Los Angeles Wrap-Up

April 27, 2007 at 6:20 pm | Posted in Travel, Travelogues | Leave a comment

This is late but I felt like I would leave the trip report unfinished without it. 

On the last day we visited the La Brea Tar Pits and the adjacent Page Museum.  This is one of those places that you probably should at least be able to say you’ve seen once since it is somewhat famous in LA.  An interesting place but nothing close to awe-inspiring here.  The kids were mildly interested in the whole thing.  They kept wanting to see where the real dinosaurs were stuck in the tar.  The Page Museum would only be of interest to someone really wanting to get more detailed information about the place, or if you are a Dinosaur fanatic.  It is very small and very old/outdated feeling.  We strolled through it in about 15 minutes, that’s how small it is.  Looks bigger from the outside.  If you had a full itinerary in LA and had to eliminate some “must-see” places from it, this would be one to drop of your list but if you had the time like us and are in the Beverly Hills/Hollywood area with an hour to spare, then it is worth a stop.

Probably the highlight at the tar pits was this guy and girl hanging out in the park.  They were doing some sort of goofy exercise where they would shake every part of their body as hard as they could for about 30 seconds and then stop for a minute, then do it again.  They looked like they were complete crazy people who had lost their minds while they did it.  The kids were in awe.  I had to take a video.  Only in LA do I think you would see something like this.

We met our friend Rochelle and herboyfriend and the Sherman Oaks Castle park for mini-golf.  One of those places with arcade, batting cages, mini golf.  The kids and myself especially enjoyed playing the arcade game version of Deal or No Deal which awards those prize tickets instead of money.  I’m guessing this is a very successful game – it’s addicting.  Nolan was not a very good sportsman at mini-golf, having some tantrums and cheating on his score.

One thing nice about Los Angeles is you can always find a really good (albeit usually expensive) sushi restaurant nearby.  Which we did in Sherman Oaks.  It was this really cool ‘authentic’ feeling Japanese restaurant in a Best Western motel.  Quite an elaborate place, weird location.  A great final dinner to end the trip.  This place and the place near our hotel both in my “top 10” list of sushi restaurants so far, world-wide.

As a side note, this trip I was using a new phone that is essentially a mini-computer (aka Pocket PC).  I could enter our address and then use a Google Maps program made for Pocket PC’s and just enter ‘sushi’ and it would show me a map with all the sushi restaurants nearby and you could get turn by turn directions to get there.  This phone really came in handy during the trip as you can browse the Internet almost as well as if you had a notebook computer with you.  It made getting around and choosing restaurants really easy.  Real-time traffic reports.  Current weather and forecast for multiple cities updated hourly.  E-mail of course. You name it.  Los Angeles is one of those cities that if you are not well informed, you could have a very frustrating experience getting around and finding places. The really cool thing about the phone  is that gone are the days of everhaving to pay for wi-fi access for my notebook.  You can wirelessly (via bluetooth) or via cable use the phone as a wireless modem anywhere I have a cell phone signal and I don’t get charged for minutes (just one monthly fee for unlimited data access.)  And if I’m in an area that has upgraded to the 3G network, browsing the Internet is as fast as a wi-fi connection like you get in the airport or hotels.    Well enough about that.  It will probably be amusing to read this 10 years from now as this device will probably seem like an early cell phone seems now (which is why I included it.)

I’m not sure now how many times I’ve been to Los Angeles, probably over 10.  After this last trip I think I can consider myself pretty familiar with the entire area now.  I’d say their biggest asset down there is their beach communities and their diverse characters.  Other than that, I’d honestly have to say, relatively speaking, there’s really not a whole lot there to get really excited about considering how huge of a metropolis it is, with the exception of Disneyland of course.  Yes they have big Universities, the Rose Bowl, amusement parks, lots of sporting events and Hollywood with their celebrities and all that. I’d like to see a concert at the Hollywood Bowl Natural Amphitheater at night.  I’d also like to go to a taping of some TV show, but unfortunately none of them allowed young kids.  But looking at the big picture, I’m not sure if Disneyland wasn’t there, I would be dissapointed if I never returned to L.A. (except to go to Disneyland)  The trip was great and I’m glad we finally got to explore the Hollywood area, but overall, I left LA with a feeling that we won’t be back there for a long time except maybe to visit Disneyland and then that’s it.  Too many other cooler places to see in my opinion.  I guess it’s just a matter of getting through the horrendous traffic and finding the few gems that are there.

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