Sunday, April 7, 2013

California Dreamin' - Part Two

Day Four: LA at Night

After a final lunch and goodbye with Amy, Rachel and I boarded the Amtrak Surfliner towards Los Angeles.  We reached Chatsworth- where we met Rachel's oldest friend (from 2nd grade)- Heather.  Heather drove us to her house, informing us that Chatsworth is "the porn capital of the world" and that they have a group of Mexican drug lords on the nearby streets.  It was a very different feel from Irvine, which was a bit sleepy and mostly students or retirees.  We talked at Heather's house, meeting some of her five housemates, before her fiancee Jeff came home.  Rachel and I then took Heather and Jeff to dinner at Los Toros, a nearby Mexican restaurant with good food.  

After the meal, Jeff drove us through Topanga canyon so we could look out over the valley at night.  We drove to the Pacific, and stopped at Santa Monica Pier- which has a small Coney Island-style amusement park.  The park and pier were lit up, but it was growing very cold.  We wandered the pier, looking at the lights and sights, while sipping hot chocolate.  Suddenly a voice calls out my name, and I spin around.  It was John- one of the teachers I worked with last year while I was student teaching.  That was a very strange coincidence- though he had moved to LA last year.  After the pier closed, Jeff continued his driving tour, taking us through Beverly Hills and Hollywood- which were cool at night.  Hollywood (and LA in general) was far more spread out than I'd ever imagined it.  In East-coast cities everything is compact.  Sunset Blvd has a section with billboards and lights that feels a lot like Times Square- but it covers about 15 solid blocks- while Times Square is only two.  In many respects Los Angeles felt like a single thing, and more like a series of small cities and  suburbs all strung together.  We felt this way even more by the end of the trip.  By the end of the driving tour, both Rachel and I had fallen asleep in the car, so Heather and Jeff just drove us back to their place.  

Day Five: Hollywood

Can't go to the LA area and not see Hollywood, right?  The above pic is a photo I took- I just added the framing to make it more "glamorous".  Rachel and I woke on Wednesday morning and Heather took us to the Orange Line- it's part of the LA Metro, but is a busway- a road that only the bus travels on.  We took the busway to the real subway, then went to Hollywood and Highland- right in the heart of the touristy area- though the actual films and TV are mostly made in Burbank and Studio City (we passed many of the studios later on our trip- though we did not actually visit any).  We walked the "Walk of Fame"- looking at the stars left for celebrities, and enjoying the sights.  We had lunch at a Vegan House, including vegan desserts we later found in the grocery store.  We then walked back, stopping for ice cream sodas at the Disney Soda Fountain Store.  We crossed the street to Grauman's Chinese Theatre, where all the Hollywood movies premiere, and where the Oscars are held.  Iron Man 3 was actually premiering there the following day- so we were glad to go when the area was open and we could see the foot and handprints.  We then went to the nearby open-air mall, where Rachel and Heather shopped for a long time.  They continued their shopping in another mall (Rachel often complains that she misses shopping with girls, so I indulged her on this trip)- and we ended at Follow Your Heart- which makes some of Rachel's favorite vegan products.  We ended the evening by watching Wreck-it Ralph, which we enjoyed a lot.  That was also when my camera filled up with no more space- luckily Heather burned the photos to CD for me, so I was able to keep shooting the next day.  

Day Six: Zuma Beach 

On Thursday, March 28th, Rachel and I had breakfast with Heather for the last time.  Then Heather drove us through Topanga Canyon (where we'd driven at night two days prior) during the day, stopping once to look at the views.  We then drove to the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) which runs right along the coastline from San Diego all the way to Washington State.  We passed through Malibu, ogling the cliff-side mansions, then went to Zuma Beach.  Heather, who works from time to time as a photographer, used my camera to do an "engagement shoot" at the beach.  Rachel and I walked around, discovering that I have a very hard time opening my eyes in sunlight.  We plan to use some of the photos in an engagement book, which guests will sign at the wedding.  We also were looking for photos for a "save the date".  As we were shooting, we noticed something oozing from the sand, and being carried in from the water.  It was tar!  All three of us ended up with a lot of tar on our feet, which we could not get off.  One of the people at the beach said the best way to remove tar is actually mayonnaise.  After Zuma, we drove back through the mountains, and Heather stopped at a drive through for mayo and napkins.  We drove to the restaurant where we were meeting my friend Rachel Y.  I texted Rachel from the lot, letting her know that we were currently stuck in the parking lot covering our feet and hands in mayo, and then scrubbing with the napkins.  When we went into the restaurant, we laughed, saying we'd hug later, since the three of us smelled of tar and mayo.  Still, our time at the beach was well worth it, and our time with Heather was unforgettable.

With Rachel, we were about to start the third and final leg of our trip...
To be concluded....          

No comments:

Post a Comment