Monday, October 21, 2013

California Trip, 2013, Day 2 (Thursday)

The second day of our trip happened to be by husband's birthday.  He wanted to spend the day exploring LA, so we all got to enjoy it together.    
Our first exploration was to to Marina Del Ray,  "the world's largest man-made small craft harbor with 19 marinas with capacity for 5,300 boats and is home port to approximately 6,500 boats." (thank you, Wikipedia).  It was quite expansive.  

Next, we headed right for the beach.  We decided to check out Santa Monica, which has a beautiful public beach park (though we did have to pay to park.  I think it was $3/hr).  The kids loved the warm sand, but the Pacific Ocean sure is cold.  This was the first time any of us have seen the Pacific Ocean, as well as the first time my 3 kids have seen any ocean.  It was so beautiful.  I could have stayed all day.  The weather was a little cool in the mid-to-high 60s, but the sunshine and cloudless skies made is seem just perfect.  

Jon and Michael caught a few waves.  Michael was sad when I told him he couldn't submerge.   He still managed to saturate his clothing from the waist down.

See, I went, too.  I was content to just dip my toes in the water and head back up for the warmer sand.   

Kate collected enough shells to take back and share with her kindergarten classmates.  

This area is where Baywatch was shot.  I turned down the offer to star in that latest series. ;-) 

Like father, like son.   They are even standing alike.

Sand castles (or piles)

Ocean & mountains,  sunshine and ocean breeze
We saw some dolphins jumping out of the ocean, and Michael was convinced they were sharks.  We showed him some pictures, and he did eventually concede that they were, in fact, dolphins.  

Jon was told by a friend that he should visit El Pollo Loco, an inexpensive Mexican restaurant chain in Southern California.  I thought it was pretty good, but Jon prefers beef.  It was very fresh and tasty, and considering we were the only English-speakers in the place, it must be pretty authentic.  

Tasty burritos, pico de gallo, and chips.  I got a chicken bowl, which was really delicious with seasoned chicken, beans, cilantro, Mexican rice, and fresh salsa.  Kate and David ate Mac & Cheese. :-)

 After lunch, we headed to Beverly Hills.  We opted to find a park and let the kids burn off some energy.  This park was right around the corner from the most expensive residential real estate in the US, Holmby Hills, which is the neighborhood where Spelling Manor is located (as in Aaron Spelling, father of Tori Spelling of 90210 fame).  This home sold for a mere $85 Million in 2011.  A few other notable residents of this neighborhood were Walt Disney, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Barbara Streisand, and it was where Michael Jackson died in 2009.  We also realized later that we were right around the block from the Playboy mansion...

Next, we went for a drive up in the hills of LA.  We saw some pretty spectacular scenic views.  
We drove past some active oil rigs that were associated with the La Brea Tar Pits, but we did not get to tour the park and the pits.  Next time...


 If you look WAY in the background, you will see the Hollywood sign.

Dinner was a greasy little joint called Fatburger.  It was actually pretty good, and we enjoyed it better than In-N-Out Burger.


Enjoying our burgers (again)

After exploring the hills, the valley, and the basin, we went back to that wonderful park in Beverly Hills to run off those burgers.  To celebrate Jon's birthday, Kate made him a birthday cake out of sand.  She was so proud of herself.  We did sing to him, in case you were wondering.
One lady did show up at the park, and she had a baby in a carrier (covered with a blanket) and a 2 1/2 or 3 year old girl.  She also brought along 2 nannies with her.  It's a hard-knock life, eh?

When the sun began to set, we capped off the day with ice cream at Carvel to end the birthday festivities.  I had a cinnamon swirl crunch, which was absolutely fantastic. 
We went home tired, but were glad that we were able to get an early start with no trouble, since we were still on Eastern Daylight Time.  We slept in until a little after 9am our time, and were up around 6am.  I have decided that it isn't just that we are not morning people, we are actually just constantly on Pacific Time.  We slept decently again at the Crowne Plaza, but we decided that we were not fans of their beds, as they were quite hard and uncomfortable.  
The next day, we headed south.

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