Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

USA Road Trip: part 2 – L. A.

Part 1 of our holiday had passed without a hitch – thanks to months of planning by Cliff. We left Flagstaff and hopped on a small plane to Phoenix and from there flew to Los Angeles; we had been rather overwhelmed with options of where to stay in such an urban sprawl, but in the end I had chosen The Farmer's Daughter in West Hollywood – here's a clue why, this is the bedroom wallpaper!


It was while checking in to the hotel that I discovered that my small handbag and it's very crucial contents were missing . . . probably still in the taxi that had brought us from the airport. This was not a good moment. Cliff had every right to be very cross and I felt like collapsing into a sobbing heap on the floor – but we both quickly realised that wouldn't achieve much!


A departure from the script

Our plans for the evening and foreseeable future were put aside and we concentrated on blocking bank cards and my iPhone; and finding out how and where to get the paperwork for me to get home. The hotel staff were really helpful, we could use the computer and printer in the lobby as much as we liked and there were unlimited supplies of pink lemonade and freshly baked cookies; but despite everyone's efforts by the next morning it looked as if my bag and it's contents would never be seen again.


Instead of seeing the highlights of tinsel town, we were scurrying around making phone calls and catching taxis; road signs caught my eye . . . Santa Monica Boulevard . . . Beverley Hills . . . but I had no time to take photos, we had to get things sorted out fast. I hadn't expected to see the interior of an LAPD station – thankfully it was a place of calm efficiency and Officer Taylor issued me with the necessary paperwork to take to the British Consulate.


In case you're ever in the same unfortunate situation, I recommend completely ignoring the British Consulate's answer-phone message which tells you to leave your name and contact number and wait to be called back and then make an appointment to come to see them. We decided to go straight over to Santa Monica, where we walked into the British Consulate office and asked for help. I was expecting to spend the rest of the day sitting on a plastic chair in a waiting room – but no! A lovely helpful woman immediately got on the case and advised us to pop out for lunch and then come back and see her colleague who would issue me with an emergency passport.


And that's what happened . . . we had a very tasty bento box at a delightful Japanese restaurant; returned to the British Consulate and hey presto . . . sorted!


As well as calmly getting my paperwork together, the Consulate staff recommended that we enjoyed the rest of the afternoon by hopping on a Blue Bus to the beach . . . what a very British idea!


After a stroll along Santa Monica Pier and eating an ice-cream we felt in a holiday mood and ready to enjoy the rest of our adventure.



Back on track

What do you do when you have a day to see a new city? A tour? We're not that keen on bus tours, so Cliff had hunted around and discovered a walking tour of Historic Downtown by the LA Conservancy. We met our guide, Stuart, and where taken on a fascinating tour of streets and buildings – stately beaux arts, moderne (art deco) and glass clad skyscrapers clustered around the small open space of Pershing Square. It was a very enjoyable wander through places we'd never have found by ourselves; afterwards we took Stuart's advice and went to Pete's Cafe & Bar for Mac'n'cheese – yum yum!


It was time to collect our hire car for the next stage of the Road Trip – I'm not sure how Cliff was feeling, but the traffic and roads we'd seen on our many taxi rides had scared me rigid!

But, with the help of the sat-nav we safely navigated our way along the Santa Monica Freeway and Highway 405 to The Getty Centre – this was high on my list of must-see places.


The art collection was all that can be expected with a limitless budget – everything is the very very best example of its genre – breathtaking! What's more, you can stand really close to the exhibits. The painting that blew me away wasn't Van Gogh's 'Irises' or Turner's 'Modern Rome' (of course they were stunning) but Mantegna's 'Adoration of the Magi' – it is indescribably beautiful.

There's another reason to visit the Getty Centre . . . the view!


And the gardens . . . I love the steel structures for the bougainvillea and the topiary maze over the pond.


Time to move on from L.A., we packed our bags for an early start and drove south down the Santa Ana; we were going have lunch with my godfather in San Clemente. He has lived in California since the early 1960s and I had only a vague memory of our last meeting when I was a teenager, so I was wondering how we'd get on. I needn't have worried at all, we had a lovely time together and lunch in the sunshine with a view of the ocean glittering in the distance.


After we'd said farewell, Cliff and I drove back north to Long Beach – our bed for the the night was in a cabin on the Queen Mary.


In the morning we explored the engine room and museum about the history of the ship from exclusive liner, serving as a troop ship in WWII and then as a cruise ship again. We probably nosed around rooms we weren't supposed to go into, but no-one told us off and we we had a great time promenading up and down the decks and endless corridors.


