Sunday, December 10, 2017

Malibu, part 6 --- Malibu Beach RV, Magic Castle, on to Palm Springs

The view through the front window of our motor home

Roger here...  We have alluded to the Malibu Beach RV Park in recent posts.  It is time to show some of its assets.  The views are absolutely jaw-dropping.  The opening photo shows our view from inside the motor home.  The pictures below show the view from our campsite sitting area in the back.

When walking around the park, this view of the mountains dominated the mountain landscape on the opposite side of the ocean.

We have talked about the best dog walk ever by the sea several times, but looking in different directions brought other interesting views.

The long-distance view in the photo below shows Cher's ocean home.

Looking up the hill, we see visions of RVs hugging the bluff --- especially Airstreams (which seem to be everywhere we look).

This sunset picture was taken from our site on our last night in the park.  

Is that another Airstream?

On our final evening dog walk, we encountered an amazing full moon.  The next day we discovered that it was a rare super moon.  At times like these I wish I had a better camera (operated by a better photographer).

The Magic Castle...

We cannot finish our posts about our stay in Malibu without talking about our fascinating evening at the Magic Castle in Hollywood.

Only magicians who are members of The Academy of Magical Arts and their guests are allowed to attend the multiple magic shows in this iconic spot.  Atul has a friend who is a member who was able to get us in.  

All attendees were required to dress up --- jackets and ties mandatory. All attendees were required to eat a delicious dinner at the castle (reservations required).  It was an expensive venture, but so very much worth it.  

Pictures were not allowed inside, but suffice it to say that the multiple magic shows in both large and intimate settings were fascinating.  

Our favorite was a duo The Clairvoyants (who have appeared on America's Got Talent).  It was mind-boggling.  How did they know those things?  At one point they called Robyn to the stage.  The blindfolded female psychic (Amilie?) identified a make-up pouch in her purse with a cat on the front.  There was a cat on the front!  There was no way she could have known that!  Wow.  

We are embarrassed that we did not know this place existed.  We were truly amazed by the atmosphere and by the performances that we experienced.  I cannot say enough good things about the Magic Castle.

After the show, the valet who retrieved Atul's car took our picture.  We spent the night at their house and said goodbye, knowing that we would see them soon at their wedding.

Our last day in Malibu was a quiet one.  We found a tony grocery to buy food for our next journey.  We stopped at a Starbucks for mocha frappuccinos to celebrate our unforgettable time here.

A Sunday morning drive on the I-10 through Los Angeles brought us to the Palm Springs area the next day.  (I planned the drive through L.A. on a Sunday in advance.  Good move Roger!)  The drive in the motor home was really not that bad. 

 The wedding is on the horizon.

One more sunset picture from Malibu...

Pet Picture of the Day...

Tequila and Bandido chillin' at the Emerald Desert RV Resort, our new location in Palm Desert, on a perfect day.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Malibu, part 5 --- Beach Time

Hmmm, I wonder if we could dart across the Pacific Coast Hwy for a walk on the beach?

Roger here... Believe it or not, Dianne and I did have time without Robyn and Atul during our visit to Malibu.  One of those times, we decided to hit the beach.

Dan Blocker State Beach...

The view from our RV park led us to believe that the main obstacle to getting to the beach was crossing the Pacific Coast Highway without getting crushed.  As it turned out the real challenge was getting to the sand after darting across the highway.

I lost my balance on the way down thrusting a hand into some of the brittle scrub (that had tiny thorns).  I picked about 20 of them out of my hand as I walked down the beach.  Ouch.

Unfortunately for Dianne, I had the camera ready during her trip down the trail that was really a cliffside.

Doesn't she look graceful?

After the butt slide, Dianne spent some time contemplating the bright blue ocean while I took pictures.

We walked the entire length of Dan Blocker State Beach two times (4 miles). No sitting in the sun for us anymore, but that does not preclude walks along the wet sand.

Below are a couple of pictures of the surf breaking on a rocky portion of the shore.

Peeling our eyes away from the water, we could see the Malibu Beach RV Park sitting on a bluff.  It was so nice to be able to walk on the beach without the travel and parking hassles.

The seagulls paid little attention to us as we plodded through the sand.

At one end of the beach door-to-door beach houses were perched on stilts that sat directly over the sand.  Houses such as these were the models for the set of the tv show, Two and a Half Men.

These homes, directly on the water, were prevalent  all along the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu.  The highway view of the houses consisted of a garage door and door that opened directly on the highway.  Scary for timid drivers; however,  imagine waking up every morning with the views these lucky people must have.

It looks as if Dianne, rock collector extraordinaire, has found an addition to our travel collection.

