Today I’m going to share my last two days in California. These are the two days I spent with my friend Shannon. We drove around L.A., focused on relaxing for a day. The day I left town, since I was flying out of Long Beach, we went out there to have a tourist day.
I didn’t want to see the touristy part of L.A.. I wanted to see some of the city the way Fredrick and Emma might see it. When Shannon asked me what I wanted to do on day one, I told her “show me something other people don’t see.” As we drove for lunch, we could see the plumes and columns of smoke from the wild fires. As we drove through Burbank and Pasadena she shows me the fire zone, but in places it was over. You could see the sand melted into chunks of black wax and shrubs that were nothing but black, skeletal hands reaching from the earth. You could see the line where the fire stopped in the hills.
She knew exactly where to take me: to see a Rose Parade float in it’s final phases. I’ve been to enough parades to know a little bit about floats. I really know they are crafted from foam and metal. It was amazing to see it with little more than the foam on it. Carvers were there (their main carver is a dentist by trade) and the welders there putting elements of the frame together. The City of Burbank is the last volunteer made float. The others are all professionally created each year. Shannon introduced me around, showed me elements from past floats, and told me about the process. She use to volunteer with them each year until they moved away from Burbank. It was fascinating to watch them work. Everything above the foam must be 100% natural. I got to see some of the volunteers using seeds to fill in details on signs. It was one of the most amazing places I have ever been able to visit.
We followed that up with a drive through Burbank, stopping by the studios. We saw Disney’s Mouse House and WB’s Water Tower. I had to imagine what it would be like for Fredrick in LA if this was the area he worked in. I imagined where they would live in the area and how much of a drive they would want. With everything a 45 minute – hour long drive (even without heavy traffic), it’s clear that you don’t necessarily live close to work.
The next day we drove out to Long Beach. Our plan was to the Aquarium of the Pacific. We spent a few hours there. We fed sugar water to lorikeets as they flew on to us, climbed up and down our arms, and stayed with us even after the water was gone. We took a whale watching ride and saw a humpback whale while we enjoyed the charts of our educational guide. By the time the sun set and we made our way to the airport, I was positive I would sleep on the flight home (and I did!). It was the perfect end to my first trip to LA.
What should I see on my next trip to L.A.? Tell me in the comments!
Check out the pictures from my final two days!