We made it to California in one piece (each). The flight was fine, the road traffic was fine, and yet we were completely exhausted by the end of the day. Counting the hours in CA time, we got up at 2 am and went to bed that night at 10 pm. ZZZZZZZZZZ.
To economize and because the kids can be in booster seats instead of big car seat, we had reserved a full-sized sedan. When we arrived, they were incredibly busy and almost out of cars! So we ended up in what I would call a mini-SUV. Shorter than a minivan, but bigger than a sedan. Anyway, it’s easy to drive and we can all fit in it, so it’s a keeper.
Coming out of the car rental place, I remembered that we just needed to hang a left at the light, and shortly thereafter we would be able to turn onto Highway 1 to take the scenic Pacific Coast Highway route. Somehow I missed the turn onto PCH and we ended up almost at the sand in Marina Del Rey. Luckily, I am the Navigatrix, so we didn’t have such a huge detour.
It strikes me kind of funny sometimes to be so blasé about all of these “famous” towns. We drove through Santa Monica, Venice, and Malibu on our way up the coast, and the only things I was excited to see were the Thai restaurants (a sign that we had returned to the Fine Dining Homeland that is Southern California), the luscious bouganvillea vines and jacaranda trees all in bloom, and a few spots that held personal memories (our veterinarian in Malibu! the movie theater where I saw Amadeus! the weird petroglyphs outside the Getty Villa are gone! the restaurant that local news reporter mispronounced that one time!)
I lived in So Cal for the first 34 years of my life, and yet I’ve never been to Universal Studios (no interest really), and haven’t been to Disneyland, Magic Mountain, or even Knott’s Berry Farm in forever. Hollywood is really not that interesting (unless you are looking for a hooker or illegal substances, or perhaps some tourist crap to buy) and you won’t see any movie or TV stars there (there aren’t any production studios anywhere near there, and nobody lives around there either).
But I was really struck this time around with a strong sense of nostalgia and…it pains me to say this…even a tiny, eensy particle of a desire to live here again. Really the merest shadow of a ghost of a desire, but it was there. Especially driving up Malibu Canyon, where the gorgeous hillsides always enchant me. The grass is already completely dry and golden, but the oaks and tough, resinous bushes are their deepest green. The canyon has incredibly beautiful geologic formations.
This part of California is incredibly expensive, crowded, hot and dry, and many other things that do not attract me at all. But it’s in my psyche and my soul.
Well, we’ve been taking it easy so far, trying to get the kids on California time. I’ve already eaten way too much. We spent yesterday just playing here at Nana’s house, and today we went to the park to test drive the sand toys we’ll be taking to the beach tomorrow. Now I’m off to see which will be better, Zuma or Will Rogers State Beach. Oh, those agonizing vacation decisions!
* * * * *Images from the LACMA California Art Collection.