Sunday 17 November 2019
As it was our last day in LA we wanted to squeeze as much in as we could before boarding the 15 hour flight back to Melbourne tonight. The first thing to do was our final pack. We woke to the phone alarm at 5am to find our entire hotel and the city block on which it was located suffering a power outage. No lights in the room; no power to the lifts – no phones to the front desk -no internet. I was pondering the possibility of having to pack by the light of my mobile phone and how much fun and excitement that would be when everything powered back on at 6am. Packing done – it was down for breakfast – on plastic plates with plastic cutlery but nice omelettes. We checked out and put our luggage in storage for the day. We had arranged with Sedek – our taxi driver from yesterday to pick us up at 8.30am and act our driver for the day.
He arrived right on the money and took us to our first stop – the closest Episcopal (Anglican ) Church which happened to be St Mary’s. We found out the church was started as the first Japanese Anglican Church in LA in 1907. There were stained glass windows of a Japanese feel and design as well as paper cranes hanging from the light fixtures. Over the last twenty years the church has played host to Christians from Mexico’s northern region. We found ourselves at church on a combined bi-lingual service (Spanish/English). It had a very family friendly warm feel and while the numbers attending was not high (less than 50) – they made up for it in great hospitality and a warm welcome (we were given lais to wear as it was our first Sunday.) We couldn’t stay for the ‘coffee hour’as Sedek picked us up and drove us to our next destination – the Petersen Car Museum on Wiltshire Blvd.
This had been one of my dreams to visit if we could and I was in car heaven. Not only was this a fine collection of cars form the turn of the 20th century to now – it had a very special collection of movie cars – the Delorean from Back to the Future – the V8 Interceptor from Mad Max 2; the original Bat mobile from the 60s TV series as well as the version from the 1989 movie. They had cars from the Blade Runner movie; as well as from the Transformers movies franchise. They had the villains car from the 2002 Bond Movie – Die another Day – the green jag with the back mounted machine gun turret. Too many cars to mention – we had a ball visiting this museum – and as my Mum mentioned to me afterwards – not a single painting on the wall from the late 19th century and I was still happy!
We walked ourselves from here to the La Brea Tar Pits – an ancient tar bog which has the skeletal remains of early North American animals. Did I mention the temperature was 32 degrees C – it was bizarre to think that less than a week before on Monday – we had been freezing in Chicago and now I was at risk of sunburn in LA!
The Museum was fascinating and we enjoyed seeing the fossils and other remains. We made our way back to the Car museum for Sedek to pick us up and drive us back to the hotel where we picked up our bags. He then drove us on to LAX airport. We tipped him well as we realised that we wouldn’t have been able to do as much this day if we had to ring for a cab at each and every venue. We checked our luggage in and got our boarding passes and went through security ONE LAST TIME! We boarded our flight on time and settled in for the 15 hour flight back home to Australia. We were very satisfied as to what we had been able to see and do over the previous three weeks. We reflected that we had truly crossed the country East to West. We had seen world-class museums and art gallerys – had explored American history (good and not so good!) – had experienced natural beauty and wonder at its best and apart from a few minor travel issues – we had been safe – we had been welcomed at every turn and been served with expertise and hospitality and grace. While we certainly noticed on our journey many homeless and rough sleepers and while we know that poverty is rife and that this country, like ours, has many social problems to solve – these problems have to be balanced with the sheer beauty and awe that is this country we have experienced over the last 21 days. Til next time – I thank you for travelling with us and I hope you have enjoyed the ride.
The next few pictures are from the Petersen Car Museum