Tuesday, February 13, 2007

First Day in L.A.

We’ve made it to L.A. The drive down Interstate 5 was uneventful. In fact, there is little to look at on this stretch of highway. There were a few Rest Stops and some McDonalds fast food places but nothing of substance to see. California’s Highway 5 is straighter than a rocket’s ascension to space. And setting the car to cruise at 70 MPH will get you from East Bay to L.A. in less than six hours.

The weather is fantastic here. It’s about 65 or so. I just checked today’s weather in Atlanta and it’s 5 degrees! Yeah, you read that right, 5 degrees. That’s crazy. May as well live in Alaska. I miss California’s weather. It's fantastic.

The drive into north L.A. was beautiful. The afternoon sun cast a golden glow on the west-facing hills. Their crevasses were deep, black and sharp which made a high contrast to the golden color of the dried grasses on the hillsides. It had just rained and the cumulous clouds shown violet blue as if lit by black light. These colors reflected in the wet pavement of our highway.

We unpacked the car and moved into our 12th floor “penthouse.” It’s a clean place but built in 1925, it shows. You can read a newspaper through the washcloth!

The ceiling in the lobby is copper and hammered into an intricate scalloped patterns.

We went to dinner. Found a Mexican place on the corner near the hotel. The waiter showed us to a red leather booth. We ordered beer, margaritas and food.

We were all talking about Richard joining us tomorrow and how important it was to call him and give him explicit directions. "He likes everything all lined up" mom says "otherwise he'll get nervous about driving into L.A." Yeah, really who wouldn't? It's a crazy place.

Then a discussion ensued around how important it is for the Terrys to have everything laid out, perfectly planned. Dad says: "I feel like I've lived two lives. I've planned well and as a result I've accomplished twice as much in my lifetime."

Interesting way to look at it.

When we were in China I was thinking how difficult it would be for most American travelers, including my parents. It was impossible to plan anything in real detail. The single most important surviving skill while traveling China is flexibility. Our experience with the fishing boat up the Li river was proof of that.

After dinner I sent my uncle step-by-step detailed mapquest directions on how to get here. I hope it'll give him peace of mind.

The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard.