Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Day Trip to Los Angeles

On Tuesday, we went to Los Angeles. I haven't been there in two or three years and the traffic was really hard for me to take. I looked at all the cars and wondered how I could have lived there for so long and never had a car accident. But get in a serious one up here, where there are practically no cars. Merging from our freeway on to Interstate 5 was a nightmare, but after that I managed to calm down and enjoy my day.
I lived in Los Angeles for 30 years and I really liked it. I'm not one for cities like New York or Philadelphia, two large US cities that I am familiar with, where you live in a true cityscape.  In Los Angeles, you have your garden, your lawn; you can grow oranges, lemons, avocados and all kinds of flowers. In our garden we had hummingbirds, mocking birds, and mourning doves, in addition to pigeons and crows.  Visits by opossums were common and raccoons could be seen wandering down the sidewalks at night. 

I tried to show some of the big city/small town contrast here. Century City skyscrapers are in the background and small, single family homes, in the foreground. Believe me, with hubby driving and on a mission to accomplish a lot of stuff while in the city, I didn't have a chance to take any well-composed photos. 

Spanish style homes in a typical Los Angeles neighborhood.

This is the street where our Los Angeles house is located. We didn't stop outside our house, we just drove by. The trees you see lining the street are jacarandas that are covered in deep purple/blue flowers in the spring. We have bougainvilleas in red, orange, white, and pink covering our 7-foor wrought iron fence there. It is really a very pretty street and neighborhood. And you can't beat the location: right between downtown and the beach, just east of Beverly Hills, it is close to the Farmer's Market, the by now celebrity famous Grove Mall, UCLA, where I worked, and so on. I lived on this street all the time I lived in L.A. and I met both my husband, who was my neighbor, and my best friend, Lin, also a neighbor here. So I will always have fond memories of this Los Angeles neighborhood.

Another view of our street. Again, not a very good picture, I know.

A busy L. A. street. I think I tried to capture the Hollywood sign, but was too far away. I got some billboards though -- they line the streets here.

While we were at a gas station, a blue Santa Monica bus passed by, evoking memories of my years on the west side of town, working at UCLA. I used to take the bus to work the last 10 years or so that I worked. I probably walked a couple of miles each day because I left my car at home and, believe me, riding city buses can be weird, sometimes scary, sometimes touching your heart, sometimes making you laugh. One could write a book about the characters that step on to a Los Angeles MTA bus. Don't know if anyone would want to read it, but that's another story.

After all our errands were done, we headed home.  After a long, tedious, drive up the hill that marks the end of the west side of Los Angeles, we head downhill to the San Fernando Valley. You really feel the difference in temperature as you go over the top of this hill and down into the valley, a very hot place in summer and really warm now.

Here we are on a different freeway, leaving Los Angeles and its suburbs behind. There are places with some magnificent rock formations that I didn't have much of a chance to capture. Here are just a few of them.

They put netting on the hillsides here to prevent the soil from coming down. We had so much rain this winter and that always creates a delicate situation in the hills.

You probably can't see them, but on top of two of these steep hills, and I mean steep, people built a couple of large homes. The house on the right has been there for as long as I have driven this freeway. It looks like the house is all there is room for at the top of the hill. A very, very steep road leads up to it and I think living there would leave me in a constant state of vertigo. 

A lake in Palmdale, I think it may be part of the Los Angeles aqueduct, which is close by in any case.  Don't you love a blogger, like me, who doesn't know a thing about stuff? Anyway, when I drive by here, I always think of the movie Chinatown and the struggle to get water to the Los Angeles basin.

The great Mojave Desert was covered with bright yellow flowers. Again, I have no idea what kind they are. But one thing I know for sure is that this vast desert is beautiful in its own special way.

We know we are not far from home when we approach these mountains and see the wind turbines. It was a very busy day and a tense one for me with all those cars and all that driving that I'm no longer used to. But it was a lot of fun to go on a road trip with my husband and to visit our friends Fran and Bud and ride in their elevator. 

More about this elevator and Fran's art work is coming soon. I also want to welcome a couple of new followers with names and links. And read more of your blogs, I feel like I don't know what you are up to any more. I am still drowning in paperwork here today, so soon. Have a great weekend!


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