Monday, September 22, 2003

L.A., Day 4

Sunday started at Mel's Drive-In, yet another Sunset Strip landmark. We got in at the perfect time - not yet a wait, but almost full of people. So good people watching, including a very agitated guy who must be an industry guy who thinks he deserves a no-wait seat (Mel's saw it differently).

After breakfast, we swung past Tower Records (the historic Sunset Strip location, of course) so I could blow the $25 gift certificate I'd been carrying around since Christmas. Got myself a double-disc collection from The Blasters (have to go with an L.A. act, of course).

From there it was down to the Melrose Avenue commercial strip. Finally a shopping/entertainment district that lives up to the hype. Centered roughly around Fairfax Ave., Melrose is like a Little 5 times 5; block after block of funky/vintage clothes shops, record stores, cool restaurants, etc. I got the makings of my Halloween costume on Melrose today.

We spent a good long time on Melrose, then set our sights on the mountains and the coast.

First, though, we swung through Brentwood to see where Marilyn Monroe died and where O.J. killed Nicole. We found Stephen Spielberg's and Goldie Hawn's houses in Pacific Palisades as well.

We took Sunset all the way out to the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway for the simpletons among you), then took a sharp right toward Topanga Canyon. We wound our way through Topanga over to the edge of The Valley, then turned back into the mountains via Mulholland Highway. Man, if you have a couple hours to give to a drive, I highly recommend the Santa Monica Mountains. Hard to describe, but really amazing that so much nothingness can be so close to Los Angeles.

Mulholland eventually brought us back to the PCH north of Malibu; and we drove north a ways to Oxnard (the Oxnard stop was for a bathroom break. NOTE: The only bathroom in Oxnard is at a Mexicali 7-11). Then we came back down the PCH to Malibu; taking special note of the big, expensive houses (for no reason). A stop off at the Malibu Pier brought us almost to sunset (the daily solar event, not the road); and we drove on down to a seafood place to await the solar demise.

The restaurant (and especially its made-from-scratch margaritas) was excellent, and the sun delivered as promised.

By the time we made it back to the hotel, it was almost 9 p.m., making our day almost a full 11 hours of non-stop fun. We packed up, and as I write this we're packing it in for the night.

The flight tomorrow is at 10:30 local time, and thanks to the Atlas factor, we don't get home until 7.

P.S. We're witnessing an odd California dynamic. It's after 10 here now (post-1 a.m. Eastern), and the Emmys have been on since 8 our time. Problem is, they actually happened beginning at 5 p.m. our time (8 p.m. Eastern). So what we're watching "live" is actually over, even though it's pitched to us - the people who are sitting a few miles from where it happened - as being "live". Jennifer Garner is not up at the podium as I write this - she's at some afterparty.


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