I want to share some of the highlights from my vacation in California because I had such a lovely time. I arrived Wednesday afternoon and was greeted by Kate and Alé. Our first stop was to a local El Salvadoran restaurant for pupusas. If you never have had them, you definitely should give them a whirl. They are like stuffed tortillas filled with chicken, pork, rice, cheese, basically all sorts of goodness of your choosing. I heart them. In addition to being delicious, they are inexpensive. There is no disappointment to be had here. Try them.
After lunch, we headed to a local liquor store called "BevMo", which happened to be selling bottles of wine for five cents. Yes, you read correctly. The deal was if you bought one bottle of wine, the second bottle was only five cents. Luckily, we were armed with recommendations from the astute connoisseurs of The Wine Cask Blog . My favorite pick from the selection of bottles Kate purchased was the Gazela Pinho Verde from Portugal. It is a delicate white wine that travels smoothly down the hatch. This drink was light, refreshing, and matched our moods well. I recommend grabbing a bottle. After stocking up, we headed back to su casa for dinner.
Kate made a fabulous meal topped with an even better banana dessert. OH and there was ice cream. Lots and lots of ice cream ALL WEEK LONG. I cannot tell you how awesome it was to sit down at Kate's table to enjoy a meal with her and her family. It had been entirely too long since we'd seen each other. I am actually embarrassed by the time I let elapse between visits. We have been friends since high school; the kind of friends who threw rocks at windows in the middle of the night because we were bored and knew the other was awake. When we were 15, we use to sit in study hall contemplating love and life. We were forever the adventurers always driving across the state in her old volvo. It was not uncommon for us to drive nearly to Canada only to stop a few miles shy of the border to eat dessert at the Seven Up Cafe. More than once we drove 72 miles to get pizza, and best of all, we are still the bestest of friends. I will never again wait so long to see her.
After having been up for 21 hours, I eagerly headed to bed after dinner.
The next day, we ventured to The Getty Museum where we saw some exceptionally interesting pieces of art and sculpture. The museum itself is a piece of work. The buildings are crisp, clean, and uncluttered.
I was intrigued by the way the gallery highlighted the pictures, from the color of the paint on the walls, to the actual slant of the paintings on display, and from the flow of the rooms to the overall lighting of the exhibits, which subtly added to the experience of being engrossed in the artistic talents showcased. The layout of the work was delicate yet arduous. Everything gave the air of simplicity but you could tell someone spent a great deal of time organizing every detail of the productions. The presentation was striking and beautiful.
We saw "51 Miles of Concrete", which showcased the L.A. "River", watercolors by Dresden, an exhibit of "Anti-Art" by Japanese artists, and we also saw the "Made for Manufacture." This was our 'favorite' exhibit (I am being completely facetious here), as we both were struck by the sheer pretentiousness of the French back in the day. Their ornate designs and obscene detail made us very uncomfortable. Of course I picked this exhibit to visit because I thought it was going to be something completely different. Next time, I will read the brochure more carefully. Kate picked the "Zoopsia," which was by far the coolest work in the museum. One of the sculptures was of a dinosaur made out of Crayola clay. If you looked carefully, you could see the bones were actually little people rowing. It was awesome.
The Getty wrote this about the sculpture:
"In Leviathon, inspired by natural history museum displays, Hawkinson envisions dinosaur vertebrae as a line of figures rowing, each stroke frozen in time like an Eadweard Muybridge stop-action photograph. The somewhat haphazard dips of the oars, if real, would hinder rather than propel a boat—or beast—forward in this sophisticated spin on the fossil record. "
(Work by Tim Hawkins )
The Getty has a FANTASTIC garden on the side of a hill that features a cascading waterfall. The fountain in the middle spawned a thought between the three of us. We tossed pennies and dimes into the water only to wonder when and why this tradition was started... The garden is gorgeous and very appealing, especially to those studying "Herbology". I briefly felt like I was hanging out with Hermione there as Kate described all the varieties of plants and highlighted all the edible ones.
On our way back to the tram, we looked through the children's shop to check out the goodies for sale. I'm always amazed by the toys they have available at places such as this museum. Kate discovered an awesome book, "P is for Peanut" . She bought one for a gift and one for her son. I think the two of us read the book at least four times over the course of the week and not for Alé's benefit either. The photography is outstanding.
We encountered an alluring infinity fountain upon departing the shop. I have a very large fascination for infinity pools, so I was fond of the fountain. Turns out, so was Alé, as it was where he took his first steps. Kate stood him up a couple of feet away from the fountain. He was so taken with the water, he walked right up to the side. It was awesome. We watched him walk back and fourth a couple of times before we left. How fabulous is it to see one of your best friend's children walk for the first time? I felt very much like a proud Aunt.
(I just loved how the water flowed off the plane of the fountain. I really kind of do have an obsession with infinity pools...)
We walked through the museum lobby at the same time a very long Chinese-dragon-float -like thing hanging from the ceiling started moving to the piano-like experiment on the floor below it. I know this description is awful, but it truly was captivating. Our timing was perfect, as all the school children stood underneath the floating tunnel "oohing" and "ahhhing". They were adorable standing there in awe. Afterwards, we took the little tram back down to the parking. When we left the elevator, I caught a whiff of men's cologne that made me nostalgic for college. I haven't smelt the wonderful scent of a man furtively trying to impress in a very long time. Thank you older man in the white shirt.
An afternoon at a museum will make a girl hungry, so we headed to my favorite and only acceptable fast food establishment: IN-N-OUT . As Kate puts it, "there is something to be said about a four item menu." The place has the best food ever.
We feasted on burgers and fries then headed home where I spent the evening chatting with David, Kate's husband, and playing with Alé, who happens to be the cutest boy ever. I love him.
Once Kate returned from class, I had the pleasure of listening to her and David's marvelous married couple conversation. Hysterical. Just hilarious. We spent the remainder of the evening drinking Salvadoran hot chocolate and chatting about everything from birth to expensive worm "shit". Kate and I also sat at the computer for awhile surfing the net like school girls, but not before Kate made the scary "grape" face. David and I were scared of her, as in made her stop. It was awesome...
to be continued...