Los Angeles isn't for the faint of heart. It pulses and flexes its sprawling physique around you like a Burmese Python. Occasionally terrifying, perpetually aggravating and constantly ringing in your ears with its symphony of indecipherable noise, it will test your mettle the moment you cross its borders. But Los Angeles, as flawed as it may be, also has a rhythm and heartbeat that's as exhilarating and vivid as few other places on earth.
It's filled with angels and devils from every conceivable walk of life. From Venice Beach to Olvera Street, Malibu to Griffith Park, it can put a bounce in your step and allow you to dream, perhaps only for a moment or two but dream all the same, as its varied landscapes remind you you're alive. Every inch of the city looks like a painting, the impressionism of downtown, minimalism of the westside and surrealism of the beach sparking your imagination like a fever dream. That's why they make movies in La La Land. It's a place of wonder and escape.
As lovely and infuriating, invigorating and maddening as Los Angeles can be, however, like most things in life, too much can be corrosive to your soul. Those beach-side fever dreams will always melt into LA's noirish nighttime shadows and, sadly, the longer you're there, the briefer those dreams will be. So enjoy them while you can but always be grateful when the Hollywood sign is in your rearview mirror.