"To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted." -- Bill Bryson

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Friday, July 15, 2011

The City of Angels: The Last Day

It's Malibu day!

By 11:30am we're on the road. The drive is surprisingly quick and easy, especially since we have to drive through most of LA.

View Larger Map

Our first stop is Pepperdine.

You can't drive on campus though so we're forced past campus to what turns out to be a really cool drive through the mountains.

Our next stop is the beach. After a couple attempts to park ($25 for parking? Oh, hell, no) we find a FREE spot right at the top of a path to a cute, quiet little patch of beach.

The weather is perfect and the first hour we don't seem to feel the cold at all. The beach is almost entirely empty except for another family and this scuba diver who literally crawled out of the ocean.

By 3pm we're getting hungry though so we hop back into the car and head towards D'Amore's Pizza which we had passed earlier. For a tiny pizza place on the beach, it's quite good. I get the meatlovers (see obligatory food photo below)

We do take a quick stop off to see an old friend who also lives in LA now, but the rest of the day involved us packing up and getting ready for our early flight out the next day. We did take time out to drink some of our delicious 2-buck-Chuck though!

Overall the trip was a good one. It was a lot more relaxing that I had imagined, but it was just what the doctor ordered, so no complaints here! Now, on to Portland.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The City of Angels: Day 4

Once again we skip the free breakfast for some extra sleep. When we finally get out of bed we decide to suck it up and go to the beach, since that was supposed to be our plan for the entire trip. We stop for a delicious breakfast of corn beef hash and eggs at a place called Uncle Bill's in Manhattan Beach proper.

The food is absolutely delicious, and heart-attack worthy. But the place itself is cute and comfortable. It appears the locals love it too.

After breakfast (aka lunch to some) we take a short walk around town while we decide our next move. The entire town is full of adorable houses. It's the ultimate beach town, it seems.

I also find my future home (in my dreams)

The town is also incredibly hilly, so we move the car closer to the beach and settle in for a very brief beach experience.

But it's about 57F on the beach, so we only survive about an hour before having to run back to the car. Manhattan Beach is one of many famous beach towns all lined up on the coast so we head down to check out Hermosa & Redondo Beaches, which are just down the road.

In an effort to save some money and to avoid the chilly weather, we decide to skip walking around the well known towns and head back to the room to prepare for the evening.

Once again we get on the road towards the city. Our first destination is Beauty Bar. Because I've now been to this chain of crappy hipster bars in San Francisco, Austin & NYC I had to make an appearance at the one in LA. The traffic is awful. Awful. Luckily, we find our exit without losing our minds and we find Beauty Bar fairly easily. Sadly, finding Beauty Bar is the easy part. The search for parking in not. After 20 minutes of circling through the area, I have to take a break before I lose my mind, so we find a gas station and fill up. With a more clear head, we pick a random parking garage just a couple blocks from our destination.

This Beauty Bar is definitely...interesting. There's a strange mixture of people; my description was that of a place filled with people who didn't know where else to go. It's not really doing it for us though, so we decide we've got to find something better. The only redeeming moment in Beauty Bar is when Wayne Brady walks by the window. Although, I didn't see him, Nyla did, so it wasn't even that exciting for me. Whatevs.

Where do we go though? We're somewhere in Hollywood without a tour guide. On our walk to Beauty Bar a man gave us wrist bands for some place called Ecco. We figure we'll check it out. It's only a few doors down from Beauty Bar, and maybe it will be cool. Wrong. It turns out to be pretty much the worst club ever. We last for about 5 minutes before we have to escape. Everyone in the place looks like a spoiled-rich-kid-turned-coke-head and that is the opposite of our kind of people.

We emerge from the club in less than stellar spirits. Down the street a little ways though is a place called The Velvet Margarita. Greg had told us about this place and mentioned that it was pretty cool. We wander in to find out that it's just a restaurant with a bar. There's a bit of a line for the bar, so in a moment of exasperation I decide to just go to the bathroom first and then see how to line is. What luck! As we approach the bathrooms we hear some Michael Jackson coming from a nearby hallway. We bypass the bathroom and follow the music down the hall into a back patio full of dancing people and a DJ. This is where we were meant to be all along! Our entire night is turned around as it turns out to be hilarious and a blast. Thank God for The Velvet Margarita!