Ye Olde PostADay2011 resolution fell a bit by the wayside while I was in LA. Although I cagily relied on my roommate’s laptop to be close at hand, the internet connection on the 8th floor of the downtown Sheraton in LA was miserable and my iPhone data plan took a monster hit. No blogging was accomplished.
The MLA is a crazy thing, with thousands of conference goers spread over multiple hotels, a hotel meeting area, and a conference center. Given that my colleagues and I spent two of our three non-travel days in the interview room talking to 15 candidates, I didn’t get out much. I missed people I would have liked to see; I allowed myself to get double-booked one night; and my feet hurt like hell after hoofin’ it through downtown in heels.
I had never been to Southern California before, so was keen to eat well and get at least a solid impression of LA. I managed to accomplish both.
Architecturally, the core of downtown LA is rather bland. I suppose you could be anywhere if you’re on the 8th floor of a hotel in a big city. We took two loooooooong bus rides from downtown to the Getty Center, however, and there I felt like I saw LA. The first bus traveled down Wilshire Blvd from downtown to Westwood, where UCLA is located. We crossed Beverly Dr. and Rodeo Dr. and skirted Bel Air before arriving at the foot of the hill upon which The Getty Center is perched. Other than the hideous potholes (I never knew one might need a jog bra to ride a bus), the ride was fascinating. The Art Deco buildings that cropped up on Wilshire as we headed west were awesome. Although I tend to think of California in general is in a permanent state of transition and development, always chasing (or setting the standard for) the New and the Exciting, my trips to CA remind me that the glory days of The Golden State were surely around the middle of the twentieth century. In the Bay Area, I love the houses from the 1950s and 1960s; in LA I was charmed by the faint glimmer of a pre-war glory that must have hung over the place once upon a time.
The architectural hit of the trip for me was something I saw on my very first day, though. It stood in front of us while we waited for the FlyAway bus to take us into town: