Okay, I finally admit it — I love LA now!
After leaving the UK, Ian and I diverged for two and a half weeks so I could fly back to New York to catch up on some work and then jet down to Florida to see my aunts in Tampa and head to Orlando for the Universal Blog Squad Retreat. And then I was straight off to our reunion for our next multi-week adventure — to Hawaii. Yes — it was a big year!
But of course, we couldn’t fly over the Golden State without an extended stopover in LA to see my dad — and spend Ian’s birthday in his favorite US city.
My dad picked us up on a Friday afternoon — Ian and I had coordinated our flights to arrive at the same time, one of my favorite travel thrills — and we went straight to fulfill Ian’s first request: trying In-N-Out Burger. I’m going to be honest — I’ve tried In-N-Out several times and I just don’t get it. I’m sorry, SoCal friends!
I know them’s fightin’ words to many, but I guess that means more milkshakes for you?
We popped to my dad’s just long enough for us to drop our bags, change, and for me to berate my dad for not hiring a house cleaner. (And I swear this will become relevant, ha ha.) After all, at an age many have retired to play golf and lounge by a pool, he’s still working crazy hours running a major healthcare company, sitting on many volunteer boards, and running around trying to see his four daughters whenever possible. If there was ever a man who didn’t have time to scrub his own shower, this is he.
So anyway, we’re driving down the street in my dad’s convertible and I’m laying all this out like the bulldozer my family loves to accuse me of being. And we’re stopped at an intersection, about to go straight through, when my dad interrupts me to yell, “that woman is getting robbed!”
Indeed, she was. I looked up and saw a teeny woman at the bus stop, fighting desperately with a man who eventually shoved her into a poll, wrenched her oversized purse from her and took off sprinting to the right. I was already whipping out my cell phone and calling 911 when the light turned green and my dad veered hard to the right, chasing the guy! Ian was in the backseat and he unbuckled and crouched on the edge, and as soon as as we get a bit ahead of the thief my dad pulled over and Ian leapt out of the back of the convertible and took off running, tackling the guy to the ground and wrestling the purse back from him. He ran.
Oh, and that 911 call? I got a message that all operators were busy. Cool yo we got this!
Other drivers who saw this go down pulled over to cheer for Ian. One woman in particular cracked me up, stopping to roll down her window and yell, “Y’all are my heroes! You just made me believe in this city again!” We returned the now tattered purse to its rightful owner, who was understandably distraught. My dad, worried the man might return, insisted that she let us drive her home twenty minutes in the opposite direction we were going (that’s so my dad — he would never hesitate to delay himself an hour to help someone in need.) Our new friend Gloria didn’t speak English, so we chatted away in Spanish and I learn she’s a housekeeper who moved to Los Angeles from Guatemala a few years ago to send money back home to her family. She takes English classes one day a week and works the other six — suddenly I understood why she fought so hard for her bag, which had her wallet, her phone, her keys, the keys of her housekeeping clients, her notebook of all her client information, and even bus fare to get home.
Here’s the crazy part: we exchanged number so I could check on her the next day, and a week later I asked if she just might possibly be looking for any new clients. A year later, she’s still cleaning my dad’s house once a week, and we get to practice our Spanish and English on each other whenever I’m in town!
Isn’t that the craziest dang thing you’ve ever heard?
So, suffice it to say we were all pretty bewildered by the time we made it to our intended destination, OUE Skyspace, California’s tallest open-air observation deck. My dad had been super excited to take us here, and we could see why! Rising nearly 1,000 feet above the city, the two observation decks offered the best panoramic views over Los Angeles I’ve seen with these two eyes.
What a place to watch the sun set! Once it did, we got in line for what has been the Skypace’s most viral feature — the Skyslide. Now, I was totally unprepared to capture this and did not get a single Youtube-able video or Instagram-able shot, but I did capture Ian’s pure, blurry joy at sliding through a clear 45-foot glass chute bolted to the side of a building. While you’ll definitely capture better images in the daylight, sliding over the city lights at night was pretty magical.
It was kind of like the low-tech version of the Chicago 360 Tilt I loved so much earlier in the year. And just like in Chicago, they also do yoga classes here too — I’ll definitely be back for one someday!
Speaking of yoga, that’s exactly where Ian and I were headed the next morning. The Line Hotel does a free rooftop class every Saturday morning, and I love that this hip Koreatown hotspot is easy walking distance from my dad’s place. What a way to start the morning! Not into yoga? They also host a weekend Koreatown Running Club.
It’s the place to be!
Next up on this birthday bonanza tour? Brunch at Home, a dog-friendly hipster hideaway in Los Feliz. Tucker strongly approved of this choice. After, we wandered around the neighborhood for a bit, ducking in and out of crystal and record shops and overpriced clothing boutiques. I had warned Ian he’d like Los Feliz as much as he did Silverlake, and by the time we dragged ourselves home, he agreed.
I was thrilled about the evening’s activity: the weekend’s edition of Streetfood Cinema. I’ve gushed before that the movie-going scene in LA is one of my favorite things about the city — and this is just one example.
Street Food Cinema is LA’s largest outdoor movie series with ever-changing locations, so you kind of have to hit the jackpot on a destination within reasonable driving distance and showing a movie you want to see. This particular early October evening, they were showing Scream (score!), in Poinsettia Rec Park in Hollywood (score!) and it was a dog-friendly showing (score!). We paid $19 for reserve seating because if there’s ever a time to pointlessly indulge, it’s someone’s birthday, but general admission is $14.
We loaded up the car with three beach chairs, a trunk-load of blankets, and some emergency snacks that we totally did not need thanks to the array of food trucks that awaited us.
It was such a fun night. Watching an iconic movie with a city of film-buffs is always a good time — I smiled when the crowd quoted along with the most famous scenes, and we all roared together when one of the interrogation scenes involved a cop grilling a high school student on the suspicious grounds that he had a cellular phone in his possession! (It was made in 1996.)
Most importantly, Tucker had a great time, even if he was reluctant to pose for photos proving it. If I was an Angeleno, I think I’d be a Street Food Cinema regular.
And then, we were off to bed! While I’m guessing this was one of Ian’s lower-key birthdays, that early morning flight to Oahu was a pretty strong motivation to hit the hay.
This was my shortest trip ever to Los Angeles and while we fit loads into two quick nights, I was gutted to say goodbye to my dad already. Luckily, I was stopping for a longer visit on the way back. But lesson learned — I’ll try to make it a three night minimum in the future.
And with that, we were off to the Aloha State! Stay tuned!
Confused on where we are? I’m catching up on the black hole of content from August of 2016 to April of 2017 — when I jumped forward to blog the summer of 2017 as it was happening. Right now, we’re in October of 2016 on the way to Hawaii, and I can’t wait to turn my detailed notes and journals into blog posts from Jamaica, Thailand and Bali next! My apologies for any confusion with the timeline, and thanks for sticking with me.