Early evening. I'm walking Hollywood Boulevard. Sharing the sidewalk with the dumpster divers and panhandlers, tattoo artists, bullshit artists, tour touts and pierced freaks.
The belligerent and the bewildered. Shops selling flick knives, drug paraphernalia and personal tazers. T-shirts three for $9.99.
There are hookah bars and hooker bars, sports bars and sports cars, deranged vets, the mentally unstable and far-too-thin teenage girls.
Too many of the guys look like Keith Richards and none of the girls look like J.Lo. All of the security guards are heavily armed.
It is easy to see why Hollywood Boulevard is known as the boulevard of broken dreams.
Just metres from five-star hotels and movie-star hangouts, myriad tourists seem oblivious to the street people and the stench of desperation that lingers in the air.
Think Darlinghurst or St Kilda on a bad night; throw in cheaper drugs, more easily available guns and more desperate people.
Add some tired buildings looking for tenants and fast-food outlets.
The glamour has long gone from here despite the movie stars on the Walk of Fame and the porn stars' handprints outside the Hustler shop.
Hollywood Boulevard, for me, anyway, is now just tawdry.
I don't think I'll be back any time soon.