So, off we go on the road again – but first we had to make a detour back to the Farmer's Daughter Hotel  . . . you see, we'd had a message that my bag had been found! And when it was handed to me, I found that all the contents were there intact – yes, even the cash in my wallet!

Celia

x

Next . . . Part 3 – Highway 1 (Probably the best ocean drive in the world)

21 comments:

  1. So glad you got your bag back Celia and everything was still in it.........

    It seems that everyone involved was very helpful with the whole episode, but definitely something you didn't need to go through............

    Sounds like you've had a lovely holiday and seen some wonderful sights, makes me want to dig out my passport and start planning......

    Claire :}

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've just caught up with parts one and two and all I can say is WOW! Talk about highs and lows! Glad you got sorted out bag wise, what a nightmare and those views are spectacular, what an amazing holiday!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow. This is basically my dream holiday. I know so many great restaurants in LA and up the coast. Can't wait for your next installments. Xx

    ReplyDelete
  4. How lovely that you were given so much help, and that you got your bag back. Great pictures, sounds as though you've been having a wonderful trip.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I can just imagine the icy hand that griped you inside when you realised your bag had gone. Horrible feeling. Sounds like you're having a fab time otherwise - I hope you were careful with the woodwork on the Queen Mary - my grandad turned it from a liner to a troop ship and back again in his capacity as cabinet maker!

    ReplyDelete
  6. With greedy bankers and grubby politicians hogging the headlines it is truly uplifting to come across honesty.

    Handbag and faith restored, I can now settle down to wait for the next post! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  7. how wonderful to have your handbag returned :) also nice to know that some forms of bureaucracy work well!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh Celia, much as I do love the bliss of happy endings, may I also tell you that you've had quite a bit of unnecessary plot lines added to your traveling west holiday.

    Hoping that you and yours will have a calm bunch of days on board for the rest of your journey.

    xo

    ReplyDelete
  9. What an adventure! brings back happy memories! Lovely photos.

    ReplyDelete
  10. So glad you got your bag bag, with everything in it. Amazing views, look forward to reading about the rest of the trip.

    ReplyDelete
  11. What a pics! Wow! Thanks Celia for lovely posts. :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. What a true adventure Celia but great that you got your bag back. Restores your faith in human nature. Looks like an action filled holiday... can't wait for part three!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Wow Celia! Not so good losing bag, but great that you got it back!! Phew! And what a great holiday!! (PS: Love the drawing about bag! )

    ReplyDelete
  14. You really know how to add drama Celia! I'm glad that you had a happy ending.

    ReplyDelete
  15. How lucky to get your bag back- E had hers stolen at Barcelona airport, which bascially did for our holiday as we were in transit to France and Italy- passport, wallet etc. unfortunately for us it was a Spanish holiday weekend, consulate closed (from Saturday to Tuesday) and the Pope was consecrating the Sagrada Familia that week, so hotels full. Like you we had a pleasant experience with the Consulate when it re-opened, but a bit of a nightmare in between- eventually flew back to UK- Passport and other documents recovered later by Spanish Police.

    ReplyDelete
  16. On a positive note- we stayed near the airport in LA once and took the Blue Bus to Santa Monica and did the beach and restuarants etc. It was mothers day in the USA so lots going on then as well- Santa Monica had extra attractions in and around the pier.
    Great times!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I inwardly started hyper-ventilating when I read about you leaving your handbag in the taxi, I can only imagine how awful that moment must have been. Once I calmed down a bit, I started to enjoy your holiday! What an adventure! When I was eight years old I walked down to the Indian gardens in the Grand Canyon, it was a great adventure. I've never forgotten it. What a wonderful holiday, I look forward to seeing and reading more. Vanessa xxx

    ReplyDelete
  18. Personally, I would have gone for the sobbing heap option, but well done you and your stiff upper lip! And you always had the chickeny wallpaper to cheer you up! All's well that ends well.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Gosh, what an adventure. Glad it had a happy ending.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thank you for being sympathetic, but I had only myself to blame. I was lucky to be travelling with someone who stays cool and just gets on with fixing the problem!

    Celia
    x

    ReplyDelete
  21. oh my gosh!! i was so upset, that is a big fear when traveling, but it had a happy ending! so happy to hear! your trip sounded amazing!

    ReplyDelete

I love reading all the comments (except for spam and advertising which I will delete) and I'll reply here in the comments under each blog post, it may take a few days if I'm busy.
You don't need to have a blog to leave a comment, you can select the name/URL option and fill in just your name instead of a blog link.
And, I've turned off that annoying word verification malarkey, to make it easy for you :-)