November 19, 2013 – We’d heard that rush hour traffic into Los Angeles was something to avoid, so our first destination was Malibu. We found a spot along the a trail to park and walked to the top of a small overlook. We could hear, but couldn’t see, what sounded like sea lions. There were about a dozen seals floating on their side, one flipper raised in the air. There were also two groups of seals swimming very slowly, and periodically ducking under the water; the behavior confused us, and we weren’t sure if they were following a whale, searching for fish.
We started the day with a drive into the hills.
After the break we continued on to LA, by way of Santa Monica. As we got closer to the city we noticed the smog noticeably increase, although it didn’t seem too hazy once we were inside the city itself. We parked by the Page museum, home of items recovered from the La Brea Tar Pits. They have an interesting interpretive video there, as well as a few reconstructed skeletons, including a saber tooth cat, mini horse, North American camel, and woolly mammoth. You can also walk outside and see some of the pits which are still undergoing excavation, which is scheduled for the warmer summer months.
This colorful warbler was found at Point Dume State Beach.
After the museum we walked across the street and found a few good food trucks, as well as part of the Berlin wall. Tony had Indian food – curry and an appetizer roll/wrap. I had bahn mi, a traditional Korean sandwich with sweet barbecued pork, pickled veggies, jalapenos and aoli, served on a toasted roll. The meal also came with shrimp spring rolls (shrimp and veggies, wrapped in rice paper) with peanut sauce for dipping. The food was all excellent, and set us up for some driving through the city over towards the history museum.
Don’t be fooled, this pond is actually a tar pit.
The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles has an impressive dinosaur exhibit. We also enjoyed the rose garden outside, which was still in bloom (though past peak) even during the middle of November. Another bonus of going to the history museum is the science museum is next door. We were fortunate to get two same-day timed tickets to see the space shuttle Endeavor. The shuttle itself is huge, and we both enjoyed walking around and under it.
No bones about it, this is a good exhibit.
We decided to get dinner closer to our hotel, since it was nearing rush hour when we left the science museum. Fortunately, traffic going out of the city was quite light, while the expressways into downtown were packed. Our dinner destination was a local burger chain called The Habit. While Tony still prefers Five Guys overall, this may be Louisa’s new favorite fast food burger spot. We got a mushroom and swiss burger, and the teriyaki burger with grilled pineapple and swiss. Both burgers were great, and the fries were good – the sweet potato fries were even better.
The space shuttle is one of the most impressive achievements ever done by mankind.
After dinner we walked next door to an Hawaiian ice shop called Shave It. We got a root beer float – root beer ice surrounding a cone of vanilla ice cream. The ice itself is quite fine, not “crystally” at all, and the ice cream was fantastic. It was so good that we tried another flavor combo – coffee ice cream with vanilla ice. The ice cream was very coffee-y, almost bitter; Tony really liked the vanilla ice, but I didn’t think it was sweet enough or strong enough to hold its own against the ice cream.