Sunday, 13 March 2016

A 48 hour bike hiatus in Culver City (Beach, The Getty, Beach)

I am packed and checked out.  I have the bike. Time to go!

I haven't really had breakfast yet today (except leftover Unagi Don from last night), so by the time I arrive at East Wind (11:10 am), I am starving. Let's try the Duck Curry today ;-)

Not bad, but not memorable either

The clouds which just one hour ago were only a dark band on the distant horizon now loom almost directly overhead and it FEELS like rain.

Having arrived at noon at Half Moon Motel (it sounds fancier than it is), I am told that the room is not ready yet and that check-in won't happen until 1 pm. At least he didn't say 2 pm !

The hour is easily spent by cycling to Best Buy to buy a new wireless mouse (the old one died with its USB dongle) and buying wine and groceries at Ralphs.  When it comes to paying, I find out that there posted prices are the prices you pay with a Ralph Card (how unpleasant does that sound?) but the cashier gives me the 'Canadian Discount' and the bill tumbles from $36 to below $20.  WTF?

The room at the motel is semi-depressing, but $300 for 2 nights costs half of what the next best alternative would have cost. It's the weekend and everyone and their dog wants to be at LA's beaches! Little did they know that the rain has started when they decided on their weekend get away.  But tomorrow is supposed to be all sunny again and I have a bicycle to easily travel the 6 km to the beach.  I am semi-glad that I get a rain break, because I could sleep more and should catch up on some paper/computer work, not to mention about 10 incomplete blog posts.

After about 20 minutes writing accompanied by a glass of wine, I step outside for a cigarette.  OMG. It's POURING !   Good Timing is with me these days ;-)

I wake up at 4:30 pm, head over to reception to grab a machine coffee (drinkable and for the price of $0.25) and stare disbelievingly at the wet ground and the BLUE sky without a single cloud.  I LOVE it.  The weather forecast was dead accurate, didn't even cheat a bit, and the threatening rain is history within 3 hours.

I go for a walk around the LOONG block, and I notice the difference to the beach area. No homeless, no music, no ever present sound of crashing waves.  It's cars and the sirens of emergency vehicles instead.  The same shit as in Vancouver, where I live no more than 1 km from the ocean.. The mostlife-ruining invention ever?  It wasn't the nuclear bomb or the television, or even the small plastic water bottle. It was the automobile with internal combustion engine.

Back in the hotel, I try to upload today's pictures from the camera to the laptop.  While the new mouse works fabulously in the 1 USB socket, it now refuses to recognize the camera.  OK, that's it. This ASUS device has given me enough headaches and fits of rage. It's time to replace it.  There is a Best Buy a few blocks away and Lenovo takes orders on its website.  The issue is temporarily resolved by using a different USB cable, but the underlying problems are still the same.

After eating at a Thai place RIGHT NEXT to the hotel (very good food), and calling Grandma (still not a single word of Thanks but accusations and even threats instead), I fall asleep by 9 pm.

No wonder I'm wide awake at 4 am. And what else is there to do at 5:30  am than take a 6 km bike ride to a beach for sunrise ? ;-)

EMPTY LA streets

bike in the pre-dawn hotel lot

Halfway along the distance I think about turning around.  I'm wearing shorts and sandals without socks. The outside temperature is 9 degrees. Smart and effing cold !  But then I cross Lincoln and know that I'm not far now. 

And once I get there, I'm glad I submitted myself to this mini torture (although I would wear socks if I ever did this again). I have reached the beach a long time before sunrise but it was dawning already when I was still pedaling. Great timing again ;-)

I get to admire the long Pacific swells from Venice Pier.

 Watching vertical walls of 2 or 3 meters height collapse from a viewpoint maybe 5 meters above them is something special.

 I think about how modern cities with their high buildings that obstruct the horizon and the daily sunrises and sunsets have put (wo)man out of touch with reality. Seeing the sun rise and set gives me a more pronounced sense of time passing and my own mortality.

During my second room breakfast, the sliced cheese seems frozen.  I turn the room fridge to a more mellow temperature.  Only after noticing that the white wine is not entirely liquid anymore, do I realize how cold that fridge really was.

I sleep more and awake at 9 am to amazing warming sunshine outside. And I've discovered an activity for today that won't involve a beach ! sends out these travel guides if you book through them. Usually I ignore them; don't want to see Rodeo Drive or Downtown LA.  But this one mentions The Getty. Only an 8 mile bike ride one way with a gain in elevation of 656 feet. I eat a lot down here, so that would be an excellent calorie burner and mind expander ;-) 

The Getty has Van Gogh's Irises on permanent display ...

 and their present special exhibition involves Tapestries of Luis XIV.

