Friday, September 30, 2016

Saturday 24 September

Today, we breakfasted at Mel's Diner around the corner again. We then purchased daytickets for the public transport and trouped down to Sunset Boulevard to catch the bus. A bus change later we arrived at the Getty Center which is an imposing and even intimidating collection of buildings. The overall effect is impressive but far from inviting which, in my opinion, good architecture should be. We saw a part of the permanent collection: the 17th and 19th century European paintings and two temporary showings of Illuminated Manuscripts and a show called London Calling which displayed Freud, Bacon and four other contemporaries. It was a very good exhibition. We had lunch at their restaurant which was very good indeed. Back on the bus to the Roosevelt. In the evening, we went to a great show at Second City: 'In Trump We Trust', an hilarious musical rendition of the Trump/Hillary contest. She did not emerge too well from the portrayal but the cast did a disclaimer at the end, urging people not to vote from Trump. We had a late dinner at a steak place, Musso and Frank Grill, which claimed to have been around since the 20s and had patrons the like of Dorothy Parker and Raymond Chandler. I had the weirdest Welsh rarebit you're ever seen, though Peter's steak looked very nice. The decor did look as though it hadn't changed since the 20s.

Last day in LA

We checked out of the hotel on Sunday morning. They couldn't give us a late checkout as they were booked out with a conference which also stymied our plans later in the afternoon (more later). We stowed our luggage and ubered our way to the Getty Villa. We passed the Santa Monica Pier and saw the sunny beaches on the way. Old man Getty had been showing his collection in his house overlooking the ocean. He now decided he needed a reproduction Roman villa to show it off, but by now he had moved to Europe so had to supervise the details from afar. Oddly, it doesn't look at all kitsch and the collection is very impressive. We did a tour of their current special exhibition of Roman mosaics then had a good lunch at their busy cafe (the Getty does good munga). Exhausted by the plethora of Roman tat and the heat, we headed back early in the afternoon driven by an Ethiopian systems engineer who earns extra dough on Uber. Once back at the Roosevelt, we planned to have a snack and drink by the pool but to our dismay it was taken over by the conferencers so we were reduced to having alcoholic milkshakes in the Hamburger Bar then a drink in the main foyer until it was time to head to the airport. Fortunately, we went a bit early as I had forgotten about the huge security precautions which the U.S. takes which cause massive queues and frayed tempers. At least they provided a bench to sit on while you put your shoes back on.

Flight home

We arrived at LAX in our Uber cab, driven by a loquacious young (27) man who was into astrology. He was an okay driver though. We checked in and for some reason the check-in woman took a shine to us or it was just accidental, but when we got onto the flight we found we were in the central block of four seats with NO ONE ELSE. So in the course of the night we were able to take turns to lay out flat on the seat and get a good night's sleep during the 13-hour flight to Auckland. Once there, we were able to take advantage of our travel agent's fine gift of three hours in one of the airline lounges so were able to have a much-needed shower, some food and even a slosh of spirits. The rest of the journey to Melbourne was mercifully only a bit over three hours though the plane was full. Air New Zealand food is nothing special but is edible at least.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Home again, vagabond shoes

I tried to blog while we were away but Google wouldn't let me because I was using 'foreign' computers. I will now set about filling in the four week gap with our monster experiences in the western USA, but first we need to do mundane things like unpacking and washing not to mention replying to much correspondence and so on. More to come soon.