2.11.2006

A Week Later, the LA Trip

Monica picked me up at the office on Friday. Heading out of Santa Fe — with the camera safely packed away — we spotted a bumper sticker: "My Other Car Is In The Arroyo."

From Albuquerque to Phoenix without incident; our "equipment" out of Phoenix was delayed arriving, so we managed to entertain ourselves for an extra hour. But it did mean that we were undeniably spending more time in airports than we were in the air.

Arrived at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank around 10 local time. Walking through the gates, wondering where the baggage claim is (they made us gate check our duffel in Albuquerque; the perils of boarding in "Zone 6"), step outside — and there it is, right outside the door. Looking around, Bob Hope has gotta be the smallest airport we've been in since Oaxaca City airport (also visiting Emi y Steffen). Burbank's airport was built in the '30s, originally for Lockheed's private use; we imagine that it's much like what the old National Airport was like.

Got our orange Cobalt and our trip was easier than I thought, out of Burbank, into Los Angeles, to our hotel. An odd little place, decent enough. We opened our door which bumped into the bed. But then turned on the lights, and there was a respectably sized kitchen; a large dressing (?) area outside of the largish bathroom. Clearly, was built as an apartment, which Steffen (when he made it over the next day) characterized as "classic Hollywood studio apartment."

About a year-and-a-half ago, I spent a week vacationing with Emi y Steffen. It was a quick overview of the Los Angeles area. Gardens at The Huntington, Santa Monica and the Pacific, grounds of UCLA and the Hammer (where Steffen works), Los Feliz and Little Armenia (their neighborhood), Silver Lake, Beverly Hills, the Getty, downtown and drinks at The Standard.

Opening the blinds Saturday morning . . . it was gray. Rochester, Seattle kind of gray. Where were we again? We were due at Emi y Steffen's around 10. Up in plenty of time to find breakfast. I remembered a place in their neighborhood, a local restaurant-type place where Quentin Tarantino allegedly wrote Reservoir Dogs. Couldn't recall the name, but figured I could find it. And I did. House of Pies. How could I forget a name like that? We had a filling breakfast among what looked to be pretty much the locals. And picked up a pie to bring over.

So we headed to their apartment, which is a cool little building dating from the '30s. They've got a small place, of course impeccably decorated. And we met for the first time little Isadora, who, courtesy of her mother, has a spectacular head of red hair with a great little wave. We hung out for a bit, caught up and visited. Emi and Isadora stayed behind and Steffen, Monica and I headed to the Hammer to catch Masters of American Comics. I've blogged excessively about the exhibit over at the DCC.

We spend a couple hours at the show, broke for a late lunch of noodle and/or rice bowl. Ducked back to the exhibit to round it out and spend some time at the bookstore.



Then decided to head out, battling the traffic, to Santa Monica to show Monica the beautiful southern California coast.



We found a parking spot easily enough (an accomplishment in itself) on Ocean Drive, overlooking the beach. Headed across the PCH and down to the beach. To the cold, gray, beach. There was a group playing volleyball (badly), a handful of folks around (one way to have the beach yourself). And one woman, who, as we watched, went into the water. Monica hadn't been in the water here yet, so we sent her into the surf.

(During all this driving, it was pledge week at KCRW [as it was on my last visit], so we wound up with the "classic" rock of Jack, the local version of Ed.)

Headed back to Emi y Steffen's apartment; Isadora was asleep for the night. We flipped through photos of their Oaxaca wedding, got takeout Thai, and visited some more. Isadora was up early that morning so we headed out before 10.

It had been a gray day, but it was still relatively warm in the evening. Our hotel was just on the other side of the block from Hollywood Boulevard, so we headed down there for a stroll. As I discovered on my first visit, it's kind of anticlimactic — it's a long street, sometimes in kind of dumpy area, but the main area's really commercial and toursity. Things were still hopping, mostly tourists still wandering about. A few singers, dancers were around, we went around the block, peoplewatching, then headed back through the big plaza, by the lines of people queued up to get into the cool club on the mezzanine.

Breakfast at Emi y Steffen's the next morning. We then gathered everyone up and headed over to the Museum of Contemporary Art for the second half of Masters of American Comics. Parking was easy enough, but the walking to the museum was tricky; because of construction, we wound up below the road with the entrance, on the service delivery level, with no way back up. We eventually made it, spent a couple hours at the show, and met up at the museum's coutyard outside (where it was a much nicer day).



Living in a desert, we required sushi. To Little Tokyo for a late lunch. In my earlier visit there, Steffen and I had headed to the big church downtown, which was a wonderful experience. Isadora was done for the day so Emi y Steffen dropped us at Our Lady of the Angels.



It's an amazing space, all concrete but colored to be much warmer. The entrance is next to the altar, you walk the length of the church with a few glimpses through the columns along the way. It opens behind the pews, bathed in the warm light of the alabaster windows. Tapestries line the walls, resembling frescoes, picturing saints with children in contemporary clothes. Photography is not prohibited, and though I felt a bit weird taking pictures, I got this shot. It's an amazing, spiritual place.



We were rushed through the cathedral, unfortunately, worried about getting to the airport on time. We took our chances and got on the 101, but made it to Burbank with plenty of time. Got out without trouble. Though there was a scare that came from not resetting my watch for the time change in Phoenix, made it back to Albuquerque and home late, late Sunday (Monday, really).

1 comment:

Ms. P said...

Great photos, and of course terrific writing.

We have 8 inches of snow in Colonial Village, Ruben is occasionally potty trained, and one of the large old dead trees on Troy Street (across from the courtyard that Elizabeth and the dog people live in) finally practically crushed two cars!