Where was I?
In late January, I received an email from my friend Amanda asking if I could be a tour guide for her husband. Rob was travelling from their home in England to So Cal with his job and would be in my area.
After an exchange of emails, he decided on a route that would take us to some of LA’s more famous landmarks.
As with many of us, after living in an area for so long the “sights” blend into the background. I went to many of them when I first moved here, and maybe once or twice in the ensuing 16 years, but not in a while. I was actually looking forward to seeing some of these sites again.
He met me at my house early in the morning, a cold, rainy Saturday. Coming from England, I’m sure he was used to it, but for this sissy, all I wanted to do was climb back into my warm bed. Already up and dressed, and both starving, we went to a local restaurant, Johnny Rebs, for a big, warm, artery-clogging breakfast. We chatted over a most scrumptious Southern styled breakfast!
We left there quite full, and convinced we were not going to eat for the rest of the day! The skies were drizzly, but at least it wasn’t a downpour. After such a large meal, we thought a good walk around would be a way to work off some of that caloric intake!
We drove up to Griffith Observatory, (closed in January 2002, reopened in November 2006 after extensive renovations, almost burned to the ground in July 2007) to begin the second stop on our tour. Rob had goal of seeing the Hollywood sign, and it is visible from the Observatory. Tiny, but visible.
As I’ve written before of the Observatory, the park is lovely, but as for the Observatory proper, Sci-Fi imaginations are so much more entertaining! As we walked around the park grounds, we were greeted with that most amazing of LA miracles—a clear view of the vista after a substantial rain. Most of the time, there is that world famous haze that hangs over the LA basin. Part pollution, part dust from the deserts, it adds a brownish pall over the area.
But, not today! From the observation deck, we could see LA in all its sprawling glory. As the day went on it became warmer and dryer, a perfect So Cal day! Leaving the Observatory, I put the top down and gave Rob the full California “Winter” experience.
Moving along, we headed to Getty Center. Along the way, we drove found the road that let up to the closest vista point allowed of the Hollywood sign. I never realized there was a particular road that took you to the actual property that the sign is located. Rob couldn’t remember the street name, so we drove along a major thoroughfare and turned up side streets until we hit upon the right street. After a few minutes on this road, I realized I used it to drive to my former hairdressing appointments! Parking at the top, Rob finally got his picture!
No tour of LA would be complete without a stop in Hollywood to visit Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and the Kodak Center. We spent time looking at the hand and foot impressions of stars past and present. We took a short liquid refreshment break at the Kodak Center. Unfortunately, the red carpet had been rolled up because of the weather.
We continued on, driving through Rodeo Drive were it was evident that the economic downturn had yet to effect! Beverly Hills was also along the route, where we ogled at the mansions along the roadway—those that weren’t enclosed in a fortress of fencing, that is.
The Getty Center is large and really needs a day all its own to view properly. We were able to see two of the many exhibits and Rob was able to enjoy a taste of the museum.
It was a great day, where we were treated to clear, warm skies, and minimal crowds. It was getting dark, and the rain was threatening again, so we decided to finish our tour with a stroll along the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica. We watched a few street performers, then had a dinner of sushi at a restaurant that overlooked the street.
The only way it could have been a better day is if Mandy was able to join us!