A Sandstorm

That’s what it looks like:

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Quite fascinating.

Maybe not so much for the drivers of the RVs and trucks getting blown off the freeway.
And yes, this photo was taken here, on the way from Palm Springs to Joshua Tree NP. It is definitely not a still from “Lawrence of Arabia”, as can be easily detected by the absence of any camels. Also there was no music to accompany the descent into the desert. But apart from that – one got a good dose of desert feeling and sand, driven by the storm.

Is the Future Streamlined?

Yes. Definitely. At least that was the opinion in the ’60s, when Space Age architecture and design was all the rage. One perfect example

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of this style is
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the Encounter at LAX.

You can read more about this icon of Space Age design here.

From the present viewpoint, the first day of the year 2007, it is easy to say that maybe they were a bit optimistic way back then to predict that this would be the future. One might even chuckle or raise an eyebrow, because today “good” style does not include lava lamps, bordering-on-the ridiculous colors and shapes more related to amoebas than anything else. Not to mention the music, which is… oh, well… a bit spacy… But then, what might the next generations think about our “style” today? There might be some chuckles too.

So, for a full immersion into the ’60s view of what the future would be like, the Encounter is the perfect spot to go. It is fun, it is weird in a lovely way, and for some it might even be a very welcome trip “back to the Future.” After all, the timemaschine (aka Encounter) was build only a little over 40 years ago.

Venice

One of the big advantages of Christmas is that Los Angeles empties out. Everybody goes somewhere else, to visit, for a holiday trip, and those choosing to stay behind enjoy uncongested freeways and beautiful parts of the city minus the usual throngs of people milling around.

An especially pleasant place to visit on Christmas Day is Venice to take a stroll along the canals

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with only these guys around:

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Yes, that’s something you’ll experience only at Christmas.

Of course one has to go down to the beach too, to enjoy the sun, the wind, the waves. At a pleasant 73 degree F not a bad way to spend Christmas.

Snow?

Bah humbug.

40.000 Years Ago…

the area of and around Los Angeles did look a bit different than today and slightly different animals wandered around, eating each other on occasion. Like these two guys.

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A wonderful place for those interested in extinct Ice Age plants and animals is the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits. These pits are a cornucopia of fossils for paleontologists and a fascinating place to visit for both adults and children. Nobody will be bored, because the whole place manages to give adults an interesting insight and overview of this period without leaving the kids bored to tears. Far from it. For kids this place is Heaven. Once there, one should not forget to visit one of the actual excavation sites and to spend some time in the atrium rainforest garden, which is a little hidden gem.

Demon Teeth

Squirrels – lovely and innocent, cute and cuddly, right? Delightful to watch, always making one smile? Sure. But there’s a dark side to the furry critters too – they are greedy and destructive when it comes to getting at food. This is what a bird feeder looks like after a squirrel had a go at it:

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The wood is chomped away, even the plastic has been gnawed at in a desperate attempt to get at the bird food.

Well, there is help available. By now the birds here get fed from the Yankee Whipper, 100 % squirrel proof. Don’t forget to watch the video. Big fun!

By the way, the squirrels get fed, too. Their favourite tree is now decorated with dried ears of corn for them to chomp at.

Pretty Critters (Part III)

It’s the time of the year when the squirrels start in earnest to investigate bird feeders in the gardens. Seems the menu is more interesting there than in the park. Don’t they look lovely and innocent, cute and cuddly?
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Well, in a few days you may think differently.

Why?

Watch this space for the sequel…

Union Station

Whenever I have the opportunity to show friends and visitors Los Angeles, I try to start at Union Station. This once was one of the major hubs for travels across the country, bustling with life, the destination for business travelers, tourists and many hopefuls who wanted to make it on the West Coast. Many, many fulfilled their dreams here, and to disembark at Union Station with its gorgeous architecture and beautiful decorations must have been a dreamlike experience in itself.

This all ended with the growing popularity of the car and air travel.

Today Union Station is alive again, against all odds. The buildings were not torn down (it was touch and go for a while), they have been restored to their former splendor. Just to sit for a while in one of the patios surrounding the main building is an experience in itself – peace and quiet reign, one can take a deep breath and relax before re-joining the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

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Or hop on a train. But that’s a different story.