Wednesday, July 30, 2008
VayCay Part II
Los Angeles, city of many preconceptions, most of them incorrect. The younger son wanted to see DOWNTOWN LA. I did my best to smile through clinched teeth and muttered "OK, Honey-sounds ummm... interesting." Now, I'm a girl from the sticks having grown up in a rural area with the closest town having a population of 20,000. I have visited big cities but never downtown in a big city so didn't know quite what to expect. I was amazed! The number of people, the tall, beautiful buildings (although many were aging and decrepit), the range of time periods from art deco to Gehry's Disney Music Hall. I was captivated. I wish we had planned more time for this foray. Another time, maybe.
My favorite structure-The Central Library. What a jewel built when even public buildings were meant to mean something and bring art to people. When you walked through those doors you knew you were entering something special.
So what have I learned? Take a chance, do something you might not choose. You may be pleasantly surprised.
Photo by Dave Parker Wikimedia Commons
Sunday, July 20, 2008
We went on vacation. We hadn’t had one since before we started the house building and with the boys, or should I say young men, being 15 and nearly 19, our time for family vacations is dwindling. Parenting is full of those bittersweet goodbyes as one stage passes but another one begins.
We let the boys choose the destination and they chose LA!!! What??? After all those years of camping and hiking and campfires and nature they choose a densely populated urban area where all you do is drive! I put on a happy face and we began planning. If this is the apex of their teenage rebellion we can live with it.
Let the planning begin. I set some limits on how many things we could realistically do within our budget and the amount of driving we were willing to do and they then made a list of choices. We then whittled that down and came up with a general idea of the trip.
Aquarium of the Pacific
I then entered my bargain-hunter mode. The planning started in February when gas prices were still less than $3.50 but we knew they would rise and we were planning our trip for over Memorial Day, when gas prices traditionally rise to their summer high point. That weighed into our decision of mode of travel. Also, it’s an 8 hour driving trip (at least) across the desert which eats into actual vacation time. I didn’t firm up our dates because I wanted to take advantage of the least expensive days to fly. I started watching Southwest fares and jumped on one that was $49.00 each way. $540 for the 4 of us to fly. It is approximately 850 miles
As we were spending a week there, I wanted to find a cottage or an apartment to rent. Living in a motel is OK for a night or two but a week with 4 people! No way! An apartment allows you to prepare your own meals, a definite cost savings. Early risers (me) can get up in the morning and have some alone time without disturbing the rest of the group. I quickly narrowed down the general area we wanted to stay to Venice Beach or Santa Monica and then turned to the online vacation rental sites and read and read. We finally decided on this cottage found on VacationRentals.com. It was small, clean, affordable and a 10-minute walk to the beach. And who knew (probably everyone but me) that
Next I researched bargains for attractions. We were going to Universal Studios and the Aquarium, and you can get a discount by buying tickets online.
Now about that rental car, we didn’t really need it, aside from the day we drove to
In hindsight I should have researched public transportation in the area and only rented a car for that one day. Again, who knew there was such a good public transportation system? We hear so much about the southern