Los Angeles 2008 : 11/11 ~ 11/19
Our nephew, Peter Chen,
and Ms. Yayoi Sagisaka was to be married in
Pasadena, California on 11/15, so we (Vincent and Mei-Ching) planned a mini vacation out
of this trip to southern California. These are the highlights of the trip.
Our AA flight arrived at Los
Angeles International airport before noon.
We picked up an Avis rental car, drove
directly to a Chinese restaurant in Fountain Valley to rendezvous with Vincent's niece, Lien-Lee, for
a late lunch.
In late afternoon, we bid good-bye
to Lien-Lee and drove along Pacific Coast Highway 1 to our old friend Bianca and Ted
Wang's home in Rancho Palos Verdes. We stayed the
following two nights at their beautiful home.
On the 2nd day, 11/12, we went to the
Getty Center to see the collections as
well as its gardens and breathtaking vistas. The price is also
right (FREE), you only pay $10 for parking.
We timed our visit so that we could lunch there. There were also daily guided tours free of charge. We joined a "Museum Highlight Tour" to see a few highlights (middle photo above.) One of the museum's prized collections is one of Van Gogh's Irises (far right photo above), which was acquired by the Getty Museum in 1990 for approximately USD$54 million. Here is a wiki page for that particular painting.Getty Villa
On Thursday, 11/13, we made a stop at
Getty Villa near
Malibu (it is actually located in the township of Pacific Palisades) while on
our way north to Santa Barbara. Although admission to the Villa is free, you'll need
to reserve an entrance time slot online. We reserved a 10:30am slot which
would admit us anytime between 10am to 11am (within 30 minutes before and
after your designated time slot.) Look up the Villa's website for driving
directions, because it can only be approached along the Pacific Coast Highway
going north bound.
Most of the art collections are exhibited on the 2nd floor. There are many familiar Greek Cycladic arts (far right picture) which we saw while visiting the Greek islands this June.
The villa grounds is full of rosemary bushes. It was the first time we saw a rosemary bush. They were very fragrant while fresh. We had a nice lunch at the Villa cafeteria before continuing on to Santa Barbara.Santa Barbara
We drove along the scenic Pacific Coast Highway
then switched to Highway 101 to reach Santa Barbara. This stretch of the coast around here is sometimes called the "American Riviera".
Santa Barbara County is also a wine country. There are several vineyards located
to the west and north of Santa Barbara (city). The movie "Sideways"
shot locations in this area (Santa Ynez, Solvang, Buellton, Lompoc etc, along or
near Route 246). You may obtain useful visitors info from
Santabarbara.com. I clicked on one of the links to request (and received) a
Sideways tour map, but wound up not having time to tour these vineyard towns.
We walked along the historical old town, went up the City Hall bell tower to have a panoramic view of the surroundings. All was well and beautiful. Around 6:30pm we walked out of the hotel to State Street to look for a tapas restaurant, saw the mountains in the Montecito direction (eastern direction off Santa Barbara) on fire! We were worried, hoping firemen would have it under control soon. Before we finished our dinner, the whole State Street lost power. We paid our dinner bill under a flashlight, walked back to our hotel. Luckily, our hotel has its own generator, so we had power while most of the businesses on State Street were dark. The winds were strong at 60 miles per hour, spreading fires faster than firemen could get there. TV news said winds would die down the following morning, and it would be a window of opportunity to use both air and land resources to put out the fire.
The following morning, there were no more visible
fires near the mountains, but there were still spots of orange hues and a few billowing
smoke. We walked to Stearns Wharf, and chanced upon Taiwanese ex-premier Su and
his wife. (Click on the enlarged photo on the right with ex-Premier Su and you will see orange hues
in the mountains in the background.)
Peter's Wedding at Pasadena
Peter and Yayoi's wedding ceremony took place in the
beautiful garden of the Pasadena Westin. Weddings have been the joyous
occasions for all the Chens to get
together for three years in a row.
6-year-old Roslyn Lydick and 4-year-old Sarah
Chen were the flower girls. 2-year-old Karen Lydick was too young to play
a role in the bridal party, but she wore a dress as pretty as the flower girls'.
The middle photo above is the newly wed with cousins (and their children) on Peter's side. The far-right picture is Peter's proud parents with the Chen siblings attending the wedding.
Our son Philip and daughter-in-law Ayumi flew in
from Las Vegas to attend the wedding. After the wedding, we all rode our rental car
to Las Vegas to spend a few days together.
The middle picture was taken at the stairs up to
Philip and Ayumi's apartment. The far right picture is their apartment complex.
is a well maintained beautiful complex.
We bid Philip and Ayumi good bye after a 3 days' visit, then flew back home to a frigid Boston. Thus concluded our wonderful nine-day trip.