Los Angeles



As the aircraft descended into L.A. My left ear which had gone deaf as we lifted off from JFK became incredibly painful. The airline had no pain killers so I just sat and endured it and it eased off a little as we landed.

I was met by a friend and at LAX and we picked up some drugs at a shopping mall and ate some Vietnamese food before calling it a day.

On Friday I took it easy. My friend has a bedsit apartment downtown. It reminded me very much of the apartment occupied by Bruce Willis’ character in “The 5th Element” except that it was a little bigger and the shower did not rotate away into the wall and there was no drug addled lunatic outside with a blaster pistol.

The next day I walked to a restaurant and ate an American breakfast then returned to the apartment for an afternoon snooze. In New York I had done a lot of walking and I think that this and the cold had warned me out.

In the afternoon I strolled around and into the jewellery district. Downtown L.A. is all clean lines and wide roads. The trees were in blossom with some mauve flowers. In evening I met up with some friends at a restaurant named Pete’s Cafe and Bar on Main Street.

On Saturday I drove to UCLA to drop my friend off for a day’s studying while I went on to the Getty Centre. I entered and was immediately in a long car queue. After parking the car in a multi story car park and getting the elevator I found myself in an enormous queue. I had chosen some kind of family day and groups of tourists had descended on the place. However, the queue moved and pretty soon I was surprised to find myself standing on a station. The Getty museum have their own mass transit which takes customers up the hill to the museum.

Picture Plate with the abduction of Helen by Francesco Xanto Avelli

Picture Plate with the abduction of Helen by Francesco Xanto Avelli

The museum building is fantastic. Cut white stone, open, very well proportioned with great views. Absolutely beautiful. I can’t say I was struck by the contents too much and perhaps this is because I am a philistine who has visited larger museum throughout the world. Also this is a private collection so we should not expect it to rival the Metropolitan in New York. One pavilion was dedicated to de Vinci but the blurb on many exhibits seemed to say that the piece “may have been” , “could have been” or “is thought to have been”….something or other. All very great and worthy but not much that really struck me. Some nice plates. I think the real star of this attraction is the building itself.

I wandered around and took pictures of the views. Moving to an area less frequented by visitors I was informed that this was a private area. I apologised and the vinegar tongued old crone said sarcastically: “You just wandered here like a lost lamb”. A tad unnecessary I thought and a shame as the two women would have made a good photo.

Later I drove down to Marina Del Ray near Santa Monica and then back to pick up my friend from UCLA. In an effort to kill some time I searched for somewhere to stop and get a drink and use a restroom. This proved an almost impossible task! The area around UCLA appeared to have nowhere to stop! In fact, once I picked her up we found somewhere within 15 minutes but I think one thing to consider about driving in L.A. is that you need to have a destination in mind.

Chairs at The Getty

Chairs at The Getty

In the evening we ate at BJs Brew House. Good pizza.

This morning I am on the Amtrak up to Santa Barbara. The woman in front and to my left has talked almost non-stop since Union Station in L.A. which is a very good looking building. Very art deco and it must have looked great in the days of Bogart and Garbo. She is now on to her ailments and what Karen’s doctor said. Something about HDL (High-density lipoprotein).

As the train runs parallel to the highway I can see what appears to be a four wheel drive vehicle tailgating a mobile home awfully closely. More likely the four wheel drive is being towed. I did the trip from L.A. to Santa Barbara many years ago. It was night and I could see the Kohoutek comet clearly in the night sky. Today the sky is obscured by mist but we have now passed Oxnard and the mist is clearing to reveal a clear blue sky. The sea has just appeared 30 metres to our left. Less now. And even less now!!

Union Station

Union Station

While in L.A. I bought enough cold and cough medicines to treat the third world for malaria. Pharmacies abound in L.A. Each one having extensive ranges or products so specific that one needs to consult a professional to decide which to buy. I suspect this is deliberate and inevitably the professional advised numerous pills and embrocations.

My cold is starting to ease as we approach Santa Barbara but my left ear is still partially deaf.

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