Once disembarked from our very late Amtrak train (it was our worst overnight trip but, thankfully, our last) we were whisked away into the heat and smog of Los Angeles for a guided tour of the city, including, inevitably, a stop-off in Hollywood. The city is a vast, 1,214² kilometre, 30 million-peopled sprawl. We were never going to have the time to get to such cultural highlights as the Getty Museum and Foundation and had to content ourselves with the main sights. Hollywood is, perhaps not surprisingly, a tacky shopping mall with a few historic cinemas dotted about (the Kodak Theater and Grauman’s Chinese Theater in particular) and a studio or two to visit. And beautifully-palmed Beverly Hills is off-bounds to tourist buses. Already, though, from our whistestop tour through the traffic, it was evident why this area is such an economic powerhouse – and not just of the big corporations. One of the reasons for that sprawl is a vast number of low-rise warehouses and factories. And we gave up counting the television studios. If so many people live here, including so many stars, it is because this is where the jobs are to be found.