Friday, September 10, 2010

Los Angeles 2010 aka What I did on summer vacation, Part 1

Finally, here is Part 1 of a series: What I did on My Summer Vacation. Part II will be Las Vegas and Part III - will cover our Amtrak adventure. Stay awake - I may test you later on this.

Our flight to Long Beach was on a Saturday night - so of course I went yardsailing in the morning. And I fell down and went boom. I was at someone's yardsale, when I noticed a sign for another yardsale and when I walked over to it, I didn't notice a hole and splat, I was on the ground. Because I am in excellent physical condition (thanks to my hearty eastern European ancestor genes), I just dusted myself off and continued on my merry way. But I still thanked the Yardsale Gods for watching out for me and preventing me from twisting my ankle. That would have been a very bad scenario right before the start of a two week long vacation.

In my previous vacation post, I laid out a detailed plan on how we were to get ourselves to the airport (75 miles away), how we were going to feed burros in the wild west and go to Lake Havasu and Palm Springs. All that didn't happen as planned. And we didn't go to Disneyland. We decided Las Vegas was probably a lot more fun than burros, so we stayed a little longer in Vegas.

DH came up with an easy way to get us to the airport. We rented a car for a day down where we live and drove ourselves to the airport in the rental and returned the car there - all for about a total cost of $40. Normally when I fly, we fly out of Baltimore (BWI) but since Jacob hadn't flown in a while, I wanted a direct flight and an airplane with little TVs. So instead we flew Jet Blue out of Dulles - a direct flight to Long Beach.

Once we got to Long Beach - which is a cool airport that's in a time warp - we rented a car. And then headed to Jeff's mother's condo in San Pedro. So it was kinda late and Jeff is driving in Long Beach, and a car full of gangbangers pull up alongside of us and roll down their window and are yelling at us. So what does Jeff do? He rolls down and yells back "what are you saying? etc etc". And I'm like, "What the hell are you doing? Trying to get us killed within 30 minutes of landing?" Sheesh. Like he thought they were good samaritans trying to tell us something. Yeah, like trying to tell us to pull over so they could rob us or something.

Anyhow, we stayed with Jeff's mom who has a condo with a view of the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island. The last time I was in Southern California, Jacob was less than 2 years old. My MIL has been out to visit us several times since, and Jeff has been to SoCal a few times on business trips. He graduated from high school in Lawndale so he is good about navigating all the highways. Or freeways as they are called. To me, they are called highways.

The first full day, we went to Venice Beach for a tv taping of tryouts for American Ninja Warrior a tv show on G4 that Jacob loves. It was a very well organized event - they had bleachers to sit and watch the tryouts, they had a free mini-course set up for teens to test their ninja skills (Jacob was too young), they had a photo booth for free photos, a Meet n Greet to get autographs from the 3 past winners of American Ninja Warrior, free temporary Ninja Warrior tattoos etc etc. Of course we bought Jacob a $20 t-shirt and got it autographed.

Then in the evening we went to Aquarium of the Pacific since I saw they had half priced admission on Sunday nights. It's ok, but it's no National Aquarium. A few days later, we also went to Cabrillo Marine Museum which in a lot of ways was better than the big Long Beach aquarium.

One day we look the subway out of Long Beach to Hollywood. The touristy area of Hollywood used to be very seedy but they've cleaned it up a lot, put in some expensive stores etc etc. Only saw one beggar - see photo below. Would have liked to have toured the Kodak Theatre (where American Idol has it's finale,) but I know Jacob/Jeff would have been bored etc). Then took the subway to downtown Los Angeles and saw the Disney Theatre. A very cool modern looking building.

We did some other things - my MIL took us all around San Pedro to some historical sites, like the Point Fermin Lighthouse - which apparently I didn't take a picture of. Sheesh. I am not happy with my photo skills this trip. The entire time I accidentally had some automatic adjust setting on, which I think made the pictures not as clear or crisp as they normally would. Plus, I ran out of storage space, but that is another story.

Also saw the water fountain show in San Pedro. And we did a lot of eating and drinking. Took a boat ride tour of the Port of Los Angeles. It's mind boggling to think about all the stuff in those container vessels.

Still awake? Now for the pics and videos:

Trump National Golf Club is down the street from my MIL's condo. Nope, we didn't golf there.

mmmmm snow cones, with the Queen Mary (Long Beach) in the background.

Hanging out on the balcony at MIL's. Sometimes its hard to see Catalina due to the "marine layer". Whatever the hell that means.

View from the swimming pool:

We spent a lot of time at the heated pool (it was COLD when we were there, a nice break from humid Maryland)

Pool house with laundry room. Doing laundry California style wasn't too bad - put in a load to wash, go swimming, put it in the dryer, go swimming.

American Ninja Warrior at Venice Beach

Getting Jacob's t-shirt autographed by the past winners

Three Ninja Warriors and 3 others

Jacob at his Ninja Warrior Photo Shoot:

The result (told him to look mean)

Jacob and some other big kid:

Watching the tryouts:

Jacob - not showing good high-fiving etiquette

Canals at Venice Beach:

Some California surfer dudes

On the boat tour around LA Harbor. Fishery throwing out fish for the seals:

Lots of cargo. Vincent Thomas bridge in background

Lots more cargo.

At the Cabrillo Marine Museum. Jeff was watching a recent episode of True Blue and noticed they filmed part inside the museum.

Jacob inside a fish tank at the Cabrillo Marine Museum with Grannie:

Dancing water fountain at Port of Los Angeles (San Pedro)

Water show

While in Hollywood, I found my star on the Walk of Fame. Unfortunately they accidentally left off "yardsale".

The start of our Price is Right theme for the vacation:

Child beggar on the streets of Hollywood. No wait, never mind, that's just Jacob with a cup of ice.

Kodak Theatre

Capitol Records building (with Hollywood sign up in the mountains)

Shopping at Kodak Theatre plaza (Hollywood sign in background)

Walt Disney Theatre in downtown Los Angeles

Inside the lobby of the Disney Theatre

Staples Center (just took this picture since I love Staples)

Korean Bell in San Pedro

Korean Bell again - before my MIL retired, she worked at the building at the top of the hill (best view of the LA Harbor)

Visiting a park

Photo taken at the top of the Point Fermin Lighthouse

Photo taken in the mall - Basic Needs - I just thought it was funny since it was 200% junk food

Bye bye San Pedro. After we got back home, Jeff said "you know, my high school reunion is next summer" - so we may be back sooner than I thought! (I don't think he has missed a HS reunion yet. I refer to his HS years as his glory days.)


Anonymous said...

Beautiful pictures!Sounds like quite an adventure/vacation:)
Glad to have the Queen back at her Castle! lol

ZDub said...

Well, I'm just totally jealous.

I went to California and didn't see one ninja. I want my money back.

You took some really nice photos, Jacob is a cutie.

Chris at said...

and they weren't even your average everyday ninjas - they were warrior ninjas.

Michele said...

Love the travelogue. Looks like you had a great time. Nice condo views!