A Late Lunch/Early Supper on the Beach....

On a different day we opted to dine on the beach.  The seafood shack in the photo below was a 750 foot walk from the entrance of our RV park.  Now that we knew that walking along the Pacific Coast Highway was doable (maybe not safe), we decided to endure the amazingly noisy walk to the restaurant.  

The Malibu Seafood Fresh Fish Market and Patio turned out to be a casual culinary adventure.  We placed our orders at a window, and then...

... carried our food to a three-tiered, umbrella-covered patio (no inside seating).

Was the fish good?  Let me just say that our favorite fish 'n chips place to date (Bowfingers in Astoria, Oregon) has some serious competition.

The trip back to the RV park was also an experience.  Keeping with the butt-sliding-to-the- beach theme, we decided to see what it would be like to climb up the bluff on a steep trail that led back to the park.  We bypassed the deafening Pacific Coast Highway.  Dianne did not like the exertion.  I did.

Doesn't look that steep to me!

Stay tuned for at least one more post from the Los Angeles area.

Pet Picture of the Day...

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Malibu, part 4 --- The Getty Villa, Dinner at Geoffrey's, Thanksgiving

Scene from the Getty Villa Roman Gardens

Roger here...  So, on this day, Robyn and Atul picked us up at our RV park to join us for some  fun in Malibu.  Atul had made arrangements for us to tour the Getty Villa.  It was far more than we expected.

Located on the Pacific Coast Highway, we anticipated a tour of a millionaire's mansion.  We were wrong.  The Getty Villa was built as the original repository of his extensive art requisitions.  It eventually became too small to adequately display the collection.  Most of it was moved to the newly-built (and massive) Getty Museum.  When the Villa was reopened, much of the ancient artwork from the  Mediterranean world found a home at the Villa.  

The ruins of Pompeii were the model for the Villa.  Roman symmetry and architecture were carefully copied.  

The guided tour that Atul arranged was of the outdoor gardens. It was amazing.

The main courtyard, surrounded by the villa, was constructed in alignment with the four cardinal directions (north, south, east, west).  At the center of each of the inner courtyard villa walls, an entry led to gardens that were symmetrically identical in every way.  Even the plants and their position were the same in each garden.
The long rectangular pool in the inner courtyard was surrounded by fountains and statuary. It felt like we were in ancient Rome.

The opening picture in this post shows one of the side gardens.  The picture on the left hones in on a colorful mosaic alcove complete with a stair step fountain.  Below is a closer look.

I really like the closer look of this fountain that was also shown in the opening picture.

I was intrigued by the two masks on either side of the alcove.  Robyn thought they were scary.

At the conclusion of the guided tour we went inside to explore an extensive array of Mediterranean antiquities on our own. 

Life-sized statuary was prevalent in the inside galleries.  It was hard to imagine the age of these works of art, as well as the immense skill of the sculptors.

Hey, is that guy Jupiter?

Seldom does Dianne ever not read every word on every placard when she visits mus-eums.  I am married to a scholar.

We examined ancient pottery, ancient medallions, ancient coins, and yes, more ancient mosaics.  

Before finding our way to the car, we went back outside to take a couple of people pictures...

... and a photo of the scenic vista extending down the hillside to the Pacific Ocean.  This was certainly more than a millionaire home tour.  

I'm hungry.  Are you hungry? 

I offered the eating options.  We could stop at a simple fish shack with delicious fresh seafood.  Or, we could dine on the terrace at Geoffrey's (a place where Dianne and I had eaten several years ago with dear friends) and watch the sunset over the Pacific.  Geoffrey's was the choice.  The setting, the service, the bloody marys, and the food were amazing.

After dinner it was time to say goodbye to Robyn and Atul for another day.  More adventures to come.

Oh wait, I forgot Thanksgiving!   Robyn (with Atul's help) prepared a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for us in their home.  

Whole Foods provided the ingredients.  Robyn and Atul prepared the feast.  We ate leftovers for several days.

Much more to come in future posts.

Pet Pictures of the Day...

Robyn and Atul gave our dogs a three-month subscription to Bark Box for Christmas two years ago.  Once a month a cardboard box arrived filled with dog toys and treats.  The dogs were ecstatic when they arrived --- especially Bandido.  Since that time, Bandido thinks that every FedEx or UPS delivery is a Bark Box.

Dianne and I decided to repack a few of their toys in a cardboard box for the dogs to open during this trip.  Bandido went nuts when he figured out it really was a Bark Box.

Bandido says, "There are toys in there.  I just know it."

Tequila says, "Forget the toys.  I hope there is food."