Simon has organised for Dad to visit the Callaway national performance centre in Carlsbad, they set off with Kasia this morning. Mum and I plan to spend the day exploring Downtown. Our Uber arrives and we jump in. After 5 minutes I realise we’re heading the wrong direction. It turns out our driver doesn’t even work for Uber and we accidentally got into the wrong car. He returns to Watermarke to pick up his correct fare and we rebook a cab as our actual driver has since left.
Eventually we arrive at the Broad and join the line. I’ve long wanted to visit and the Broad doesn’t disappoint. Their private art collection is vast and of all the museums I’ve visited on this round the world trip I can honestly say this is my favourite. The building itself is like a piece of art. First we explore Cindy Sherman’s special exhibition – Imitation of Life. Mum and I sit in the video room and watch the entire full length slasher/thriller feature Office Killer. It’s truly gruesome but funny. On the third floor are the artwork galleries. I particularly like the Warhol room, Robert Therrien’s Under the Table – a giant dining room table and chairs, so oversized that we can walk underneath, it is like being a child again, also Damien Hirst’s Chlorpropamide Dots. My favourite pieces however are the massive Jeff Koons sculptures that dominate the space resembling inflatables but are made from shiny coloured stainless steel – I want a balloon dog, but one sold in 2013 for $58.4 million and my budget won’t quite stretch to that.
Leaving the Broad we walk to my favourite lunch spot, Simply Salad. Mum and I eat sat outside before making our way to the FIDM, the Los Angeles Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. We wander around the campus gardens, the museum and the shops. Our next plan is to visit the Grammy’s museum at LALive but it is closed this afternoon. Instead we investigate the music and screams coming from the huge courtyard. The area is fenced off but the giant tv screens above inform us that 106 & Park, the hip hop and r’n’b tv show, is filming and Puff Daddy/P-Diddy/Diddy/Puffy/Sean Combs is there.
We decide to catch an afternoon showing of Finding Dori in 3D. Apart from dozing off a little near the beginning I love it. The story resonates with my Mum who leans over at the end to whisper, “you’re my Dori”, at the end.
The others arrive home with goodies to BBQ and we spend the evening sat outside beneath the starlike lights of the towering skyscrapers eating delicious food and talking.
With Simon in work, Kasia drops mum, dad and I for breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien, a bakery that makes the most delicious home baked organic bread. Dad samples the entire coffee menu and we all eat a lot of bread.
Dropped on Hollywood Boulevard we stroll along the Walk of Fame stepping on the famous pink named stars of Hollywood greats past and present. In true tourist fashion we book ourselves on board the Starline tour of the Star’s homes. In our roofless truck we pop in our headphones and begin the tour visiting Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Bel-Air. Our funny guide points out celebrity owned houses and famous movie locations. We drive along Mulholland Drive that gives magnificent views over Los Angeles on one side and the Valley on the other. We see Studio City and the luxurious houses at the Summit. We drive along the Rodeo Drive window shopping in the expensive boutiques that line the road. With a final drive along Sunset Boulevard, Wilshire and finally back onto Hollywood Boulevard we disembark, all a little sun kissed from sun exposure.
Kasia picks us up and takes us home. When Simon arrives from work we go for a beer and some food at Whole Foods Bar Eight followed by cocktails up on the roof at the Perch. We listen to the live band and take in the views of Downtown from our high vantage point. Our next stop on this downtown bar crawl is Spin at the Standard. A table tennis bar where we all take it in turns to play each other. Dad has got some skills I appear not to have inherited. A fun way to end our night.
We put mum and dad in a cab back to their hotel and on our walk home we see Jedward crossing the road. Of all the celebrities to spot I have to spot them!
I wake up super early this morning, due to the mist/fog/smog (not sure which) visibility is almost zero out of the window. I decide to sleep some more. I’m woken abruptly by Simon on the phone. The folks, who have been awake since 5am, are sat outside Starbucks and Simon is waving to them from our 30th floor view. We all get dressed, meet them in the lobby and drive to Eggslut for breakfast.
Simon unfortunately has work today so after a whistle stop tour of the arts district Dad rides with Kasia and Simon to Santa Monica to pop to Roger Dunn’s golf shop and Mum and I jump out to walk around the arts district shops and boutiques. We wander up to Little Tokyo and it’s quirky shops and eateries, then onto the City Hall. On the 26th floor we read about the history of each of the LA mayors and take in the views from the windows.
A steep walk up the hill to the Walt Disney Concert Hall where we await Dad. We grab a drink and a slice of cake at the Broad museum. Then make our way through the tall skyscrapers of downtown. We’ve walked a lot today so I eventually book an uber to take us back to the apartment where we change into our bathers and spend a few hours at the pool.
