Sunday, December 18, 2011

YandA home from California

YandA are home and ready to sum up the trip and describe the latter few days.

At UCLA we had lunch with Margy at the Faculty Center.  The campus evoked a legion of memories although much has changed and there are new buildings all over at the expense of the trees and greenery that were so lovely.  After lunch, A spent an intense few hours with Margy discussing Cassini data from her experiment and ours while Y checked her mail and did various  other things in the guest office.  Margy was not free in the evening so we went on our own to Gladstone's for Fish, on the beach in Malibu,and then back to our hotel.

Friday was a free day and we took advantage of it.  The hostel, a standard Holiday Inn situated on an awkward traffic corner and obviously built into an older, renovated building, does its best to maintain standards and a good reputation. It is arranged around a central courtyard and on the second floor there is an open balcony, covered only with an awning, on which a free hot breakfast is provided.  It was a bit chilly, but convenient (just outside our room) and nice.  After breakfast we went down to Ocean Front Park in Santa Monica, another trip down memory lane.  En route we drove past the complex on Stanford St. where Daphne, Shaul and I had lived during the 1980-82 sabbatical.  Naturally  Fred, the Parking Place Angel, provided a vacant meter on Ocean Park Blvd. and off we went to see the sights.

In the park overlooking the beach, we found something amusing.  Traditionally, religious bodies in Santa Monica present Nativity scenes in booths along the park.  The city allocates 21 locations by lottery.  This year organized atheists won 18 of them and the Christians were left, alas, with only three...The atheists indeed got their point across,  possibly an appropriate memorial for Christopher Hitchens who died this week.  His obituary will appear in the next Pollyanna  blog.
Note the mythological characters

Naturally the Christians told their story as well, but somehow it was less convincing.

We wandered down to the famous Pier and out to the end of it.  It is still the colorful fun place that it always has been for over a century.  Here are some scenes that we caught.
Looking north over Santa Monica Bay

The Pier is much as we remembered it
Come to trapeze school

The real owner of the Pier and its territory
Would you care to buy a hat?
By then we were hungry so we repaired to an old haunt, The Enterprise Fish Company restaurant in Santa Monica, the place where we had the celebration lunch after Shaul's Bar Mitzva in 1981.  After a delicious meal, we went on to Venice and strolled along Ocean Front Walk, enjoying the scene. 

On our way back, we passed the old shul on the beach where the Bar Mitzva had taken place.

It was just being opened for Friday mincha and maariv so we went in.  It has been totally refurbished and the congregation and rabbi have changed, but A found a few old acquaintances from the old days. 

It was getting dark, so we had a quick coffee at the Fig Tree cafe and then headed out to the Los Angeles County Art Museum.  LACMA, as it is know for short, is open to 2130 on weekend evenings so we had time to enjoy some Islamic art, mostly medieval from Iran and Turkey, and some impressionists and modern paintings as well.  From there, to the hotel near the airport to get some sleep before getting up at 0400 to return the car and check in for a 0630 flight home via Newark.

This was not without incident.  The sleepy incompetent check in clerk at Continental was not up to the task. For some unknown reason the computer could not preprint Y's boarding pass and at the airport the printer had run out of paper, an event beyond the coping capabilities of this lady.  It took her a quarter of an hour to find a box of boarding pass blanks and then she had no clue  how to install them.  Eventually a young man from the next station took pity and we made it to the plane,  Unfortunately Y's suitcase did not and was nowhere to be found at BG airport when we landed.  It arrived on the next flight and was delivered in the evening. so All's Well that Ends Well as someone once wrote.

To sum up, it was a great trip.  In particular, the weekend with Fred and Marial and getting to hang out a bit in San Francisco with Maya
Our Little Red Student
constituted a wonderful experience.  The science was also good, it was wonderful to touch base with several old friends, too many to list here, San Francisco and Los Angeles are lovely cities and we had a chance to relive some old memories,  Seniors who are still mobile, should in our opinion, take advantage of travel opportunities.  Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.

Now back to the real world.  We hope we are up to it.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like fun! I wish I had known you were going to the shul on the beach, the new rabbi is a Twitter friend of mine and you could have said hello to him from me ;-).

    Glad you are back safely and all is well!