Makin’ Like a Tourismo in So Cal

The weekend was lovely. Completely. Go figure. I don’t especially like driving — or riding in a car. LA Traffic I’d like that twitching nose thingy so I could just pop in and out of places. And it is summer, so the potential for a hot day anywhere in Southern California is quite high. But the wind was blowing, and we were up high on a ridge with a lovely view. Crowds? Oh my…we don’t mix. All those bodies, that mass of humanity. But it was fine. Miraculously fine. Really. Even though the parking lot attendant said they were expecting 25 thousand people Saturday. The MoH and I looked at each other. Was that a lot?

IMG_2293 I know my mother was doubting my confirmation that all was well on my call home to her. She would have a hard time believing me because she completely knows that I usually don’t enjoy this sort of thing. For years, I’ve completely avoided it, or just gone along with it in the spirit of familial companionship. Or something like that. So now I’m wondering what was up? Perhaps again, I less than enjoyed anything that took time and energy because I needed to savor my down time — store up my energy — get ready for Monday. Can you imagine doing that for nearly 20 years? What a complete loser I’ve been. A lesson in moderation would have been nice along the way to learn a bit of tolerance.

So off to Universal Studios we went a la family road trip style. Now, I did have something up my sleeve. The Hotel. I love nice hotels. Swanky lobbies, eight million percale count sheets, and lovely bathrooms. It’s a problem. I could totally be one of those traveling people who just stay in hotels. I’m thinking it’s the clean factor. There’s no clutter, the bed is made when you return from a difficult afternoon touristing, car parking is valet only, and they hand you an ice cold bottle of water as you head out for your day of adventure. And if you’re feeling special — room service. *sigh* Not on this trip, though. The Graciela Lounge But you do remember The Stagecoach Inn in Monterey, right? You decide.  The GracielaThe Graciela Coffee Bar Or the Stagecoach Inn?  Hot Towel?  I rest my case.

What was nice about this trip was knowing that there was only so much we could do and see. There was no hurry to fit in a zillion things, no itinerary, no waking up to the blare of an alarm clock. And surprisingly, no serious traffic. What? And we drove through LA? Go figure. Okay, so the picture above is the only snag we hit and it was only a 15 minute one at that.

High points? The back lot tour. Yes, I’ve been on it several times over the years, but this time was the longest and the most seen. Maybe we just had a tour guide who was into it, wannabe actor that he stated he was. I had to stop and wonder about what kind of life that would be. But he looked like he was enjoying himself talking to a tram full of blase tourists — most of whom probably do not know or care about all those old glorious black and white movies. All those gorgeous and perpetually glam shot ready stars like Hedy Lamarr, or Carole Lombard. And there’s no way they could possibly get a thrill looking at those old deco style dressing rooms of the stars and famous costume designers. Or knowing that those soundstages have housed a very unique brand of history. Somehow, Terminator 2 doesn’t cut the mustard as something to get nostalgic over. Astro Studs

The brand spankin’ new Mummy roller coaster ride is way fun. You have to totally love a ride that whirls, spins, and shoots you through the darkness. Yes, I scream. A lot. Of course, I yell on the simulated Back to the Future ride also, and it’s more than 10 years old. Does anyone but me scream on a fake ride? I’m hopeless.

A semi high/low point was the Jurassic Park ride. Yes, you get wet. I knew that. But the advertised “new and improved” was a bit too much improved. As the ride concluded, I wondered what the Japanese man sitting in the row in front of us was looking at, but I smiled at him none the less. After I asked the MoH whether my eyes were black or not, he said, “You’re going to have to go to the ladies room” quite graciously, and with not the slightest hint of controlled laughter. Not, what he could have said, like, “Oh My Gawd Your Eyes Are Completely Black and You Have Streaks of Mascara Running Everywhere!” No, he didn’t say that, kind man that he is. But he could have.

