I've been to LA four times, and still seen very little of it, but visiting friends on my last trip, they took me on a quick cook's tour of the area.

It wasn't the best time for a hike into the Hollywood Hills, a recent fire having laid waste to most of the trees.

And while the smog was nowhere near as bad as my first visit, back in the 80s, the haze was still an ever-present feature:

But you don't have to go far down the coast to find rather more scenic territory. Malibu:

Where the university had a flag for each victim of 9/11:

And the absolutely gorgeous Santa Monica. If I was going to live anywhere in the area (and could afford it), this would be the place!

A friend who's into shabby seaside chic had recently organised a photo day in Southend. I think, on balance, I have to favour Santa Monica Pier ...

LA itself? Well, we drove through it ...

Maybe next time.