Tuesday, July 30, 2013

LA - a City of Contrasts

We have seen a vast array of different cultures in this giant sprawling metropolis.

Visiting Downtown. we visited the Walt Disney Theatre with its stunningly modern architecture and its great support for the arts.  Nearby was the City Hall with its marble columns and traditional architecture where we went up a series of lifts to the open air observation deck where we could look over the sprawling city as far as the eye could see.

we also visited MOCA - the Museum of Contemporary Art with an eclectic and interesting collection including a house made of bread that we walked inside.  It is slowly disintegrating and is due to be destroyed next month.

A long bus trip to Santa Monica took us through many districts and socio economic districts - Hispanic, Korean, Japanese, super rich Beverly Hills and rodeo Drive until we reached the seaside houses of Santa Monica overlooking the pier out into the Pacific. The beach was huge but the car was king.  There are 27 million cars in LA and a goodly portion of them was parked on the beach at Santa Monica.

Just a few kms down the beachfront is Venice Beach.  A teenage hip version of the flower power people of the 60s and 70s was on parade. The only people older than us were busking in a rock band.
Our final cultural experience was the Getty Museum.  This is worth visiting for the architecture alone and its location on a hill on the city's outskirts. This is a private museum with an outstanding representative collection - all quality.  Our favourites were the Impressionists and the 18th century French decorative arts.

                                         No room for swimmers with all these cars at the beach.
                                          The Getty Museum
                                                   Renoir's La Promenade
                                          The Getty Maze
                                        Gail and Jeanie in the Bread House at MOCA.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Two Seasons But Four Breakfasts in One Day

The Americans think they can eat.  We managed four breakfasts on our first day!

Before the shuttle picked us up at 6 am, we managed to fit in breakfast but also backed up for a second at the airport.

On approaching Los Angeles we were served breakfast on the plane and when we reached our hotel {still before we left Sydney} we were offered breakfast.  What a start to an American holiday!  The first time since our early teens when we could eat 4 breakfasts in 1 day!

Everyone knows that American meals are large.  The 3 of us could have shared 1 meal instead of the 3 we ordered at dinner.  I don't know why but we could not fit any lunch in.

Our hotel is in an excellent location close to Dolby Theatre, home of the Academy Awards and the path with the stars set in it.  We are close to the Metro which we plan to use today as we explore further afield.

The whole area around here is bright and buzzing.  All the shops were open till very late - it was Sunday night and the many restaurants were all doing a roaring trade.


We met some Hollywood locals too.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Monet in Melbourne

Last week we travelled by train to Melbourne to catch up with some good friends and to see the Monet exhibition.

The weather smiled on us - it was not the usual chilly Melbourne winter - and we enjoyed a couple of memorable meals, a lot of laughs and of course the Monet paintings!

There were more than sixty paintings ranging from his early works to those painted not long before his death in 1926.  We loved some of the early landscapes especially.  Most of the work was donated to France in 1966 in the will of Monet's younger son. We were so glad we had made the effort to visit Melbourne just before we head off for three months travel O/S.

Here we are at Monet's house - well it looks like it doesn't it?