A Change of Pace - Elias and Carrie's Excellent Summer Vacation Day 4

June 9th, 2012

And by a "change of pace", I don't mean that we've slowed down. Cause we most definitely have not. We just ditched the theme park and moved into the city. It's time to explore Santa Monica and Los Angeles!!

It was bittersweet to leave the Paradise Pier hotel. We never slept too well there, but it was Disney and it's always sad to leave Disney. But we had things to do and people to see. For reals. We were meeting up with our cousin Chris. Now, no one really knows how long it's been since we've seen Chris. He said he saw Elias when he "was little.". I don't know what that means, but let's just say its been a long time.

We easily made our way into The Georgian Hotel. This was a lovely art deco hotel that Elias said had been on a show referencing ghosts at the hotel, so we had high hopes. The hotel was beautiful. Elias seemed to think it was a little dated, but I didn't. There could be a bit of smoothing out of some of the wall patches (said as I just had wall patches smoothed out at my house), but overall the hotel was lovely. The rooms were a decent size and the beds were very soft. The bathrooms were just a bit small and for the second time in a row, the hotel didn't have a fan in the bathroom. Why wouldn't a hotel put a fan in the bathroom?? Everything gets all steamy and the walls drip. Walls are gross when they drip. But I digress. I liked the hotel. It was pretty cool.

Chris came by a bit after we checked in and he greeted us like the long lost family we were. Big hugs and handshakes all around. He had some general plans ready for us. We had some general plans ready for him. And between the three of us, we were ready to take on the day.

First stop, lunch. We had a quick walk down the Third Street Promenade (love the lack of cars and the farmer's market) and went into a nice mall (where if we had more time we totally would have explored) with a food courty area that seems to have been modeled after the Pier in San Francisco where Sarah takes me when I come to visit. I love that pier. Even though I can't remember it's name. This had a similar feel, but Chris said things were closing down. We had a nice lunch and caught up.

Santa Monica Pier was next. It was smaller than I remembered, but it was good to see the ocean and spend some time outdoors. I was in the midst of getting my splotchy sunburn (especially on my scalp...boo!!), so that was good times. But we took pictures and saw the sights. Everything we needed to do at the pier. We also saw the rides we could have gone on, but chose to ride at California Adventure the day before. The ferris wheel, the roller coaster...

After getting into Chris's car (Woo Hoo!! I can't deny I was wildly enthusiastic after learning he liked to drive and be in charge of the wheel. Wildly enthusiastic I wasn't driving) we started on our trip around Santa Monica and LA.

On the drive, we saw Chris's office and many places where Chris once lived. We made a pit stop to pick up some drinks at a place called Yummy.com. This was where I think we had our first (and only) celebrity sighting. I think Judy Gold (comedienne) was in front of us with her kids. Back in the car, we made our way to the Getty Center for some scenic views and a bit of art appreciation.

Getty Center was on the top of every list of Things to Do in LA. Trip Advisor had them at #1. TripAdvisor hasn't been wrong yet, and they still haven't been. We parked, Monorailed it to the buildings and started wandering. The buildings are amazing. There were several (four, maybe??) buildings filled with art. We saw an exhibit on the photographer Herb Ritz. We looked at Impressionist art (a few Monets). The funniest part was after we took some time out to view the garden areas. Chris and I were reminiscing about Paris (and travels in general), and as we walked into an area in one of the buildings, I said, "This looks like the Louvre.". It really did. The area was all about interior design/furnishing from the 1700's or 1800's. And it was pretty cool to see everything just as I remembered from a few months ago. It feels like forever ago I was there.

Soon enough, we started to get hungry. I had mentioned to Chris a few weeks ago about a place I read about called 800 Degrees. He was excited, because it was near his house and he had always wanted to try it. Perfect, we got there and began the wait in line.

Usually, it's a good sign to see people snaked around the corner for a food item (Hot Doug's, Kuma's, Donut Vault). Well, it's a good sign for the food. It's not a good sign if you're hungry. Luckily, this line moved quick. The rules were simple. #1 - pick your pizza. You could have a marinara, a margharita or a blanco. #2 - pick your toppings. #3 - pay for your pizza. #4 - eat your pizza. The pizza was basically done as we found a table. And we went balls-out on this meal. Meatballs and Burrata. Three different pizzas. And there were only three of us (though Chris's roommate showed up near the end to eat what we didn't, which wasn't much). The food was so good that Elias ate the meatballs. And this is the only kid in all of the land that doesn't like meatballs.

The gluttony didn't end there as Chris wanted to take us to a place for ice cream. This place was known for their ice cream sandwiches. Ditty Riese has a ton of cookies and a ton of ice cream. Pick your poison and they put it all together, and soon you're on your way to good eating. Elias got chocolate chip cookies and cookies and cream ice cream. I ended up with cinnamon and sugar cookies with vanilla ice cream. The best part is that it was less than $2 for each of them. This is just dumb. They could sell this for $6 and still, the line would still be out the door.

As we waited in the line for the ice cream cookies, we saw a scene I hope was something Only in LA. A gaggle of young girls, probably 13 years old or so, walked down the street. All of the girls were dressed like tramps. Ok, Tramps could be a little harsh. They were dressed entirely not age appropriate in any way. In the middle of the street, a stretch Hummer comes into view. The girls all gather around and are ushered into the car. We figured t was a birthday party. I also had $20 bucks bet that there was a stripper pole in the Hummer. It only made sense.

Ice cream doesn't help when you're cold and the temperature had dropped. Chris and Kevin had jackets. Elias and I...not so much. So we headed back to the car and went back to the hotel. It had been a long day. We decided to meet up a little later in the morning so we could all recuperate for the crazy day. It was a good choice. Definitely


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