Back in June, shortly after returning home from the task of clearing my mother’s house and depositing some of her things at my brother Steve’s house, I flew down for a couple days in LA. The main purpose was to visit dear friends and pick up a car from them, with which I then drove back home to the bay area and renewed my acquaintance with that quintessentially American experience, the long road trip in a big car on good roads with music blasting and the miles going by rapidly out the window. It was lovely. Even more lovely were the the (too) few days I enjoyed in LA with a few friends. Several hours one day were spent with a visit to the Getty Center, perched on its hilltop in the Cahuenga pass – the first time I’d been up there since a wonderful trip with Mom in early 2013, during which we watched an outdoor dance performance taking place all across the sprawling grounds and gardens. (See photos of that performance, and of Mom enjoying the grounds with our cousin Pat, here: https://somuchworldsolittletime.com/2013/04/15/creeks-peaks-streets-malingering-in-la/ Since then, they’ve added more outdoor sculpture around the gardens which I (and Mom) always loved…meaning she’d have loved it all even more now, so I made sure to enjoy it extra much in her memory :-). It was also pride month, and Santa Monica marked the occasion with seasonal lighting on the Third Street Promenade. Capitalism at its best, eh?
smw, slt has now returned to Port Moresby, from 4.5 lovely, wonderful and restful weeks in LA. With fond thanks to the family members and friends who spent time with me in LA, many of whom flew great distances to be there, I present herewith my usual too-big selection of photos. It’s late Monday, already more than 24 hours after I landed back in POM, and I know that if I don’t post these fast then it’s likely to be weeks and weeks before I get to it. I’ll have a full couple weeks of settling back in here. So I’ll keep the text short and focus on the photos. Folks who live in LA are usually happy when outsiders think of it as little more than a knot of crazy freeways overloaded with traffic, but in fact there are many wonderful things about the region, and these photos may give you glimpses of why I always find it one of the most relaxing places to spend my down time, especially when I can stick to my bike and the streets of Venice – which I did quite well until the final week on this trip. The final week took me out a bit more into town and yielded some of the – too many – photos of Disney Hall that you’ll be seeing, both above & below. Hope you enjoy. 🙂
I’ve become addicted to physical therapy: this time for tennis elbow to allow me my regular tennis outings once I got back here; last time to fix my shoulder after tearing it up on the roads of N Kivu. Above and below are shots of the birds, flowers, bikers, walkers and waters of Ballona Creek which forms part of the route to my physical therapy appointments. Yes, the bike ride to and from PT is half of the reason for my addiction. 🙂
When my mother and brother came to visit, Trisha Brown Dance Company was doing a big retrospective in collaboration with UCLA, including a fantastic site performance at the Getty Center – as you see, these 10 dancers spread around the center doing a 40-minute performance were just a magnificent blend of movement, architecture and natural environment. And above, by contrast, a street-side view of Disney Concert Hall, yet another of LA’s architectural (and acoustic!) gems.
At left, Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood has expanded since my last visit; and WeHo park has gotten a radical face-lift and a big new parking lot complete with graffiti art since my last visit. 🙂 Below, some shots of me at Disney Hall’s garden, taken by Mom, the only visual proof that I was actually in LA these last weeks…
Below, if this lays out as hoped, if you look closely you’ll see a bit of a rattlesnake’s tale sticking out of that brush. This hike in Topanga Canyon was rather exciting for my friend Steve and me, since we nearly stepped on not one but two rattlesnakes, and nearly walked into a buzzing swarm of wasps or some other flying insect that generated a certain sense of menace in our brainstems… Further down, again if this works as I hope, a junction sign on the hike; we tried to avoid heading toward Cheney for obvious reasons. Above & below are my photographic ode to the streets, houses and beaches of Venice. It’s so much more than the drug-addled beach walk full of tacky t-shirts, which is just the face it shows tourists. 🙂
Above, my photographic ode to Walt Disney Concert Hall, an acoustic and architectural masterpiece in the heart of LA. Below…a shot to confuse you: from last August, standing in line for our boat trip at Margaret River in Northern Territory, Australia. Since there’s so little of me in this post, figured I’d remind you what I look like…
smw, slt has been back in Los Angeles for 2.5 weeks now, weeks that have flown by with the speed of a bullet train. Less than two weeks from this moment as I sit in bed at dawn uploading these pics and writing these captions, I’ll be back on the airplane winging my way across the Pacific. Since there is much that I dearly love, and much that I dearly love to make fun of, in my home state and home country, I’m bringing you some of both. Just captions to explain, nothing much else. Enjoy.
LA County Museum of Art (first shot) has expanded quite a bit since the early 2000s which was the last time I lived here in LA full time. Similarly the construction around the Ballona Wetlands by Playa del Rey, the two shots above, has continued and added plenty of cars to the roads, but left these lovely fields of wildflowers and wetlands for birds in a few pleasant pockets.
Immediately above, the main central garden at the gorgeous Getty Villa, reopened in 2005 when I’d already begun this wandering lifestyle. Since I live by the water here it’s easy for me to bike up the Getty Villa, spend a morning or afternoon in the gardens and enjoying the classical collections – something I do as often as I can! Above is one shot of the Santa Monica mountains as seen from an odd angle of the Getty Centre, which has remained blessedly similar to what it was when I left LA to start living as I now do…
Two studies in orange from the Long Beach Aquarium: above, California Poppies (our state flower!), which blanket hills and valleys in a golden-orange carpet every spring; below, orange jellyfish (known to our Australian cousins, I believe, as marine stingers – perhaps more accurate but less poetic, don’tcha think?) in a tank inside the lovely aquarium which I was delighted to visit – along with the Getty villa – with my friends Cate & Dan, and their parents Neal and Elizabeth, when they spent a few days out here with me. Thanks :-). Above, a few more shots from the lovely mid-town LA County Museum of Art, whose regular collection still surprises me on occasion (even after a few years as a member), and which underwent substantial expansion in the last few years; below, sunset in Marina del Rey, the last place I lived full-time in the US: you can see why, huh? 🙂
And these last shots: can’t help myself when I get back to the US… I mean, seriously, the level of coddling that our litigious society forces upon all institutions. Anyone who didn’t figure out that you’re in the foul ball area deserves to be hit; anyone who doesn’t notice the giant drop off down to the rushing traffic below deserves to fall…and so on. Btw, I was always taught the four styles of Chinese cuisine were Szechuan, Hunan, Canton & Northern/Beijing…who knew that New York had become one of China’s regional cuisine hotspots! 🙂
And we end with the Getty Centre, scultpure garden and the road, under construction and very biker-unfriendly (this I know: I travel mostly by bike here in LA, when I’m not on the bus), below the Getty.