Back in late March our friends T&S from Pittsburgh wrote to us to let us know that they’d be spending a long weekend in the LA area and they wanted to know if we wanted to join them. We checked our calendars and jumped at the chance. We hemmed and hawed about where to stay – alternating between DTLA, the beach, and the Anaheim area, but eventually we decided to stick close to Disney since we had plans to visit and Tom’s work friends would be flying into the area on Sunday night for the work event that was bringing T&S to SoCal in the first place.
We had a super early flight out of Oakland International on Friday which was exacerbated by Dakota singing the blues in the middle of the night on Thursday. It’s been awhile since her senility has had her howling into the darkness so despite the fact that it was 2:45 a.m. and it made getting back to sleep really difficult, I welcomed the interruption because I don’t know how many more times we’ll get to hear it. Much to our chagrin when we landed it was raining and cold – and I was dressed in shorts. I quickly changed into jeans and then we went to pick up our car and then meet our friends when their plane landed at 10 a.m. From there we went straight to Disneyland for the next 8 hours or so. Our second or third ride was Space Mountain and I’m sad to report that for as much as I loved the ride while we were on it, when we were getting out out of the cart, my flip flop caught on the edge of the car and I went flying face first into the ground. The people working the ride wanted to call the nurse, and afterward I had several people coming up to me asking me if I was okay. I’m happy – oh so happy! – to report that the only thing I did was bruise myself all over and not something worse. Given my knees, hips, and recent(ish) surgery I was really worried that I would have hurt myself worse. I’m still sore and I have a slight limp, but overall it could have been a lot worse. I’m actually quite proud that I was able to continue on for the rest of the day.
We ended up leaving the park before dark because we were all shot from our early morning flights – T&S were on a red eye! – to check in to our hotel the Marriott Anaheim Suites a couple of miles from the park (we could see the Tower of Terror from the hotel and we watched the nightly fireworks from the hot tub or our rooms). It’s a mid-range Marriott but I really liked the fact that the rooms were suites because it meant that we could comfortably hang out with each other late at night and not be cramped in a small, regular hotel room. The other thing I appreciated about the hotel was the pool and the hot tub. It had q=what was quite possibly the warmest pool in America so even though the weather was less than ideal for the majority of our trip, getting in the water was never a big ordeal. The only downside to the hotel’s location was that because it was so close to Disney there were a few band groups and other high school aged kids and they pretty much took over the pool for two of the nights we were there.
On Saturday we woke up to even more rain than on Friday so we knew it was a good day to visit the Getty Center in the LA hills. I have a few friends who love the museum, and S is an artist so I thought it would be the perfect way to spend the morning for us. The architecture is stunning, of course. I mean, would you expect anything less from the Getty’s? The entire place is built into the hillside and is made of white travertine. I actually appreciated that it was cool and cloudy when we were there because I think I might have gone blind had we been there when it was sunny. Naturally, I loved the architecture, but what really drew me in was the art itself. There were several paintings that I really admired for the sheer level of skill that must have been required by the artist to pull of the realism, plus a handful of photographs that were simply stunning from the photography exhibit. One thing I will say is that I found the signage in the extra exhibit could have been better and the docents could have been … less assholes. There is no one tried and true rule for photography at The Getty so you are forced to rely on signage to tell you if you are allowed to take photographs in the various exhibits. In the regular, permanent exhibits, yes. In the temporary photography exhibit however? No. And the only sign telling you as much is a 4×6 tacked to the wall as you first enter the area … which a docent is standing directly in front of. I wasn’t taking a picture of the art itself; rather, I was taking a picture of the information about the artists so that I could look him up later and I got full on yelled at by an angry docent. I’ve seen people climbing on sculptures at museums, I’ve seen people touching priceless works of art … and I’ve never seen a docent react to those transgressions the way this particular woman yelled at me. I was actually taken aback by it. I would have apologized profusely if she had pointed out that there were no photos – I am all about the rules of orderly conduct at museums – but she was such a bitch about it that I wanted nothing more than to run around the room screaming while taking multiple iPhone photos of all of the art. That or punch her in the throat. Really, there was no reason for her to be as nasty as she was.
At one point during the exploration after my run in with the docent – for which Alan loves to tease me – we got separated and it was somewhat of a joke about who could find me first. Sarah won! We left shortly thereafter, but I stopped in to the restroom first to get something out of my eye when a woman approached me to ask if I was casacaudill and to tell me that she reads my blog. (Hello there if you’re reading this message!) We laughed that we found ourselves in LA and the most famous person we saw was … me.
After the museum we drove into Hollywood thinking we’d visit the Hollywood Walk of Fame and look at the Hollywood sign but it was raining and our plans didn’t work out, so we looked online and saw that we could get a good view of the sign from the Griffith Observatory so we made our way up there. I don’t know if you’ve ever been there before or not but parking is … not easy. I was injured from my fall at Disneyland and it was raining cats and dogs so there was no way that I was going to walk up the mountain to see the sign so we drove to the end and turned around only to find a parking spot in the main lot. Score! We got out and the hillside was completely covered in mist and fog. We had no idea where the Hollywood sign even was. We walked around for a little while longer and then I turned in a circle and spotted it. We all felt a little silly since we’d been looking right at it moments before without even realizing it.
That night we did something unthinkable for Alan and I – we went to dinner at a chain restaurant in our hotel’s parking lot. Gasp! I know. But we were tired, and it sounded good, and we weren’t there for a gourmet experience but to rather spend time with our friends so we walked across the street to Joe’s Crab Shack and had a blast! I had watched Deadliest Catch’s first few episodes of the season a week or so beforehand so I knew that baridi crab were plentiful this year so as the waitress started explaining the bairdi special to us I got very excited. In the end I explained to her about the larger quota for the season and why it was on the menu for the first time in years. I ended up ordering it, of course, while Tom & Alan got a steam pot for two. We’ve found in our travels together that they like to share. Oh, we also ordered some pretty killer drinks. After just one hurricane I was pretty lit. Tom ordered something called a shark bite and both of our drinks had a two order limit. Oops. Aside from the fact that I loved my bairdi, dinner was especially nice because the weather broke and we got to eat outside on the heated patio without a lot of people around us.
The next day was our final full day together and we decided to start the day with a dim sum gamble based on Yelp reviews, and then hit up the Queen Mary and the beach on our way home. Dim Sum was a success! Sarah had been craving it for seven years – since the last time they were in the Bay Area with us and we got it as takeout – so we were excited that our shot in the dark paid off as well as it did. We got to the Queen Mary and I was exhausted. Sometimes when I eat dim sum I get really tired and need a nap afterward. Well, touring the boat wasn’t really conducive to that so I was pretty miserable and cranky. Still, it was a beautiful vessel and the day was glorious, especially compared to the previous two days of rain and clouds. From there we drove down the coast to Huntington Beach so I should show everyone where my sister and I had spent so many sunny summer days when we were kids.
Before we knew it our trip was over and it was time for us to all travel back to where we had come from. It was a really great weekend, and I hope we can keep doing something like this together every year. Of course we’ve already invited Tom, Sarah, and their two girls to visit us in Ireland. Now we just need to get there.