Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Southwest Travels Part Uno (2 of 2)

So picking up where I left off….
Thursday 10/24 I was starting to feel a bit more recovered from my cold. I was definitely still very congested but my energy level seemed more in line to normal. I had a dinner date with my long lost friend Hedieh-Jan (jan means “dear” in Farsi) in Torrance so I headed down to Redondo Beach in the early afternoon to nosh on some lunch, work, and hopefully set my eyes on the ocean for a little bit. The weather on Thursday was LOVELY until I was off of work and then by the time I made it to the ocean, it was overcast, windy and FREEZING! If I wanted those things, I’d go to the Oregon Coast! It was lovely nonetheless, but I didn’t withstand the weather in shorts and a short sleeve top for more than 20 minutes before I moved on.

Redondo Beach - a cloudy sunset 
I met Hedieh at a casual Persian restaurant in Torrance and when she walked in I could barely contain my excitement! I stayed with Hedieh the first several times I came down to L.A. to visit after graduate school and we’ve always gotten along very well. But we had lost touch for a few years until I found her on the Facebook. There was so much I had to know about what had been happening in her life (she’d gotten married!) but had been waiting for an in person interview to get the dish. We had a nice meal and talked for about two hours before I, regrettably, had to leave to make the 1.5 hour drive back to West Hills. It was so amazing to see my good, dear friend, though, and I feel confident that with social networking such as it is, we will not lose touch again J
Hedieh and I at Fanoos restaurant

 Friday I had SO much to do. I had to get up, finish packing, say my goodbyes to Sayra and her family, and head east to San Bernardino for an 11:30 lunch date with my old professor and thesis advisor, Mark.  I had to stop at Rosa Maria’s anyway (outstanding burrito stand) so I met Mark there for lunch. Again, SO much to catch up on. Did I mention it’s been FOUR year since I’ve been down to SoCal? In the four years since I’d seen Mark, he’d gotten married and had two lovely boys. It was wonderful to hear about his life and his continued work at the university. It was a great visit!

Rosa Maria's - amazing food!

My professor from Grad School - Mark
 After lunch, I was feeling sentimental so I drove my old apartment and drove up to the university to check it out. I didn’t park and walk the campus, just drove up to the turn around and turned back. After all, I had a date in Palm Springs!

That bottom corner unit used to be mine!

The center of campus - the San Andreas fault right behind it

 I could NOT believe that Palm Springs is only about an hour outside of San Bernardino. So I was there in a jiffy. As soon as you pull into Palm Springs, it’s like you’ve pulled into an alternative universe. It’s a little oasis in the middle of the desert. Not only is there plenty of green, but it’s BEAUTIFUL! I didn’t much time to explore, but I checked into my hotel and as soon as I saw the pool, I knew I was going to spend my extra time right there. The hotel was called Skylark and it’s only been open since September and it’s a wonderful cross between 1960’s retro and modern d├ęcor. I LOVED it! The hotel manager walked me to my room, showed me where everything was, made sure I knew how to work the air conditioning. And it used a traditional key with one of those triangle fob thingies attached? Omg, I loved it so much! So I immediately got into the pool to kill some time. It was absolutely divine.

My room at the Skylark hotel
Skylark from the outside. Renovated motel = SO CUTE!
The pool.  The floaties have smiley faces on them! <3 td="">
My feet and the jacuzzi
 After the sun started to set, it was time for me to get ready to go see Jayme. I hadn’t kept in touch with Jayme since graduate school so it had been 11 years since I’d seen or talked with her (other than some very basic and generic greetings on the Facebook in the last year). Jayme was one of my very dearest and closest friends in graduate school. I definitely spent most of my time with her as we lived the closest together. I met her about 45 minutes away from Palm Springs in LaQuinta at a fancy little Italian restaurant that was super busy and cute. Afterwards we went to a Piano Bar we could walk to and listened to some music, had an adult beverage, and kept talking. We certainly had plenty to catch up and we talked for just about three hours before I had to part ways to make the drive back to Palm Springs to rest up for the night…. I had a long drive ahead of me the next day so I wanted my beauty sleep J
Jayme laughing at the Sandbar Piano Bar

Jayme and I

I got a slow start on Saturday but I was finally up and heading out of town by noon. I stopped at In N Out burger and had me some lunch and then hit the road to Phoenix! The drive was relatively unspectacular but I had great tunes and loved looking at all the rock formations. It was 97 degrees out and blue skies as far as the eye could see.

