Sunday, November 2, 2014

L.A. Living

Nomadic living is a life of contrasts. After housesitting for two months in a large, custom built house in a Pacific Northwest forest, we are now house- (or I should say apartment-) sitting smack-dab in West Hollywood. Instead of bird sounds and trees swaying in the wind, we hear sirens, car alarms and blaring rap. Instead of running two huge golden retrievers at the beach, we walk a sturdy little pug named Duke down city streets and on canyon hikes.

Runyon Canyon with Duke and L.A. skyline

After the slow life in a small town, we were both a bit rattled by the L.A. traffic and noise. But as usual, a few days in and we--adaptive creatures that we are--were buzzing around town by car and on foot, checking out quirky stores and restaurants, and letting everyone from children to homeless guys pet the adorable Duke, who is a people- and dog-magnet. 

Santa Monica Blvd.

Oh, and then there was Halloween. It just so happened that our stay here corresponded with one of the largest and craziest Halloween gatherings in the world. 500,000 people in elaborate costumes and six stages with bands. It was such a wild scene it felt like another planet. And all we had to do was fashion costumes from our scant suitcase belongings then mosey down the street.

Some of the tamer costumes.

Girls just wanna have fun!

Prior to our housesit, we stayed a weekend with L.A. friends and a week with other friends in Ventura County. We boogied down at two Raw Oyster Cult shows and a Phish show, surrounded by a  love-krewe.

Phish at the Forum

If this wasn't enough, we watched several World Series games with our friends' three boys (twins age 9 and a 7-year-old), all big Giants fans. And we saw the WIN at Barney's Beanery, an L.A. institution, which we walked to from the apartment.

L.A. has turned out to be a haven of connection. One of our friends just happened to be in town from Phoenix with her girlfriend who is Cambodian. We met in Chinatown--my first time there--and ate incredibly delicious and inexpensive Cambodian food, ordered by our resident expert. We then walked the streets and popped into some other food places to get super-cheap pork buns and baked goods to-go.

Five people, and we ate almost all of it!  (photo by Chhoun Chan Rasmey)
One evening we went to Suzanne Rico's house, the daughter of my beloved mentor and other-mother Gabriele Rico. She and her hubby made us a fabulous meal, and we enjoyed hanging out with them and their boys. Suzanne and I both have the wanderlust and writing genes, so we had a lot to talk about.

Suzanne's son Ado checking out the treats from a West Hollywood Russian bakery.

Then this morning my longtime friend and her husband revved up the Maserati (another first for me!) and drove us to Santa Monica for breakfast at Patrick's Roadhouse--a super-charming place where we ate phat food on the balcony overlooking the ocean.

All of this feels like a kind of extended bon voyage since in a week we will be driving down to our new pad in Baja. Every day is the turning of a page. A new chapter awaits.

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