Updated: Apr 4, 2018
The Pacific coast portion of my journey around the world.
March 21, 2014
The curvature of the coastline held the iconic West Coast imagery of the steep mountainsides falling off into the low laying ocean waters.
Flying in over the Rockies, the desert landscape appears. Emerging from the dust are the high rises of LA. What appeared first as desert, is now revealed to be the low-lying sprawl of the greater Los Angeles metropolitan.
Arriving at Play Del Ray, the restaurant, "Playa Provision" had a great kale with dates salad and a mushroom with mozzarella sandwich. I ventured across a sandy street and got my first look at the Pacific. The sand stretched for miles. The coast line was steep and checkered along the hills were the protruding houses. A bicyclist had fallen and her scrapped knee brought every emergency responder coming to her rescue.
In Venice, I walked through the throngs of people and past all the color saturated shops. I saw a large crowd up ahead and inside it a group of street performers were putting on a dance show. As they took turns twirling themselves around, I was impressed mostly by their acrobatics.
Continuing up the coast, I climbed the steps up to the Santa Monica Pier. The sun was now hanging low over the Pacific and in the far distance were the hills of Malibu disappearing into the dusky haze.
That night, in Little Tokyo I ate fantastic vegetarian sushi at Shojin. Afterwards, driving through Hollywood I saw El Capital where a night scene for a movie was being filmed. On the corner of West Hollywood, there was a crazed man doing superman arm twirls and I decided it was good to be viewing it all from the car.
Second day, I awoke to humming birds coming and going from their feeders. They were not shy at all. Along Sunset Strip I could see all the famous clubs and rocker venues. Ventured through the back side of Beverly Hills and Bel-Aire and climbed back up the hills towards The Getty Center.
Inside I peered up close and personal at Monet's Last Lights and Harbor After Sunset paintings. Also, Van Gogh's Lilly's and some of Degas figure studies. A few Goyas graced the walls, but the two Italian landscape paintings by the artist Carot held me fixed, amazed at the imaginative scenery.
A sprawling exhibit by Josef Koudelka titled, 'Nationality Doubtful,' took me by surprise. His landscape panoramas were amazing in their detail and at the same time abstract in their subject matter. The close up, first hand look at the cold war clashes between Soviet Union and its invasion of Poland was documented in a way that seemed it could have only been staged. Outside in the mini-permanent collection were photographs by Stieglitz, Man Ray, Max and a Daguerrotype. The Getty itself was a beautifully designed piece of architecture that held amazing views of the city.
Winding our way further up the Pacific Coast Highway, passing through Malibu and up the coast to the Santa Monica mountains. The curvature of the coastline held the iconic West Coast imagery of the steep mountainsides falling off into the low laying ocean waters. The highway squeezed between these two great Earthly features.
In Santa Barbara I strolled past the endless masts of sail boats, to the fisherman's wharf where the boats transitioned to an eclectic sort of old-timey bait boats.
Along one of the pilings was the oldest looking Pelican I'd ever seen. He was actively scanning a group who too were checking him out. His eyes were so very charismatic, but his features were all so dated. Fishing wasn't permitted until the end of the pier and there was a man that had just caught a teeny little fish. He was trying to remove it from the hook as two pelicans were closing in on him. He began to taunt them and they responded with snaps at his shins using those long clacking beaks. The sun was setting and even when it went below the horizon its light lingered for what seemed like hours. The disappearing light cast a great silhouette along the ridges of the Santa Monica mountains.
The next morning we drove down to Hugo's for a most excellent brunch consisting of eggs benedict, tomales verde and sticky buns. Today was dedicated to the local markets, so we checked out one of Hollywood's first. It had the most lovely organic and local produce. I stopped and chatted a bit with a animal rescue agency that had with them a four day old goat, a five day old goat and a couple week old pig named Maggie that didn't do much but flick her ears when you called her name.
After that, going into Downtown LA's central market, that consisted mostly of greasy pub-type foods from different ethnicities. The Old Towne Mexican market was much more interesting with its Mariachi bands playing on every corner and the compact walkways between vendors selling stereotypical junk. That night, while repacking, I did get a chance to go up onto the rooftop and scan the skyline at dark. You could see the expansive lights of downtown all the way to the Pacific. And behind us were the rugged hilltops of Runyon canyon stretching into the secluded lights of Beverly Hills.
Up next, Hong Kong and Philippines!