California Vacation, Part One

Posted by danielle on April 14th, 2011. Filed under: Adventures, Recent Posts.

It was only two weeks ago, but it feels like months have passed since we were away.

I arrived in Palm Springs after a journey that involved three take-offs and landings, with two delayed flights. Discount travel can be inconvenient, but that’s what I’m willing to deal with to save a buck. By some miracle, despite the delays, I actually arrived on time, where my friend Meagan and her ridiculously adorable miniature dachshund, Barkley, were waiting for me.

The next morning we got up early and drove to Los Angeles. Since Meagan moved to California nearly eight years ago, we’ve been out to visit annually. Over the years, we’ve travelled up and down the California coast from San Diego to San Francisco, but other than the airport, we’ve never stopped in LA. It’s just never interested me much. This year I wanted to check it out though, just to see what I was missing.

Our first stop was Rodeo Drive. I’d just watched Pretty Woman on television a few nights before, so it was fresh in my mind.

I was underwhelmed. It was much smaller than it looks on TV. The stores were either closed, open by appointment only, or generally uninviting. I can see why Vivian had so much trouble shopping there (aside from the whole looking like a hooker thing).

After a lovely lunch, we took a brief tour of Beverly Hills. Not much to see though, the grander homes are fortified to avoid gawkers like me.

We continued on to Hollywood, where we stopped for a tour of the Hollyhock House. It’s a Frank Lloyd Wright designed home in the midst of a restoration. I actually wanted to see the Ennis House, but apparently it’s in a state of disrepair and not open to the public. In fact, I think it might even be for sale. Can someone loan me a gagillion dollars? I’d really like a vacation home in California.

The Hollyhock house was cool though. I have a bit of a Frank Lloyd Wright thing. I find both his designs and personality fascinating.

The view from the house was fantastic.

After the tour, we set out for Venice Beach. In my teens and early 20s, I would have thought this was the coolest place ever. Now, not so much. Head shops, greasy food and loud music really isn’t my scene these days.

We accidentally wandered into a rave. We felt out of place and quickly retreated.

Having unwittingly ingested more than enough second hand marijuana, we were off to our final destination of the day – the Santa Monica Pier.

This was much more our speed.

We polished off 2 baskets of corn chips at a Mexican restaurant on the pier while we waited for the sun to set. I suspect this had something to do with the air quality at Venice Beach.

We had a wonderful and perfect day out. I have to admit though, Los Angeles still doesn’t do much for me. I won’t be rushing back. There is so much more in California I’d rather see and do.

I spent the rest of my time in southern California in the desert with Meagan and Barkley. Over the next few days, we would go shopping at the Cabazon Outlets and El Paseo in Palm Desert, which has all the luxury of Rodeo Drive, but less pretentious. We also walked around Old Town La Quinta and downtown Palm Springs.

We went out for some nice meals, but also stayed in sometimes and just drank tea, watched television and talked. It was so much fun to hang out and relax with a great friend. It was hard to leave and I’m already looking forward to next year’s visit.

My vacation wasn’t over though. When Meagan dropped me off at the airport, I wasn’t headed home. I was on my way to San Francisco!

To be continued…

5 Responses to California Vacation, Part One

  1. Lara

    California geography always confuses me. I had to look on a map to see exactly where Palm Springs is! The desert regions fascinate me. Did you get any shots there?

    Oh Frank Lloyd Wright! I read Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead just because he was her inspiration for the Howard Roark character.

    Ahaha I can totally picture you guys wandering into a rave!

  2. danielle

    I didn’t know where Palm Springs was either until my friend moved there. I always thought it was near Vegas. Previously my only reference to it was that episode of 90210 when the gang went there for a weekend to stay at David Silver’s grandparents house…

    I didn’t get any pictures this year but these are from a few years ago:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/danielletodd/2360053740/in/photostream
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/danielletodd/3293620806/in/photostream

  3. Lara

    oh my god… the desert is so beautiful! Love those pics!!!!

  4. Jessi

    Lovely pics, and I agree Rodeo drive is underwhelming, maybe if I was loaded and could actually shop in the stores it would have been more exciting. I did however love shopping on Melrose

  5. danielle

    Thanks!

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