I spent about 15 minutes in the bathroom trying to rub the black streaks of mascara from my cheeks and around my eyes. And no sunglasses to hide behind because they were in a locker. By the time I was done rubbing, I was left with some freaky black eye liner and no sun screen. So should I have thought about waterproof mascara when I was in the drug store purchasing my “Buy One–Get One Free” Maybelline that I haven’t worn for years? I wasn’t planning on crying, no weddings were booked, and most days, putting on mascara isn’t high on my list of priorities. So I got soaked. Completely drenched. It took my shirt several hours to completely dry. It was a blast.

The nicest surprise was the original Bob’s Big Boy around the corner from the hotel. It was in the cutest little neighborhood called Toluca Lake, “Established 1923,” or that’s what all the signs said anyway. It was cool. And the whole area had remnants of that old LA look when things weren’t so slick and smoggy. When neighborhoods were quaint, and you could walk down the sidewalk to a store close by. It made me wonder for five seconds about living in LA. Well, maybe 10.

IMG_2365  Where was I? Oh yes, breakfast. It was completely saturated with calories, but my goodness, was it delicious. I didn’t lick the plate, but I wanted to. Have you ever had deep fried French toast? With cinnamon? And syrup. And butter? Coffee refilled every time I got it doctored up just right. Hot coffee. Not warm you better be careful or our lawyers will sue your lawyers coffee. *sigh* I didn’t even need a crane to get off the vinyl bench. But I also haven’t eaten much the past two days. I just wanted to see if my arteries still worked to be safe.

The “mall” next to the theme park is pretty interesting as well. Musicians, food, strange tee shirt shops and stores that sell chocolate covered Twinkies. Really. No, we didn’t buy one. Chocolate Covered Twinkies  But the RT and I are thinking we can come up with something better. Plus, we’re headed to the County Fair on Friday where I hear they have deep fried Twinkies. I couldn’t spoil my appetite, right? Ewww….How do you spell C-A-R-C-I-N-O-G-E-N-I-C, class?

Completely low point? The theme park food. I can’t believe I got sucked into it. Again. They just have you by the short hairs so know they can charge a chunk of change for warm cardboard. IMG_2342  School cafeteria food is better. Real warm cardboard is better for that matter. Really. Put a little bernaise on it….The giant Corona helped wash it down, though. And the giant Heinekin the next day was even better.

On that note, I’ve survived the assault on my taste buds and have been cooking. If you’re in the mood for a salad or hunk o’ beef (sorry to my vegetarian friends) then check it out. We’re giving our Barby the workout. I’m still not back to my usual blog self, however, and the MoH has more days off scheduled next week, so I’m going to have to figure out how to keep things running smoothly in Bloggsville. Stay up all night? Schedule particular days for visiting my favorite people? The word “schedule” makes me quake in my flops.

Anyway, thanks for bearing with me while I figure it all out. And know, that when I’m not sitting here, you are sorely missed. *sniff*





5 responses to “Makin’ Like a Tourismo in So Cal”

  1. First: the stroller parkinglot picture CRACKED ME UP

    Second “I love nice hotels. Swanky lobbies, eight million percale count sheets, and lovely bathrooms”… oh hells yeah. when people ask me if I will go “camping” my answer is, that depends… what hotel?

    Third: Mascara “issue” (visuals alone excellent)

    Fourth: “Have you ever had deep fried French toast? With cinnamon?” Yes,and SOOO good

    Fifth: YOU are sorely missed when not posting, but that’s why you have archives for people like me to rummage through!

  2. Meleah — You are completely wonderful. Thanks for reading, and understanding, and laughing. You had tah bee there and it seems like you were!

  3. Kellypea, check my blog. Sorry I can’t read anything right now. I’m so behind schedule today it’s not funny…but I gave you an award today because I luvs you!

  4. Hey, just wanted to let you know that the Hitchhiker Team found your site and wrote about it today.

    Keep up the good writing!

  5. Thanks, Steve. I appreciate the kudos and attention. I enjoy writing quite a bit, rarely am at a loss for words, and am gratified when someone takes the time to enjoy whatever comes off my page. Cheers!

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