Without going into too many details, I'm staying in Hollywood (and by that, I mean I can walk out on the back porch and stare directly across the valley at the Hollywood sign. It's pretty swank.) The view is tremendous. The birding also promises to be good--already got a Wilson's warbler (lifer) and that was just by idily scanning the shrubbery. I'm just down the street from Runyon Canyon Park, which is a little chunk of chapparal in the middle of quite urban LA, and I'm looking forward to walking through that a couple of times.
The buildings around here are bloody amazing. They sent a towncar around for me, and dude, some of the neighborhoods we drove through...all these bizarre stucco buildings, lots of little round towers and archways, tiled in terracotta and absolutely smothered in flowering shrubs. I had forgotten (if I ever really knew) how lush Southern California is. I mean, the South is a lot greener, that kind of mad intense green, but the flowers! We went through one narrow little alleyway that was so overhung with hibiscus and datura and oleander and bouganvilliea and stuff I can't even put a name to that it was like driving through a shadowy floral tunnel. I'd kill for some of these houses, and not even the big ones, just the little stucco terra-cotta shingled places. Everything's got a courtyard and is overgrown, usually with flowers. Now I know why people move out here! (Nobody tell me what those places cost. My heart couldn't take the strain.)
Have already started work, but am pretty jet-lagged--had to get up at 5:30 AM, and I think that's like 2:30 local time, so I'm pretty well running on fumes. The sleep on the plane wasn't worth much.
May go take a walk while it's still daylight out. Will report back later!