LAST DAY IN LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
It was our last day in LA. The family arrived in waves. Bill and I were the first departing wave. There were only a few hours left. At 1:18 AM, my nephew texted me the location where we’d meet at 10 AM for brunch. At 4:13 AM he texted me to let me know it would actually be 11. The nieces and nephews were keeping different hours than Auntie Jane.
BRUNCH AT LE PAIN QUOTIDIEN
Before Steven married and moved up to San Francisco, he and Bassem were a pair of young studs enjoying the single life in LA. I can imagine them landing at Le Pain Quotidien to break their fast after a wild night on the town or even for a quiet Sunday morning reading the LA Times.
However, with thirteen people ranging in age from toddler to retired teacher, perhaps we should have gone to IHOP. The little ones couldn’t find anything they wanted to eat and for that matter, neither could I. It was all very healthy, fresh and chic, but I’d been awake since 4:13 AM and I was seriously hungry. Also, we were spread out over several tables in a corner of the cafe and I’m sure our chatter was disruptive to everyone else.
When brunch was over everyone turned to me for our next adventure. I was honored that I hadn’t been disbarred from the family after the Huntington Garden fiasco, but maybe Bill’s telephoned assurance that there actually were amazing things behind the tall hedges saved face for me. Problem was, I’d seen everything I’d put on my wish list except one and I was afraid the Venice Canals might not be appropriate for this huge crowd of people.
I confessed that my bag was empty except for the Canals, but suddenly I had a groundswell of support. Steven and Shannon had courted nearby and Bassem thought the area was amazing. Bill, too, was anxious to see the canals. So we loaded up and headed out.
Saturday afternoon with a caravan of cars is not the optimal time to see the canals – still I’m awfully glad they were included at the last minute.
You can’t see much from the car, so the entire caravan had to find places to park. I think that privilege came with a price tag of twenty-something dollars per vehicle. I thought that was outrageous, but everyone else took it in stride.
The Venice Canals is a neighborhood built on a series of man-made canals just a few blocks from Venice Beach. The cute bungalows were affordable back in the day. Now if you’ve got two or three extra mil laying around, you too can live there.
Except for the parking, it actually turned into a great outing for our large group. In ever-changing groups of three or four folks, we strung out all along the canals with everyone strolling along at their own pace.
The canals were a real boon to me. I don’t see my grandniece and grandnephew often enough for them to remember me. So, I was about to leave, but they’d finally decided to let me into their special circle. I pushed their stroller around the canals. We made up a silly game to play as we went over the bridges. We laughed, giggled and sang nonsense songs. I’m sure the residents hated it, but I was in heaven.
FAREWELL TO THE GOLDEN STATE
Finally, we couldn’t put it off any longer. There was a episode of fruit basket turnover as we re-arranged everyone to accommodate Bassem driving us to the airport. We were going to have to return the Maserati to him. I would miss it. My real car is a Nissan.
I’ll share a few more shots of the picturesque canals, but come back next week. Who knows what I’ll have up my sleeve!