Los Angeles – A Melbournian’s View

I have now been in LA for 10 action packed days. I have been to theme parks, travelled on the Metro, walked for miles (they don’t say kilometres over here). I have confused the locals with my funny accent, eaten new and interesting foods and even taken part in a couple of uni classes. So after this short period of time, what are my thoughts?

The biggest thing to strike me about LA is the vast divide between the haves and the have nots. Seeing the beautiful homes in Beverley Hills, and even the more modest hills around downtown, is a huge contrast to the number of people living on the streets.

When walking around the city you see many homeless sleeping on any available bench or street corner, or hanging out in their shelters put together from tarps and shopping trolleys. I am amazed that the shops have any trolleys left as all homeless seem to keep their worldly possessions in one. You see them walking around, trolleys overflowing, often with items salvaged from the trash that can be recycled for cash. Some have pets, which are their prized and most valuable possession. You often smell the acrid stench of urine whilst walking down the streets.

Yet as scary as these people appear to an outsider, for the most part they keep to themselves. The tent and tarp villages are clustered together along the side of freeways or main roads, normally near a church. Many seem to have some form of mental illness, yet they seem to be forgotten by the system.

Despite this I find LA to be a very clean and safe city. Catching the metro late at night, there are police and security both on the platforms and on the trains, and both are clean and graffiti free. In fact I don’t really recall seeing any graffiti. There are bins on most corners – even in suburban areas. Melbourne could learn a lot from LA in terms of keeping the city clean.

Well I have two more days in this fascinating city, and whilst I look forward to the familiarity of home, I have absolutely loved my time in this diverse city, with its snow capped mountains, exciting beaches, thrilling theme parks and incredible cultural offerings. If you have thought about adding this city to your list, I would highly recommend it.

Marianna Barker



Photo Shoot in LA

Those that follow my photography would know that I specialise in Portrait Photography. Being in Los Angeles provided the perfect opportunity to do a photo shoot with my son / trumpet player Josh Rogan.

We started in the gardens of the Walt Disney Concert Hall. There are many wonderful and interesting surfaces that can be incorporated into images.

Being a professional trumpet player, Josh requires images for his website and publicity. I wanted my images to capture something of how Josh fits into LA and the passion he feels for his instrument and playing. I hope you enjoy these images. Please feel free to comment and let me know what styles you like/dislike.

Marianna Barker



Disneyland – was a 50 year wait worth it?

Since I was a little child watching Walt Disney on a Sunday evening in front of the television, I have dreamed of going to Disneyland – “The Happiest Place in the World”.

As the years have passed, the desire to go there never left me, but the likelihood that I would get there, seemed remote. Opportunity presented itself, when my son Josh went to study in LA and I could combine a visit to see him with my long awaited visit to Disneyland.

The morning started early with a 30 minute Uber ride out to Anaheim. Having purchased tickets online, it did not take long to get through the gates, after passing through security, where the staff were very pleasant.

Then there it was in front of me. That familiar building with the face of Mickey in flowers in front.

Entrance to Disneyland


We quickly made our way down Main Street with it’s dizzying array of shops, towards Tomorrowland. They have a terrific system called “Fast Pass” where you can get a ticket for your chosen ride, come back at an allotted time and be in a fast queue.

That was one of the downsides about Disneyland, the queues, but given the amount of people that visit, it is to be expected. Between Fast Passes and an app that let’s you see the wait times on all rides, it doesn’t become a huge issue. The other thing that helps is that the park was open until 11pm.

After a mad car ride (son was driving) and a submarine trip to see Nemo, we were off to Storybook land where the tune of “It’s a small world” is on perpetual loop.

Seeing this was having one of my childhood memories materialise before my eyes. We joined the queue to hop into the little boats that would take us on our world tour.

From Fanatsy Land, thru Toontown, to Frontier Land, Adventureland, New Orleans Square and Critter County, we did it all. Zipping around on Rollercaosters, Climbing through Tarzan’s tree house, then visiting the Haunted Mansion, meeting Mickey Mouse, it was like being a child again.

Late in the evening we found a good vantage point to watch the Eletcrical Parade. What an explosion of colour and light. Truly magical.

And that is the thing with Disneyland, it is truly magical. Walt Disney’s vision has made a place that I believe, if you still have a child within you, should be on your list of things to experience.

Did it live up to my expectations after a 50 year wait – NO. It exceeded them on every level. If you get the chance to visit, I believe you too will find it “The happiest place in the World”.

Marianna Barker