Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Back from Sunny CA!

This weekend was a complete whirlwind. We left immediately after work on Thursday for the airport to depart for California. Chris was receiving an award for work so Wellpoint sent us out to LA for the awards banquet on Saturday night. We decided to take advantage of the trip and head out a little early to check out the sights.

Our flight arrived at LAX around 10:30pm, Pacific Time. We proceeded to Hertz after getting our luggage. It was the world's longest car rental process ever!! Originally, we were assigned a Ford Taurus, but with Chris' USA Cycling discount we were able to upgrade to a full size import, for much less than the original rental. Two hours after arriving in LA and heading to the parking lot 3 times, we finally ended up with a silver Cadillac CTS! We were rolling in style, now!

We stayed at a nearby airport Ramada for the evening. Not the world's greatest hotel, not the best smelling room, but it had a clean bed and shower.

Friday morning, we left on a bus tour by 9am. We saw all the Hollywood sights...the Hollywood sign, the Chinese Theatre, Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Farmer's Market, Venice Beach, Rodeo Drive, Olvera Street (the birthplace of LA), Hollywood Bowl, the Disney Concert Hall as well as driving down the Sunset Strip, Hollywood Blvd, and Chinatown. The coolest part of the tour was the fact that the Oscars were going to be televised in 2 days, so set up for the event was in full swing at the Kodak Theatre! We got to walk on the red carpet (even though it was covered in plastic) and saw all the flowers being arranged, as well as small Oscar statues in the parking lot. How cool!

Friday night, we drove to our next hotel in Santa Monica. I think staying Santa Monica was the best choice. We were in walking distance of the beach and the Pacific Ocean. We went to a trendy restaurant for dinner, Chaya Venice. Our concierge recommended it and told us there shouldn't be a wait at 8pm. Much to our surprise, we had to wait about 45 minutes for a table. Bummer, but the food was pretty good. We headed back to the Doubletree Suites for a good night's sleep after that.

Saturday morning was great... the sun was shining after our rainy and dreary Friday. Even though it was low sixties, we went for a run on the beach and checked out Santa Monica Pier. We did see it all lit up as we drove around on Friday night. We found a natural foods store and grabbed some smoothies for lunch. Since we only visited Rodeo Drive for 30 minutes on Friday, where most of the time was occupied finding the bathroom at the hotel from Pretty Woman, we headed back to the posh shopping Drive for some window shopping. My only wish on this trip was to see a celebrity, but to no avail. We saw plenty of security on Rodeo Drive, but no one security worthy, not even a grade B TV actor. Boo hoo.

After Rodeo Drive, we headed up to Thousand Oaks to pick up Chris' tux for the awards dinner. The minute he put it on...I just started laughing. Now, Chris decided to pick out his tux online and forgo the trip to Men's Warehouse. Lo and behold, it was not what he anticipated. He looked more like a butler or juggler. The pants were gray and black striped. It was not good. Once the vest and jacket went on, things were starting to look better. Then, the shoes came out of the bag. Not just your plain patent leather, but faux crocodile accents. Ick. Good thing it was going to be dark and they would hide under the lovely pants. Needless to say, Chris headed off any comments at the banquet about the pants before anyone could assume he was "that guy"!

Sunday, we headed back down to LA back to Santa Monica and Venice Beach to do some people watching. Venice Beach is a crazy place. And yes, we did see the guy with the dreads on rollerskates playing the electric guitar.

We had a great time, and I would definitely go back and spend more time in one place. We didn't see any celebrities... maybe next time!

(I'm trying to upload the few photos I took, but the computer is not agreeing with me. Check back later!)


Kelly said...

can't wait to see the pics - sounds like a lot of the same things we did when we were there...

dria said...

I pretty much went off of your trip to plan things. I'm jealous you guys saw Paris at the gas station. ;)

Gina said...

Well, my mom claims she saw her. Glad you had a good time! We enjoyed Santa Monica a lot too! Can't wait to see the pics!

Whitney said...

Show pics soon! I love vaca pictures...