We leave the apartment bound for Santa Monica to pick Simon up from work and head out for dinner. Simon has made reservations at Watergrill, a lovely fish restaurant on the ocean front. I again sample oysters but still don’t get them, but they serve my most favourite meal – black miso cod. The restaurant is busy, the decor cool and the staff friendly. We have a lovely evening.
After 11 whole months travelling the world away from home my parents arrive in Los Angeles today, the last time I saw them we were all crying in Roath Library car park saying goodbye. I’m so excited to see them. Due to the amount of luggage they’re bringing only Simon goes to collect them from the airport, as there won’t be room for me. Instead Kasia and I Uber to their hotel to surprise them on their arrival.
We hide in the lobby, Simon gives us updates on the phone as to their eta. They finally arrive and I get a massive dad hug followed by an elongated mum hug. So lovely to see them both. We get them checked in then head out to Bottega Louie for a fancy lunch and a catch up.
Dad is eager to get on the golf course and Simon has arranged a round at Westchester golf club this evening with his buddies. Dad leaves with Kasia and Simon, leaving me to enjoy an evening with my mum. We wander around Downtown stopping at Eight bar for a beer and talk about my travels and home. Mum begins the battle with her eyelids, having missed a whole night’s sleep, so we walk on to the Yard House where mum gets a new lease of life over another beer and some bar food.
We walk back to the apartment coincidentally arriving at the same time as the golfers. Mum and dad are both exhausted so we say goodnight and Simon gives them a ride back to their hotel. I can’t believe that my Mum and Dad are here – and so begins the final chapter of my travels.
100°+ today. The swimming pool beckons. On my first of two visits to the 7th floor the hot air hits like a wall. A breeze stops the burning sun from scorching. The weather warnings on the tv were right, the heat is intense and a dip in the cooling water is a must. I dry on the sunbed within a minute of getting out.
Kasia prepares a delicious traditionally Polish lunch of breadcrumbed chicken with vegetables. After eating I head back downstairs for some more suntime. When the temperature cools Simon and Kasia join me poolside. We pretty much have the pool to ourselves and we stay until the sun creeps out of view behind one of the adjacent towering skyscrapers.
With nightfall the warm temperature remains. We opt to eat out tonight at a sushi hand roll restaurant. The queue for seats at the bar is long but it’s worth it. The chef makes his way around the bar hand rolling the hand rolls with seaweed paper, hot sticky rice and fresh raw fish. With soy sauce, wasabi and fresh ginger accompaniments I happily make my way through salmon, yellowtail, crab and tuna rolls.
Simon has introduced us to a new tv show, Kasia and I have become obsessed with Sense8 on Netflix. So back home we watch a couple of episodes before bed.
It’s Sports day! Joe’s having a party at his place as not only is it the final of the USA Golf Open it is also the NBA finals. I make some coleslaw and we grab some food for the BBQ from the Little Tokyo market and drive to Santa Monica. I’m ravenous, luckily Joe has supplied breakfast and I get busy whipping up a batter for bacon pancakes smothered in Aunt Jemima’s maple syrup. Now for cocktails.
Joe’s house is the perfect party venue. We have a lovely day with Joe and his friends, watching sports. It’s lovely to see Anne and we arrange to have a pizza and movie night when I’m house/dog sitting again in a couple of weeks.
Kasia takes control of the grill BBQing chicken, marinated ribeye and a whole stuffed yellowtail, along with sausages and burgers. I’m so full.
Dustin Johnson won the open and Cleveland won the Basketball.
Simon, Kasia and I drive back downtown, it is so warm this evening. We walk a few blocks to the Public School bar where we have a couple of drinks and play darts. I am pretty rubbish and mainly concentrate on getting them in the board rather than in the wall!
I’ve had a lovely day considering I’m not that sporty.
We have a Dogtown breakfast at Doves before running a few errands. Kasia drops me at the beach in Venice. Unfortunately I didn’t think to bring bathers with me so make do with a pair of Simon’s that happen to be in the car and a Welsh flag golf towel – very patriotic!
I sit on the beach with a view of the popular surf wave watching the surfers ride the waves. I spend the day people watching and writing on the sand.
Later Kasia picks me up and we head back to Doves. I spot Joe’s beautiful Chevrolet turquoise truck parked on Main. He’s in Dogtown so we wait for Simon chatting with Joe. Everyone wants to go to the Roger Dunn golf shop, I don’t but I have nothing better to do, so I drive the Merc while Simon and Kasia have a ride in Joe’s truck.
Back at the apartment , hungry, Simon and I order LA Cafe home delivery. Yummy!