It's all been sort of a blur since we left last Friday. The limo picked us up at 4:30 (local time) Friday morning, after a relatively sleepless night. The ride to the airport was pretty quick and smooth. Check-in and security, though, were not: it was a holiday weekend, and the airport was packed. It took me a full 90 minutes to get through security, and naturally our gate was the farthest from the spot where we entered the airport. I ran through the entire terminal carrying my two bags (I didn't check luggage), meeting my friends at the gate. I wasn't late for the plane, but it was a near thing. Our flight took off on time at 7:AM.
We landed at LAX at 9:20 (Pacific time). Having been awake for over six hours by then, we were f-ing exhausted by then, but our hosts for the week were bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and ready to go. It was, honestly, infectious. We hopped in the cars (once we'd walked all the way from, once again, the farthest gate possible in the entire airport!) and, after a very brief stop at our hosts' Miracle Mile-area apartment, drove to The Grove. It's an open-air mall with an incredibly gorgeous promenade with a center fountain.
After The Grove, we had lunch at Umami Burger. If you have the chance, check it out. Quirky, a little obnoxious, expensive, and worth a try.
Our next stop was a long trek through 'the good parts' of the University of Southern California (USC) campus. The groom-to-be is a student there, and was quite proud to show off his stomping grounds.
|a teensy bit of the back side of Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, where USC plays football|
|Exposition Park Rose Garden|
|Exposition Park Rose Garden fountain|
|USC fancy outdoor space with fancy building thing in background|
|a plant unlike anything I've seen at home!|
I took lots of photos and a few videos, both on my phone and with my regular camera, but nothing can really express what it was like that day. For one thing, it was unbelievably gorgeous, simply beyond. And we walked a lot. I'd say it was around six miles, maybe more. By the time we'd limped our way back to the parking ramp, I had nickel-sized blisters on each foot and was so tired that I wanted to curl up in a ball and cry.
That was not to be.
We arranged ourselves into the cars again and drove back into Los Angeles, this time past the Hollywood Sign and the Staples Center, to the Westin Bonaventure Hotel--the largest hotel in the city. If you click through the link, you may recognize its "shiny silo" look from such films as In the Line of Fire and True Lies. The elevators (there are four) are glass, and--above the tenth floor--exterior to the building, which I find nauseating in the extreme, due to my fear of heights. I went up (to my 28th [of 35] floor room) and down only once, and rather hysterically demanded that my friends close all the window coverings in my suite completely before they left me alone.
That being said, the room was the best I've ever had. It was a complete waste to have done nothing but eat (a very nice meal, believe me), bathe (in a delightfully decadent bathroom!), and sleep (in prehaps the world's best bed) in that suite. Oh, well.
That covers day one, which lasted about sixteen hours. I'll try to tell all of days two and three tomorrow.
[the title quotation is by Don Carpenter, from From a Distant Place]