Monday, March 19, 2007

Cut the Cake Already! (Our Trip to Los Angeles)

I feel that four hours should be the socially mandated duration for a wedding reception. Nine hours is excessively long for a wedding. I'll explain the source of these revelations. Chad and I went to Los Angeles for our friends' wedding. We really like these friends, and are genuinely happy to see them get married to each other. The venue, the Oviatt Penthouse in downtown Los Angeles was a beautiful marvel of Art Deco opulence circa 1927. However, the ceremony was outside on the rooftop and many guests were unprepared, lacking sunglasses. We thought the wedding, which began at 3:00, would be over by 8:00. When we covertly ducked out at 8:15, the cake had not been cut, the dancing had just started, I had the beginnings of a headache, and the word was going round that the happy couple had the venue until midnight. Really?! I'm not a big fan of any kind of pomp and circumstance, but I can usually whip myself up into a convincingly festive mood for about three hours. Four hours is a stretch, but I can sometimes plaster that smile on if there is promise of birthday cake or wedding cake. Mmmm... cake. Please, as a public service to all humanity, cut the cake before the four hour mark.

Two years ago, when Chad and I went to LA together for the first time, it was nice. We stayed at the Ambrose Hotel in Santa Monica. The hotel was lovely, with zen-like decor, Aveda shampoo & body washes and a free shuttle around town. Santa Monica was lovely with the beaches, the Promenade shopping area and the good restaurants. The whole area was lush with landscaping. My BEST friend from college, Karen Starr, met us for dinner two nights and played hostess, showing us around Santa Monica and Venice. We also met up with our friend in Pasadena who hosted us for a night and showed us around Pasadena.

This time around, our trip to LA was relaxing and nice, but not as splendiferous as our last trip. We arrived Thursday morning. We walked around downtown LA and saw the Design Institute fashion school. We also explored clothing designer showrooms in the Cooper Building which were not open to the public, but did allow us to press our noses against the glass walls and marvel at the lovely displays.

Our Pasadena pal was supposed to meet us Thursday night for dinner, but stood us up. We still haven't heard from him. Boooooo... We ate at one of the hotel restaurants that night, which was gross and expensive -- a double disappointment. The hotel itself, the Wilshire Grand, was nice with a big room, a pool and a 24 hour gym. It's located in downtown LA. Downtown LA is not that fabulous -- very much a corporate jungle of tall buildings and chain shopping.

We DID get to cross paths with Miss Universe, Zuleyka Rivera, who is a lovely woman and very funny judging from the laughter coming from her group. She was in town for some pageant, and stayed on the same floor as we did, dining each morning with us in the "executive lounge" (famous for the good, free breakfast and free Diet Cokes all day.) I also ran into Miss Universe in the gym. She's a hearty, curvy girl versus being a size-zero twig. She's my new hero.

Friday we ventured out to a salad place for lunch and to a bookstore. We found a yummy Peruvian-inspired restaurant called Cuidad for dinner. The ceviche was delicious and South Beach Diet friendly. I spotted Joel Madden from the band, Good Charlotte, there. He looks smaller in person.

After dinner Friday night, we went to a wedding-sponsored welcome party at the Point Moorea Tiki Bar which was housed in the hotel. The guests of honor were an hour late to their own party. (Gasp!) We made polite chat with some friends of the groom's parents' while awaiting their arrival. We stayed for another hour after the couple arrived, but then both needed our beauty sleep as we were still operating on Texas time which is two hours later than California time.

Saturday was the afore-mentioned marathon wedding.

Sunday was fun-day! Karen Starr came through with a fun day of activities in downtown LA that we would have missed if left to our own devices. We got to meet Karen's steady boyfriend, Matthew, who is very nice and fun. We had lunch and traded house-remodeling stories. Karen & Matthew also have a 1950s home, but are much braver than we are. Matthew knocked out a kitchen wall recently and is opening it up to the living area. Karen let him. Both very brave! After lunch, we walked past the Walt Disney Concert Hall to the Museum of Contemporary Art for a feminist art show entitled WACK! As a woman, I'd love to be able to say that I liked the show, but we all ended up making fun of it, which was fun in its own way. We detoured through Little Tokyo for sushi and "crazy milk" before trekking up Broadway (yes, there's one in LA too) to ogle a movie shoot in progress. Then it was time to hug Karen and Matthew goodbye and go rest. Sunday night we ordered room service and watched Deja Vu (the Denzel Washington mystery-thriller.)

Monday was travel home day. I am not a fan of the LAX airport. There's a certain sense of seething anarchy waiting to erupt there that makes me uneasy. The check-in area is very poorly planned and the security lines are long and chaotic. I think we'll fly into the Burbank airport next time, head straight for Santa Monica, stay at the Ambrose and hang out with Karen & Matthew. Oh yeah, and not count on any cake-cutting for our carb fix!