Saturday, November 19, 2011

I still can barely stand it...but...

Ok, so it's probably, definitely, bad form to bash a job that let me fly to San Diego for a conference last week and allowed me to finagle a weekend visit with my cousin who lives in Santa Monica. Still, the fact that my co-workers and I haven't had so much as a cost-of-living increase in the past 3 or 4 years, combined with the gradual paring away of benefits, makes me feel somewhat justified in taking a tiny bit of advantage of the so-called perks the job entails. And it wasn't all sunshine and beaches, ya know....

This is the view from my hotel balcony at the conference. The serene beauty of the Mission Bay marina at sunset, however, belies the harsh reality that at 4am an amorous and/or hungry sea lion barked just outside my hotel room.

The architecture geek in me was not disappointed with SoCal's iconic Art Deco and Spanish edifices. One night my group dined al fresco just across from the Gaslamp Theatre in downtown San Diego. A young woman played cello on the sidewalk, and the passers-by were entertaining, too.

I didn't have the foresight to arrive in San Diego a day early to enjoy some sightseeing, and it was already dark when my train for LA departed at 5:55pm last Friday evening. Aware that stunning coastal scenery was zipping by just outside my window, I consoled myself with overpriced beverages from the club car. It would have been cool if the trains were of the same vintage as the stations, but then it would've taken longer to make the trip.... 

My cousin works for the Getty, and has curated an exhibit in the LA Public Library downtown. The photo of the lobby and chandelier don't do justice to the fabulousity of this space, so use your imaginations.

"The Mexican Revolution Revealed" shows photography from the Revolution and civil war, and ends with some images that have been, er, adapted for more recent purposes. 
Hard to believe I was having breakfast on the beach last Sunday. This establishment had some unorthodox staff busing the tables, but at least they didn't hover over our shoulders waiting for us to finish.

This designer chicken coop is at the site of a non-profit organization that teaches horsemanship to at -risk teenage girls. Then again, as my cuz said, "all teenage girls are at-risk." We spent the afternoon at their open house. 

I always miss the mountains when I travel to East Coast cities. That wasn't so much of a problem out west, even if the peaks weren't as high or green as those in my backyard at home.

I wasn't prepared to like SoCal as much as I did. Even if I can't find a conference to go to out that way again, I may just have to return for a vacation one of these days. Whenever I have time for a vacation, that is.


  1. These are beautiful photos. How lucky your cousin is to work for the Getty. I lived in San Diego for three years when I worked for UCSD and didn't really care for it--at all. La Jolla is nice but overcrowded. For me, the farther north you go in California, the more it gets.

  2. Rubye, I think if I were much, much younger, I would like Southern California more. Then again, conferencing and vacationing hardly give one a realistic taste of what a place is like.

  3. I lived in Southern Cal in the 80's. I never understood why it was so bad-mouthed back east. I loved it...and still miss it. Randy Newman said it for me:

    The only negative for me was the smog in Summer, which my brother who still lives there tells me has greatly improved.

    Also, at the time I was in the museum profession and had behind the scenes privy to all of the major museums, the Getty being one of them. I am glad you enjoyed yourself D.

  4. jj, I can understand you missing LA, being the visual-oriented guy you are. Eye candy of every kind, everywhere you look. Oh, and the weather - you've gotta be missing the weather!

  5. I need to come over to the states for my doctorate at some point. Mainly Pennsyvannia and Virginia - but I'm sure I could work out some dodgy way of getting there via California.

  6. Can't say I share your fondness for Southern Cal, but I totally fell in love with San Francisco and Northern Cal. Had I gone there as a young man, I would never have returned. However, LA is a mega-city with all they have to offer and I enjoyed my visit but didn't mind leaving when the time came. The occasion of my being there was my wife being a contestant on Wheel of Fortune, a tale I will re-post someday.

  7. Nice shots, Intell. I could likely enjoy anyplace that didn't include snow as one of its features. It sure looks like a place I could go nuts with many GBs of storage and plenty of battery power for my camera.

  8. Mick, having lived in Pennsylvania and now living right next to Virginia, I can assure you that there is equally stunning scenery in both of those states, if California doesn't work out for you somehow.

    Mr. C - I would like to see San Francisco and points north, too. Can't wait to hear the "Wheel of Fortune" saga!

    Thanks, Doug - but is there really anyplace where you couldn't go nuts with a camera??? :-)

  9. I understand 'bout the job and guilt and all. Enjoy the journey, nothing on the other side is as much fun.

  10. Lovely photos. I love to visit southern Cal but much prefer San Francisco and parts north. Can't say I'd ever want to live anywhere out there, though. Floods, forest fires, landslides and earthquakes just don't seem to appeal to me that much.

  11. so glad it wasn't all blue skies and beaches.

    hope the trip ... and the conference... were fulfilling.
    lovely pics!
    and usual pithy commentary :)

  12. I grew up in San Diego and still consider it "home", in spite of living in Europe for 40+ years now. Luckily I still have family there that I can visit occassionally.

  13. That's neat, Dorrie -- I understand that SD has changed a lot, but home is always home, isn't it?


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