An Angelina

Had beyond a great day yesterday, lovies! Met up with an old friend, Julia, from my Evergreen State College days and reminisced about the parties, the experiences, and the magical forest we used to do our raging. Both her and her boyfriend, Chris, came to visit, and I got to play Los Angeles tour guide for the first time! He’d never been out to America before, let alone LA, so I was quite proud to show them around some of my favorite places.

Our first stop was the Griffith Park Observatory, which I, unfortunately, didn’t know was closed on Mondays [total facepalm on my part], but it luckily turned out well. We parked near the base of the observatory and I pulled out some spicy tamarind Mexican candy I’d brought along for us all to enjoy. When we got out of the car, there was a sweet shaggy dog on the trail and I took that as a sign that our hike was going to be incredible. We chatted for a bit about how Angelinos treat their dogs like their children and I mentioned that I have 3 dogs at home. Julia kindly asked to meet my pups when I got back home. I of course agreed. The winding hills were forgiving and the brush on the way up was more green than what would usually be seen. Monday seems to be a great day to hike these hills as it was quite empty and very chill. Once we made it to the flat landing underneath our destination we were able to breathe in the amazing view very reminiscent of Mufasa showing Simba the land that would soon become his. We moseyed on up to the observatory, took a stroll around the outside of the building to the farthest open point and chatted as old friends do. The day was a bit foggier than I would have liked, but downtown LA took on the form of silhouetted paintings of the skyline. It was breathtaking. Our descent, of course, included a fun photo shoot near the Hollywood sign and another in front of the observatory.

Our second destination of the day was the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It’s right around the corner from the observatory so it only made sense to head there next. We parked in the massive structure at Hollywood and Highland, took about 40 escalators to the top, purchased some drinks at the mall to quench our thirst after our long hike, got our validation [which makes parking $2.00 for 2 hours… unheard of in Los Angeles], and made our way downstairs. On the street level, the Chinese Theatre had a super fun little game going on to search for celebrities who have their handprints on the grounds – it was a blast to watch mostly because the woman who was announcing the celebrities looked incredibly bored in the face but had the most excited voice. It was such a beautifully hilarious contradiction. We crossed the street over towards the El Capitan and passed by the delicious smelling Ghirardelli shop next door. Absolutely nothing compares to the sweet scent of spicy cinnamon and mouthwatering chocolate on a cool fall afternoon. As we made our way to Hollywood and Vine by foot, I remembered being 14 and hanging out at 3am on the streets – I had a really chill mom – the blast of nostalgia was overwhelming. To our left the Hollywood sign peeped through the city blocks we passed; memorability at 100%. On the walk back towards Hollywood and Highland, plans were made for our final destination of the day.

The drive to the Grand Central Market was a great welcome to our stereotypical, but true, LA traffic on the freeway. An 8 mile [~13km] drive took almost 30 minutes and that wasn’t bad in comparison to what it could be. Gladly, it’s true that time passes more quickly when in good company. Parking was also breezy and we didn’t have to deal with the usual flag-waving folks holding signs pulling the age-old bait and switch. The market was only a half a block away from the location of the car which was super convenient! We arrived after Eggslut closed which was a bummer, but once Jules saw the Salvadoran restaurant and the word “pupusas” she was sold and so was I! Turned out that Chris had never eaten pupusas before because they apparently don’t exist in London, so I was doubly sold. They were super kind and treated me to lunch as a gift for their tour which I really appreciated – and still do. We then went for ice cream at McConnell’s and I had the most incredible peanut butter and chocolate ice cream my mouth had ever tasted. The depth of flavor was out of this world and there were swirls of peanut butter inside – so good!

While enjoying our ice cream, Julia figured it would be a great time to check out the Walt Disney Concert Hall, so we decided to walk over. Downtown LA, as Chris pointed out, is unexpectedly steeper than anticipated. This was noted while walking up the hill on 4th and Grand. Once we arrived at the building, designed by Frank Ghery, I asked my friends if they’d like for me to take photos of them in front of the building. The answer was a resounding YES! We walked down Grand to 2nd street and once we arrived at the front of the building there seemed to be some sort of professional-ish photoshoot going on with a woman in a stunning red dress. She was twirling for the camera and her dress caught the breeze in just the right way to create a stellar photo. Not one to be discouraged, I positioned Julia and Chris in front of the concert hall and still got some fabulous photos of them without the woman in the red dress visible. Thus began our walk back to the car for me to be dropped off at home.

As promised earlier in the day, once I made it back home I brought out all three of my little ones – Pluto, Roxanne, and Boots – for a meet and greet. Pluto is very hesitant around strangers, but he knew that my visitors were safe because I brought him out to them. He still wasn’t immediately friendly, but he began to warm up with time. Roxanne is a bit nicer, but she feeds off of Pluto’s energy, so she was a little standoffish at first but warmed up much quicker. Boots is my “all bark, no bite” girl, she loves everyone she meets but she barks anyway. My favorite thing about her is that she barks while wagging her tail, it’s a really great experience. They’re quite the beauties, I’ll post photos of my little ones soon. Enough about my sweet babies, the real matter at hand is that Julia and Chris left with what I hope is a great impression of what SoCal has to offer – and knowledge that it was just the tip of the iceberg.

When I stop and think about it, LA is genuinely one of the most amazingly pretty places to visit, and there’s always SO much to do. I should really visit around more and take in the beauty that I was so lucky to be born into. It’s easy to take the great weather and awesome opportunities for granted when they’re always there, but I think it’s time to really breathe it in.

I’d love to hear if any of you lovely folks have some great LA stories. I always enjoy hearing what people love about my hometown.

You’re so amazing lovies, always