by Jenna Robbins, Southern California Travel Examiner
Esotouric is one of those things that makes me love LA.
When I first moved here, I knew little about my adopted city, relying mainly on the oddball L.A. Bizarro to fill the gaps in my knowledge. But my guidebook of choice didn't get updated after its 1997 printing, so, while still a fun read, I could no longer count on it for offbeat day trips, as many of the sites -- such as Santa's Village and The Ambassador Hotel -- are no longer with us.
Then I heard about Esotouric. As the company's name suggests, this ain't your star-map-following, out-of-towners' tour. Even native Angelenos will learn something new -- and not always something you wanted to know -- after embarking on tours with such names as "Blood & Dumplings" and "Haunts of a Dirty Old Man" (after the tour's inspiration, Charles Bukowski).
As unique as themes are the tour guides themselves. Crimebo (pictured; photo by Josh Cain) leads passengers through the seamier side of Pasadena (who even knew such a thing existing?). Guide Kim Cooper's knowledge of the macabre is so vast that she once posted a crime a day to her blog; naturally, she leads the Crime Bus Tours. Even crime-writer James Ellroy (L.A. Confidential, The Black Dahlia) has been known to lead the occasional busload on a grizzly trail of sepulchral sites.
Tours are not recommended for children. Does that even need to be said?
For more info: Esotouric 323-223-2767 | www.esotouric.com
Causes Kim Cooper Supports
Los Angeles Conservancy/ Modcom
California Bat Conservation Fund