Its the city of Angels, full of dreams, desires, and people from all over the world who want to come check out the Hollywood sign, drive past famous people’s homes, and shop of on Rodeo Drive.
Growing up about 2 hours south of LA, I don’t pay much attention to it. Its a city that has sports, tons of concerts, and some aggressive gang activity. There is a web of freeways, and some amazing hole in the wall restaurants, and according to the tabloid magazines, there is always a star walking around looking homeless.
After living away from Southern California for almost 6 years, I decided to adventure in Los Angeles and visit the Getty Center based on a suggestion from a friend who lives out of state. I called up my brother’s girlfriend and asked her if she wanted to go. Our thoughts were, what’s the worst that could happen on a Tuesday?
I should have learned by now not to ask such questions. What could go wrong? How about what could go right? It all started when I was an hour late leaving my house because I couldn’t decide what purse to bring. It sounds like a silly thing to be late about, but there are important considerations to think about. Will i be carrying water? Yes. Do I want to bring my Nikon camera AND cell phone accessories? In case you’re wondering – the answer is always yes to bringing gadgets. Do I want to use a backpack? No (don’t want to look like a tourist and attract attention to myself). Do I need to bring allergy medicine? A definite yes. As you can see, its a dilemma trying to pack for a day in the city. And naturally, I didn’t plan it out the night before.
Once we were packed and in the car, we set out on our adventure. Since it was so hot outside, my poor car wasn’t able to fully cool off and the air wasn’t really working. About an hour into our drive, we started to get really hungry but assumed that 40 minutes wasn’t too bad to wait and we can find food in LA. HA! The 40 minutes wasn’t moving time. It was mostly sitting in traffic, dying of heat because we couldn’t get any breeze.
Its fine, we were not going to let a silly thing like traffic and starvation get in our way. I should have learned from my last adventure I went on without eating (check it out here). We finally get to my cousin’s house and scoop her up. We were finally, really, on our way. Except of course, that there was an hour of traffic to get to the Getty Center. Which means that we were going on almost 2 hours of starvation. Trying to remain optimistic, we laugh, and say we will get food at the Getty.
This is us pretending to be optimistic.
Have you driven in LA traffic? If not, just imagine it like this: You are driving on the freeway, going 11 mph and you want to get over. You turn on your turn signal and suddenly, every car is driving 55 mph and no one will let you over (even with the blinker) and are zig zagging through 11 mph traffic and since you just moved from Hawaii, you still drive with Aloha and you might cry on the freeway and considered pulling over and walking the rest of the way. If you answered yes to driving in LA traffic – HOW DO YOU DO IT?
We get to the Getty after sitting in horrendous traffic and suffering through rude LA drivers. Guess what? The Getty parking lot is FULL. Do they put out signs to redirect traffic? No. They let you drive all the way to entrance and then tell you to sit in more traffic and to come back. Well then.
We drive to Westwood (tempers are flaring by this point. We are hot, hungry, and have been driving for about 3.5 hours). There is a teeny tiny parking lot off to the right that has parking till 7:00 pm. SCORE!! We pay the $10.50 to park a few hours, hop out of the car, and stretch our legs. We make a beeline for BJs Restaurant.
On our way, we pass the Fox Theater. It is an awesome building.
– Now – Usually when I go to a new city, my favorite thing to do is try out new restaurants and find the mom and pop places. I can eat BJs anywhere, and I don’t find them too special. However, at this point in our day, we were starving and wanted something that we knew would be standard, fast service, and have cold beer. We were not in the mind frame to dilly dally about where we should go. Luckily all of our hopes and dreams were answered when we walked into that heavenly oasis of air conditioning, beer, and tasty comfort food.
Once we had food and beer in our bellies and we were sufficiently cooled off, we figured out a way to get to the Getty. Since my car was parked safely for the time being, we assumed the bus would be the best bet. There we went assuming again. We couldn’t find the bus stop. We saw the bus pass us but Google maps told us to stay put. After minor discussion, we decided the best bet was to call an Uber. Naturally, there wasn’t an easy way for him to get to us, or us to get to the Getty. Tons of traffic and a well placed F-bomb to the incredibly rude Getty person, we finally made it and promptly got yelled at by every security and guard person. The signs are not very clear for first timers wandering around. Or we were just not looking. We find the tram, get on, and finally get to the Getty, FIVE hours after we initially left.
Let me just say… the Getty Center is gorgeous. Not sure what I was expecting, really, but it blew my expectations away.
We had only an hour to run around, but even still, we covered plenty of ground and was quite pleased with what we saw.
Once we reached the garden area, we were all over it. The sun beat down on us and it went from uncomfortable to we have to find air conditioning.
As our time came to a close, we decided to take the bus back to our car. By this time we were hot, heat stroking, and exhausted. If we had planned better, such as getting a hotel the night before and having all day to explore, we would have been much better off.
After dropping off my cousin in a random shopping center (her request, she wanted to go explore), we headed back to the freeway. Since we were traveling during rush hour traffic, we got a few pictures and lots of chatting in. By this time, the car decided to blow some cold air for a change. We were happy.
All in all, it was a great experience! Every thing we did wrong has taught us not to do it that way again.
1. Drink quadruple amount of water you normally would.
2. Don’t go to a popular tourist place in the middle of summer, on a Tuesday, during a heatwave
3. Leave 4 hours ahead of time to accomadate LA traffic
4. Don’t trust Google maps
5. Don’t trust people on the freeway – they will not drive as nice as you do
6. Don’t be surprised when people are very rude
7. Bring extra money for bus fare and parking, but be prepared to not find parking
8. Don’t heatstroke
9. And after all those don’ts remember to have fun and every adventure (good or bad) is just that – an adventure