I went to California mainly to hang out with friends, read in the shade near water, and cast my eyes on things I hadn’t seen before. I’d only been to the Los Angeles area for work
We spent the first night in Santa Monica where we walked around on the pier and along the water, ate at The Misfit, and were asleep by 8:30. We stayed at the Seaview Hotel, which I’d chosen because of its convenient location, retro vibe, and relatively gentle price. While it turned out to be rather short on amenities—I had to wash my hair with soap because it hadn’t occurred to me that they wouldn’t provide shampoo—it was extremely long on charm. Rob and I both tend to get up early anyway and with the time difference factored in, we had hours to spend out on this deck the next morning before driving out to the desert.
Since we bought the tickets, I’d been daydreaming about drinking fruity drinks by the Ace Hotel pool. For years, I thought I hated sunshine and tropical anything, but it turns out that when there’s consistent shade available, it’s bliss to stare out at the mountains or float in the water or read with a fruity drink at hand. Who knew? (Everyone. Everyone knew.)
The other reason I wanted to go to Palm Springs, though, was to visit Joshua Tree. It was, unsurprisingly, spectacular. My only regret is that we didn’t camp out there, but that wasn’t in the cards for this trip. Just thinking about what the stars must look like out there though…swoon.
Then we went back to Los Angeles for the rest of the week. We spent a couple of days with a high school friend of Rob’s and his family who live in Eagle Rock. They took us to an unassuming strip mall in Burbank where I ate the best sushi I’ve ever had, to the Griffin Park Observatory, and for my first In-N-Out. (Confession: I kind of didn’t get the hype. It was perfectly good! But nothing special? But I’ve always wondered and now I know.) They had another old friend over for dinner one night and while everyone’s kids played, we drank wine and watched the sun set. It was magical.
Then, keeping in mind Benjamin Franklin’s words of wisdom about fish and guests, we took off, had dinner with a college friend of Rob’s and spent a night at a chic hotel in Koreatown, which has a gorgeous greenhouse-styled restaurant on its roof and concrete walls in its rooms that I was obsessed with.
Our last full day was spent running around indulging our various interests. We made a trip to The Fabric Store for me, where I got some spectacular material for a few projects, and visited Amoeba and Meltdown. We had been planning a trip to LACMA, but put that off since another old friend of Rob’s called in a few favors and got us on the guest list for an outdoor Van Halen show, which was fun and ridiculous—David Lee Roth had to stop the first song (“Panama,” for the record) halfway through because he somehow cut his nose on the microphone and had to go get taped up. The friends-of-friends section we qualified for was far enough back that it was easier to see what was going on onstage by watching other people’s phone screens.
Then, in a fitting LA-ish end to the trip, we met another old friend of Rob’s at the Chateau Marmont for a drink before crashing at an airport hotel and getting up early to return the rental car before heading home. Much like New York, Los Angeles is the kind of city that outsiders think is another, likely uninhabitable planet, but also like New York, millions of completely normal people live completely normal lives there. Everything everybody says about the traffic is true though.