Saturday, November 19, 2005

LA road trip

I have a soft spot for Los Angeles. Most people in San Diego seem to feel the opposite. But I went to school there (UCLA), met my wife there and our first child was born there (Cedars-Sinai). We still have friends there, but don't get a chance to visit nearly enough.
Today we finally decided to make a trip of it. Jyoti really wanted to see the King Tut exhibit at LACMA. Tickets were expensive but it seemed like a cool exhibit. Even though I bought the tickets well in advance from the fine folks at Ticketmaster, they never showed so I had to contact their "customer service" people and arrange will call pickup.
Getting up there was no problem since there was little traffice (for LA). Tickets weren't a problem either and my Dad and Jyoti picked up the audio tour hosted by Omar Sharif (didn't know he was still alive). When we finally got in the building, the problems started. One of our kids is not good with darkness and other doesn't like mummies (but I thinks she's faking it). The exhibit started with a movie about mummies in total darkness. Thankfully it was short or I would have had to leave. Most of the other rooms where well lit. The items on display were very nice and most didn't look very old. You could have made them in your garage and no one would have noticed the difference. Then the biggest disappointment. The exhibit was billed as King Tut this, King Tut that. But the only item from King Tut's tomb was a small dagger. No gold coffin, no gold mask, just a knife. And I had to hurry past that since it was in a dark room and the boy was getting antsy. Anyway, the exhibit was nice but no where worth the money. They did have a very nice kids activity center right next door though.
Part of the same complex is the La Brea Tar Pits. This was one of my favorite museums as a kid but I haven't been in years. This was much smoother for the tykes although the boy needed coaxing past the wooly mammoth. The museum was as good as ever. We even made it out back where they have pits with fossils still being removed.
Next on the agenda was our old stomping grounds in Santa Monica. We lived just two blocks from the beach on Main Street when were kid-less. Back then, the bums and car thieves didn't bother us as much. We drove by our old apartment and went to the pier. We we not impressed with the amusement park they have there now. It is amazingly expensive and very sterile. We did take a few rides on the old carousel (once featured in a "Charlie's Angels" episode). They also have build a small aquarium underneather the base of the pier. Originally run by UCLA, it is now operated by Heal the Bay. It was great for such a small facility. The tanks were well stocked and the touch tanks were much better (and had laxer rules) than the ones at Scripps.
Lastly, we ate dinner at Fritto Misto, just off of Fourth Street. It was one of our favorite places to eat. We were surprised by the number of families with children there, having never seen any before. We then realized we used to eat at 8:00, not 5:00! It was also our first look at the "Early Bird" menu. How things change with kids! The food as good as I remember it and the wine list still as cheap as you will find.
Overall a great day. I hope to make the trip to LA much more frequently in the future.

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