Wow, this blog entry has been a long time coming … much like my trip to Los Angeles had been. It was my first trip to Venice, Santa Monica, Malibu or Anaheim (which sucked; see why below) and I didn’t really realize what I had been missing in the beach communities. Venice in particular sort of felt like home. Now, I see why so many old friends have settled there. Despite that there are a ton of Atlantans in Southern California, it seems that the stereotype of the Georgia redneck still holds true, as I was met with shock and awe by more than one person who asked me where I was visiting from. At least I know I’m not a redneck.
The trip, though short lived, was a blast and, as usual, I even learned some things along the way:
1. Pepperdine University is a rich kid’s playground. Had someone told me, when I was still in high school, that Pepperdine was nestled in the Malibu hills, not even hell freezing over could have stopped me going there. I’ve always said I didn’t want to get my PhD but, after seeing this place firsthand, I have to tell you that if I could go to Pepperdine, I would absolutely consider it. Good thing they don’t have anything beyond a Master’s degree or I’d be mingling with the other half beginning Fall 2011. That’s right people. I checked.
2. There’s no sunset view like the one at the Erwin. It may have been freezing the night we were there, but that didn’t stop us from admiring the most beautiful sunset I’ve seen in quite some time. Let me tell you, the Erwin Hotel in Venice, CA has just the right mix of free flowing booze and rooftop deck to make anyone want to stop and stay awhile (there are even space heaters sprinkled throughout for those with weak constitutions. If you miss this place on your next trip to Venice, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
3. El Matador State Park is like a movie set. Remember the scene where The Lost Boys fly off the cliff? You can reenact it at El Matador State Park … it just may not end as well for you. Seriously, like a cross between The Goonies pirate treasure hunt and a vampire weekend vacation, El Matador is a veritable treasure trove of exploratory goodness. Thanks to my friend Mike for taking me up there. Hell, I even unlocked the Great Outdoors Foursquare badge o the hike down.
4. The Getty Museum is better than The High. Although both museums were designed by architect Richard Meier, The Getty is far more breathtaking. It may be because they were constructed so many years apart or maybe it’s because The Getty uses more natural Earth tones and materials or it may be the panoramic views of Los Angeles. Whatever the case, I was completely taken aback by its beauty, and appreciate my friend Mike for taking me there (yes, the same Mike from El Matador). Rest easy though High Museum … your exhibitions are still better.
5. I could spend all day at Muscle Beach. Who knew there were so many hot guys working out in one place in Santa Monica? I sure as hell didn’t! And, I’m not talking about the muscle bound guys of lore … I’m talking about some lithe professional soccer player looking types. Yum. Still, what most caught my attention on my trip to Muscle Beach was the 70-year-old guy climbing a 2-story rope. Seriously, I doubt I could have done that when I was 16, which is why I sat and watched him go up and down for more than an hour.
6. You don’t have to be a hooker to stay at The Viceroy. When I told my buddy Brandon I was staying at The Viceroy Hotel in Santa Monica, CA, he half jokingly told me not to wear my stripper heels or people would think I was a hooker. I didn’t get the warning at the time but, apparently, the hotel bar is quite the hotspot for late night hookups. Still, a few ladies of the evening don’t bother me … they’re more like high class escorts anyway. And, it doesn’t change the fact that the hotel is uber swanky, the rooms are super comfy and you can sleep with the sliding doors open to catch a hint of ocean waves lapping up on Santa Monica Beach.
7. Anaheim is where happy goes to die. I know they say Disney is the “happiest place on Earth,” but trust me when I tell you that Anaheim (the home of Disneyland) is actually where happy goes to die. The only thing this rest stop town has going for it is the Anaheim Convention Center, which is actually very nice. I had the pleasure of spending four days at the convention center for Natural Products Expo West, which was great. Unfortunately, I also had the displeasure of spending four nights tooling around Anaheim looking for something to do. Talk about depressing.
8. ATLiens really like Southern California. How do I know this, you ask? Because I have no less than 30 native Atlanta friends who currently call Los Angeles home. This makes for an interesting trip. Trying to catch up with so many old friends in only three days left me wanting more … and more than a little soused. What a blast though seeing Allison, Damon, Davee, Ashley, Brandon, Al and Mike squared. I even made some new friends. Thankfully no one went to jail. Knock wood.
9. I’m officially old. That’s right. I’m old. I figured this out after three consecutive nights on the town with the aforementioned Atlanta crew. I’m not sure there’s a bar in Venice we didn’t hit, and it showed on the plane ride home during which I actually fell asleep on a plane for the first time in my life. I’m quite positive my blood alcohol was still well above safe levels for at least two days after returning home. I guess this is why people say they need a vacation from vacation.
10. Sometimes, heading home sucks. I don’t usually get misty eyed when returning home from a trip, but this was definitely one of those times. Sure, I had a great time in LA but, the truth is, I had really missed all those crazy sons of bitches from Atlanta, and I hadn’t seen most of them in years. Heading home was bittersweet, but I made a sincere promise that I won’t be such a stranger to the West Coast in future. Now, if only the airline prices will cooperate so I can schedule more regular trips. Cue solitary tear rolling down freckled cheek in three, two …
So, that’s it. Feel free to check out more pictures from my trip at my Facebook page.