Thursday, February 14, 2008

Stopping Off In Los Angeles

Mary Ann at the Getty

The start to some of our trips to American Bar Association mid-year meetings, has sometimes been very difficult, due to Washington weather in February. Normally, because of snow and ice you can’t always guarantee flying out of Pangborn airport in Wenatchee. This year you could not even guarantee driving the passes due to the extraordinary snow and avalanches. On our departure date both passes were closed, but since were flying from Wenatchee because of going on to Fiji, New Zealand, and Tahiti after the meeting it was not a problem.. Everything worked great on the flight to Seattle and on to LA.

For whatever strange reason we rented a car at LAX just so we could abuse ourselves driving on the Los Angeles freeways. The Hertz people must have known that we needed to be seen as we were given a small Chevrolet two door that was the same color as a lemon drop. We sure never lost our car in a parking lot! For this meeting we were staying at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Century City. This hotel was built in the 1960’s by Westin as one of the first buildings in the conversion of the 20th Century Fox Studios over to Century City. As the former Westin, and we as holders of a Westin Credit Card, we had a grand opening deal for $25.00 per night. (we took advantage of this as we were young and broke, to include sleeping on Pismo Beach the night before). Our splurge was a great dinner and our first purchase of a very expensive bottle of wine. We weaved back to our beautiful room.

The Hyatt has completely renovated the hotel into a convention facility and is still very elegant and very expensive. We did enjoy it however. The highlight of this trip to LA was our visit to the Getty Center and new museum (as compared to the original Getty Villa). You expect when visiting world class museums to get thoroughly gouged financially, but not at the Getty! You do pay $8 for parking, and then take a tram to the top of the mountain where the museum, institute, and Getty Foundation are located. When arriving I kept expecting to go to a ticket booth to pay. I finally asked and was told that Getty said no one should ever have to pay to see his collections. My kind of guy!

The art is fantastic, but equally amazing is the architecture by Richard Meirer. The buildings, views, gardens, fountains, and general ambience is wonderful and not to be missed. Keeping in line with their “do not gouge” policy, even the food in the cafĂ© was reasonably priced. This is a sure stop when visiting Los Angeles. And…don’t miss the two incredible Renoir’s, both of which we had never seen before.

Our plan for the trip to New Zealand was that I could either put Mary Ann in Business Class (she is getting a little cranky about the 15+ plus hour flights), or I could come up with something else. The “something else” was a two day stopover in Fiji, thus making it only an 11 hour flight (not really two plus days because of the date line). It was a totally at night flight on Air New Zealand which for a slight extra fee permits these island layovers. We arrived about 6 a.m. Fiji time after amazingly getting a good nights sleep. Then the Fiji adventures began!

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