My first In N Out burger in 12 years!
I-10 East to Phoenix
I did stop at this Jerky spot just past the border into Arizona to pick up some jerky for my love. It was in a total po-dunk down and the man working at the shop hit on me! Like… blatantly. Not just flirted with me. I almost never get outright picked up on. It was very flattering and totally amusing, even while he helped me pick out hot sauce for my sweetheart. Hahahaha

More on Phoenix adventures to come! J

Southwest Travels Part Uno (1 of 2)

I consider myself a moderately adventurous person. I like trying and doing new things and going new places. But the fact is... I haven't been all that many places. I have never been to Europe or Asia or South America. Or even Mexico. I have never traveled more than 8 days somewhere. So even though I'm 10 days into a 21 day trip, I'm still in shock I'm here. I'm so proud of myself for letting go enough to just pack up and ditch town. 

And it has been amazing. 

I arrived in Los Angeles last Saturday (10/19), picked up my rental car and head straight out to Sayra's house in West Hills. Sayra is someone I knew in high school. We weren't particularly friends, but we weren't NOT friends either. We didn't stay much in touch but we found each other back in the MySpace days and before I know it, we've developed an amazing real life, adult friendship and I see her at least once a year when she comes to Portland to visit her family (sometimes I get lucky and see her twice a year!). I was even honored to have attended her wedding in 2009 in Malibu. 

So I get to Sayra's and I hunker down for the next 6 days. I got to spend so much time talking with my dear Sayra and being amused by her firecracker of a 1 year old, Maggie.

Me with Sayra and Maggie
Sayra was an incredible hostess and I was so thankful for the time I got to spend with her and the opportunity to  have her home as a jumping off point for me to visit friends from graduate school who live in L.A. 

Sunday 10/20 I ran some errands and lounged about a good chunk of the day with Sayra and Magster but headed up to Westwood in the late afternoon for dinner with Lisa. I had invited almost everyone I knew to the dinner but the universe conspired to give Lisa and I our alone time together to catch up on the last several years since I'd seen her last. We had an amazing Persian meal accompanied by wine and 3 full hours of conversation and laughter. Every time I see her, I feel like I get my future told. She is such an intuitive energetic force field ... and I am continuously in awe of her amazingness.

Lisa and I at Shamshiri Grill in Westwood, CA


Sunday after dinner it became apparent I was getting a cold. But I had plans Monday night for dinner, dang it, so I was able to keep the cold at bay enough for me to spend the afternoon in Studio City where I had a late lunch at Aroma Cafe (lines around the block!) and working before meeting up with Kevin, another grad school peer, at The Salsa Bar.

My lunch at Aroma Cafe, Studio City, CA
Kevin at Salsa Bar, Studio City, CA


Tuesday I was officially down and out with a cold and I spent all day in bed working and blowing my nose endlessly and feeling awfully sorry for myself. I did manage to get up and out in the evening and saw Gravity in 3D which was amazing. There were full on recliners for seats and only THREE other people in the huge theater. 

Wednesday 10/23 I spent the day feeling all that much more sorry for myself that I was still super sick and phlegmy (yuck). I did, however, get lucky enough to score a dinner date with my hostess, Sayra. We went to a restaurant called Red Ginger in Woodland Hills where they serve sushi and Thai food. The food was incredible! The sushi was top 3 best I've ever had, it was so fresh and amazing. Unfortunately I did not get pictures of our cute selves that evening... despite the 4 previous days of chatting and talking, we just had too much conversation to be bothered with the camera. We did try to take ourselves out for FroYo at a place called yozen frogurt (say that 10 times real fast!) but we were too full so just took it home to eat later. It was a wonderful night and I'm so grateful I got a couple of hours of one on one time with her. She is so amazing and lovely and talented.... I'm constantly reminded how blessed I am that we have become and remained such good friends. 

And on that note, I will continue the rest of the week in another blog! More to come soon! :)