Odds and Ends in L.A.

Other than the highlights I mentioned earlier this week, I had some Cali fun in the daytime, too.

It’s Good to Know People–
Or At Least One Really Cool Person

I met “Girlfriendgela” for the first time in person on my first day in L.A. I have known her for over a decade as a part of an email distribution list I joined in college. She is a brand-spanking new employee of Disney/ABC Studios in Burbank. Promptly upon arrival, before I checked in at Lopez Tonight, she took me to lunch and gave me a grand tour.

"Pluto's Corner" is one of the preserved Disney areas on the lot.
3 of Pluto's paw prints (1 is under the fire hydrant).
The film "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves" returned Disney studios to profitability.

The highlight for me was visiting the archives room (I was actually visited two separate rooms of archives–the next two pics are from the second room).

An artifact from the show "Alias" (one of my favorites).
Holding a real Emmy award (they're not as heavy as I imagined).
Girlfriendgela and I went to Universal Citywalk and ate at Tony Roma's.


At the Kodak Theatre, I saw the naked gold man named Oscar.


Out and About

The next day, I went to Beverly Hills solo to check out Rodeo Drive (walking several blocks in the cold), and decided to have lunch at a Vietnamese spot called 9021 Pho (yes it is in the zip code 90210). I got the lunch special which came with a vegan roll and vegan soup (two things I normally wouldn’t order, but were actually tasty). Later that afternoon I got two  treats from The Buttercup Bakery on the Sunset Strip. The lemon bar was perfect– the chocolate peanut butter bar? Not so much. Both were $3.75.

On day three, it rained all day, but I still wanted to peruse The Americana at Brand— an outdoor shopping area in Glendale near the Galleria. It was very nice, but it was still cold. And wet.

I tried to get a good view of the famous Hollywood sign that night, but after driving through the Hollywood Hills for over 45 minutes (a couple of different routes), it was just too foggy and rainy to see anything.

On Saturday (day four) the weather started looking up (in the afternoon–well, temporarily. In a four-hour period, it hailed, go sunny, sleeted, and got sunny again). Girlfriendgela and I started off the morning with a 100-minute massage for $60 in Studio City at the National Holistic Institute (at Ventura & Vineland). Who can beat that price? The reason it is so cheap is because students give the massages, but I can say that the student who took care of me knew what she was doing! I’ll be back for sure.

All I could think about during the massage was my next stop–Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles on Gower St. We parked across the street a little after noon, and there was already quite a line. Girlfriendgela fed the meter and we were called around 30 minutes later. I decided to get the same thing she did– #23– chicken with mac & cheese, greens, and cornbread). Neither of us can quite grasp the mix of chicken and waffles on one plate. Nevertheless, I ate as much as I could, took half the cornbread for my plane ride later, and I didn’t eat anything else for the rest of the day.

Denzel is not trying to hear me.

When we left Roscoe’s, Girlfriendgela pointed out a clear view of that dern Hollywood sign (from Highland Ave, not up close). I then drove us to Madame Tussaud’s Hollywood, for which we each used a 50% coupon code from Yelp.com, which was great because I had to rush through (my flight was to leave LAX at 6 pm, but Girlfriendgela left her car in Studio City to ride with me).

Just before entering the museum, some odd person was pushing sightseeing tours and actually got rude with us:

Him:  Hey ladies, where you from?
Me: I live in Atlanta and she (pointing at Girlfriendgela) lives here.
Him: Would you like to take a tour on the bus with us? You get to see Rodeo Drive, celebrity homes….[another 30-seconds of the pitch that I tuned out]. It’s only $39. (Shows us brochure.)
GF: It’s kind of cold today to be on an open-air bus.
Him: We’ve had 3 buses go out since this morning and no one else has complained, but I’ve got blankets, I’ll take care of you.
GF and I give each other a side-eye glance. I wasn’t feeling it.
GF: Well it’s up to her, but she’s got a plane to catch. What time do you leave?
Him: I’ve got a bus leaving at 3 pm, and I’ll have you back by 4:45.
Me: I have a flight at 6, so that doesn’t give me enough time.
Him: I’ll give it to you for $25.
Me: I can’t.
Him: (His face becomes unfriendly) Ok, $20.
(I shook my head and looked at GF.)
Him: (In a high pitch) OK, we’re done talking (brushing past us).

Girlfriendgela looked at him like “Oh no he didn’t!,” and I thought she was going to tell him something…but we had a schedule to keep.

I got her back to her car and made my flight on time (it actually delayed by a few minutes and then arrived a little early–go figure). The couple who sat next to me had just connected to that flight from Hawaii, where they had been for three weeks.

Me: How was the weather?
Them: We went all over (each island), and it was just beautiful!

I know where I’m going next February. Can you say “Aloha”?