That all fits well together on a sunny day, me thinks. After all, I did the beach already!

About halfway through the  ride, I see a watch store. A REAL one. 

A new battery for the Fossil watch of 2 dead men plus moving some native watch ends from a watch that stopped working to the Fossil costs me $17.50. The watchmaker warns me that the pins might come out because the ends are not a perfect fit (I don't believe him), but I refrain from wearing the watch on the bike but will put it on in The Getty.

It's not even my style of watch but the second dead man was very very dear to me.  And he got the watch after brightening the last days of the original owner.  This watch has a history, which is as it should be. 

Buying a brand-new watch in a store gets you nothing more than a consumer product. It's the watches with previous owners that have acquired character.

Birds of Paradise growing wild. So, this is paradise then ?

NOT quite

Before I have even seen the first part of art (aside from the architecture), I am in awe.  The place has its own tram  that leads from the 7 story mostly below ground parking complex (mine is the ONLY bicycle, of course), to the museum complex.

It's 11:25 am. The art is not running away and I haven't had a real breakfast yet.  The restaurant has a view but is not cheap and most importantly NOT OPEN yet (probably opens in 5 minutes)

Be that as it may, I visit the cafe right below, with only a semi-horizon view but with a bowl of pork Ramen and some white wine on my table.

I find a corner to smoke and - not seeing the tapestry section right away - enter the paintings building. One of the first pictures I see is the Van Gogh.  But right next to it are Renoirs, Manets, Monets, and the list keeps going.  
To stand a foot in front of The Irises with the paint surface not even protected by glass is at  the same time surreal and awe-inspiring.

I keep wandering around the display, in AWE at the FREE exhibits, pop out here and there to admire the VIEW, and generally enjoy the occasion.

time to scroll for the next picture:

It's all about posture and the woman in the painting has it

The accountant of Louix XV. Darned if he doesn't look like my accountant

 No cameras are allowed in the tapestry exhibit. The tapestries are HUGE and it is hard for me to accept that they're not paintings but woven wall hangings.

An exhibition of Robert Mapplethorpe photographs starts on the 15th, one day after I leave ;-(   Do I have to come back? ;-)   I'm sure I will be back here some day, so I cut the day up here short and take the tram back down to the parking complex.

silly car drivers; I'm going faster than the cars on the freeway
 If you're in LA, DO VISIT THE GETTY!  And look up the Paul Gettys on Wikipedia. An  abducted grandson with a cut-off ear being delivered in the mail ( 3 weeks late because of an Italian postal strike AND is it any wonder the Getty collection includes a Van Gogh?), drug addicted sons and grandsons.  Money does NOT buy happiness ;-)

Back in the hotel. It's SUNNY. Must not linger long. I can sleep tonight!  So I point the bike towards Venice Beach and start pedaling.  A quick lunch special (lunch special ends at 4 pm) at East Wind, and then I'm at the beach by 4:15.

Silly car drivers again: Not going anywhere and nowhere to park anyway

I buy more fridge magnets and get more buttons from Peter Demian.  He's just back from passing his hat through the early dinner crowd and the pickings are slim.  And  they  had him playing right in front of him while dining.  "The only free ride is DOWN" !

Glorious Beach, Glorious Boardwalk,  Glorious People. And no Kardashians among them ;-)

I manage to stay up until 7:30 pm and then all that fresh air and all that biking take their toll.

I finally get p at 6:30 and remember to reset my watch.  It's 7:30 already ! I send my first ever Friend Request on Facebook.  What am I doing on Facebook?  It's a deep dark secret ;-) 12 hours later I will be deeply darkly disappointed with Facebook. How come people have virtual friends and I can't even get my REAL friends to acknowledge that I exist in cyberspace? I'm too old for this!

8:30. Only 2.5 hours until check-out and 3.5 hours until bike return time. No time for another nap, even though I feel like it.

I have lunch (breakfast actually) at 11 am (10 actually) at East Wind.  After the bike rental is extended (12:15), I check in to the hotel.  Great confusion between the two receptionists H & F. My cash discount evaporates for the second stay but at least they find my deposit.  But it's all worth it to stay here. And the way H get's through the day,  I might learn the art of relaxing yet. But maybe he's just stoned out of his mind?

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