First day - Bungalows and skyscrapers!

Trip Start Dec 27, 2012
Trip End Jan 06, 2013

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Flag of United States  , California
Friday, December 28, 2012

Not too much to say about the flight over - just the normal gruelling long haul process (fitful sleep the night before, very early start, plenty of queuing at Heathrow, then 11 uncomfortable hours crammed into a 747.....arriving completely knackered, despite having spent most of the previous 16 hours sat down!). Actually, it wasn't too bad - the flight was on time, and very smooth, and although US immigration was a little slow, we were met by Juliette and Lydia and immediately wondering at the marvels of LA. Liz was also excited to have spotted Hugh Laurie as we came through the airport, plus one of the dancers from Strictly was sat just a few rows ahead of us on the plane!

Juliette dropped Liz and I at our little apartment in Los's small, but rather nice, and in a very quiet road, quite close to where Juliette, Morteza et al used to live. We did a quick bit of shopping for the essentials, and then Juliette drove off to Pasadena with Lydia and Olivia.

Liz and I were both a bit weary, and went to bed not long after 7pm....which meant I then woke up around 2.30am feeling ready to start the day (it was 10.30am in the UK). I dozed a bit until the morning, and then went up the road to collect the hire car, before we drove to Pasadena (which is about 30 mins away), and met up with the others. Juliette had already planned our day, and the first thing on the list was brunch in Pasadena at a lovely cafe called Julienne's. The breakfasts were typically Californian....huge plates of all sorts of eggs/bacon/waffles/toasts/fruit, etc, etc. We sat outside on the terrace, but were glad of some overhead heaters, as (despite the glorious sunshine) it was still rather nippy. 

After a VERY copious brunch we made our way back to Juliette and Morteza's apartment and chatted before Liz and I went with Juliette to pick up Sara (eldest daughter) from her boyfriend's flat in downtown LA, which is now rather hip and cool (and safe, having been extremely dangerous a few years ago, apparently). 

In the afternoon Liz and I took in (believe it or not) a little walking tour of "Bungalow Heaven", an area of Pasadena famed for its craftsman houses (which are all bungalows). Many of the homes were built around 100 years ago, at the time of the Arts and Crafts movement, and are very well kept. The area itself is very pretty, with cool tree-lined streets, and small parks dotted around. The complete antithesis of downtown LA. 

After a reviving cuppa at the apartment, Liz and I headed back into LA, and found an hour or so to visit the "LACMA" (Los Angeles County Museum of Art), which is a huge fascinating collection of buildings housing all sorts of art. We didn't have long, so restricted ourselves to some of the sculptures, in particular an exhibition of works by an American, Ken Price, which was a lot more interesting than I'd imagined! We'd promised Juliette to be back in Pasadena by 7.30 for dinner, which we just about made - despite the Friday evening traffic, and found the apartment full of various friends of Sara, Cameron and Lydia, with much laughing/joking....

Juliette had cooked a chicken curry, and Morteza had made huge quantities of his famous Persian rice, so no one went hungry! We definitely felt our Los Angeles holiday had begun.....


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