Kim Huddle our darling friend – driver extraordinaire and the patience of a saint! She was fabulous as she whizzed Adam and I @ LA like we were rock stars!! Our first day and she’s already planned that we visit Malibu Pier and the Villa Getty located in Malibu. Now the Villa Getty has to be seen to believe…little do we realize that the other Getty located on the West side of LA is even bigger, architecturally astounding with artworks from @ the world collected by one man (well no doubt, he had a team doing all the hard yards) leaving you agog with “how did he do it??”
Afterwards, its time for lunch and we head to Malibu Pier to Malibu Farm – a cafe specialising in farm produce. It overlooks the ocean with the sun beaming down on us as I hide under the umbrella as I have no hat. Yep, the new Panama hat I bought in New York when we had a hot spell was accidentally left behind in our accommodation in Portland. We were at the airport when I discovered my mistake. Bummer! An expensive mistake but lesson learned – count not just bags…count hats 😉
We catch up with the kids later in the afternoon after school and head off to check out the beach where they swim at and see the Ferris wheel park.
So many places to see as Kim is abound with ideas and I suggest she would make a great tour guide. We see Venice Canal which is a series of mini canals tucked away behind Venice and Muscle Beach. While the canals are cute I can’t say much for Muscle Beach. Kim lets us explore in the later afternoon and I can’t believe how many homeless people live on the beach (well parks with their shopping trolleys and worldly goods). I have to say while I’m glad we went and had a look it was pretty run-down. Certainly not what I had expected of ‘glam LA’ and even sadder as told by the locals earlier in our trip, the homeless are shuttled by bus in Winter from Washington to places like LA and San Francisco as they are warmer and less likely to die. This made me think a little harder about US politics and question why don’t they take care of their people (especially when the majority of homeless people are returned soldiers battling financial and mental health issues after serving their country).
The other Getty…I can’t even begin to explain. When we asked our friend Rolly what should we do in LA. He said ‘the Getty and that’s it!’. Well, we did a lot more than that thanks to our hostess with the mostess!
On our last day in LA, Kim has again planned a sophisticated day of activities. First, Hollywood Bowl and the Hollywood sign – we are the only people there – as a bus load of sweating tourists have dutifully followed their flag off to their bus. We take in the out-door auditorium and reminisce Bette Midler (Beaches), Barbra Streisand (movies and stage performance), and Monty Python (live on stage).
We head off to Hollywood Boulevard to check out the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The foot/hand prints of famous stars/TV/producers/whoever have to get nominated and selected by a committee. What most people don’t know is they (the lucky nominee) has to pay $50,000 to get their star on the walk! I purchase magnets for nieces and nephews and we eat salmon panini (Adam) and sweet pretezels (Anne/Kim) for lunch as we whizz off to check out Beverly Hills and drive past the beautiful people living in their sweeping driveway homes with double gates and manicured sweeping lawns. Mmm…the life (if you can afford it).
We arrive at the historic Beverly Wilshire Hills Hotel and our car is valet parked. The valets are all in smart black suits, open our doors and I have a giggle as I’ve only ever done this once before with my friend Libby in Sydney at the Casino. This time the experience is like something out of Hollywood. Actually, I am in Hollywood!
Gosh! we did so much in such a short time and could have stayed longer with Kim, Pete and the kids. It was a great end to our five week trip through the USA and we were lucky to share it with friends living there or near by (Canada) as well as making new friends in Watervale, Michigan.
It’s now New Years Eve 2014 as I sneak this posting in and look forward to 2015. The next trips – Chicago for Adam and Greece/ Croatia for myself and family. We wish everyone a fabulous New Years Eve and may we all remain safe with our loved ones (including all creatures great and small).