or laundromats where you can do your laundry in Iran. A random observation worth noting. Plenty of dry cleaning places, but no laundromats. Furthermore, not many people use dryers back in Iran. I am sure that's better for the planet.
At the newly renovated Thousand Oaks Mall, possibly one of the largest malls in southern California.
I haven't watched much TV over the past decade. But every now and then I catch an episode of a popular TV show. Few notes after watching an episode of Entourage: 1. HDTV is amazing! 2. DVR can be addictive. 3. Entourage is a reminder of the kind of life that is possible in Los Angeles. One that differs from the lives of majority of people living here. But a lifestyle that sure as hell is appealing!

Los Angeles is a vast metropolitan area with numerous cities and neighborhoods -- from the posh palm-tree clad streets of Beverly Hills to the beat-up neighborhoods of south central LA. But for me this photo is an average of all these various places. This is what your average Los Angeles city block looks like and chances are you'll experience it from the seat of your car and not on foot. So clearly, a tourist whose views of LA are limited to movies and TV shows originating from here might be very disappointed. Specially since LA is not the most tourist friendly city.

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