After an exciting weekend on the Westside I hung around at ISI for a bit during the week spending the evenings mostly in the company of Paul. On Monday we had a quiet evening during which I fell asleep again before dinner. On Tuesday I went for a run in the morning and spent the rest of the morning at Starbucks with a delicious Chai Tea Latte waiting for a shop on Santa Monica Main Street to open. In the afternoon I did some work, and after that Paul gave me a tennis lesson in Santa Monica, which was very cool, maybe something I want to explore a bit further… Just hitting a ball is not that hard, but hitting it pretty and properly is very hard. Standing in the line of fire when someone who knows what he’s doing is firing a serve at you was the least fun part of the class, but that was OK. After that we were hungry, fortunately there is a Wholefoods market around the corner from the tennis courts so we bought all kinds of nice things for a home cooked dinner where I went a bit crazy trying to make custard from scratch…(desserts are important!)
Wednesday was Paul’s birthday, unfortunately he doesn’t have as many days off as I do so he chose to go to work. I actually had a meeting that day too with the professor who supervised me during my stay at ISI. Around 17:00 we decided to call it a day though and went for drinks with Gully and afterwards we went out to dinner at a nice but kind of weird place. The dinner was good, but I hate it when they take your plate away as soon as you’re finished, I like hanging around a bit with a glass of wine or a cup of tea…but anyway, such is life.
On Thursday I rented a surfboard in Santa Monica. The guy from the surfshop knew all about me already because the girl that took over my room had told him about me, which was fun. The waves were dumpy as usual, but it was a gorgeous day and the water was nice and warm. Late in the afternoon I went to ISI to listen to a talk. In the evening Paul and I explored Culver City, which has a bit of a European feel with the blossom trees. Other than that the `city centre’ is a bit of a disappointment…the sushi there is good though 🙂
I spent most of my Friday at ISI, for the bagel breakfast in the morning, lunch with a big group around noon, after that the reading group and straight after that the NLP Seminar. Fortunately there was plenty of relaxation in the evening, although on a busy schedule. At 19:30 we met up with Gully, Ellen and Ed to go to the Animation Show 4: 12 short animations, followed by a QA session with 2 animators. The animations were all from different creators (from all over the world) and all very different in nature. There was an arty French one, a weird Japanese one, some with typical British humor etc etc… I’d never come across anything like that (and actually wouldn’t have either last week if Ed hadn’t emailed round who’d be up for it) but I’m definitely going to find some more of this stuff :). Straight after the show we rushed back to the Westside for Laura, my old housemate,’s birthday. It was a typical Venetian party, which means a very good party (including keg-stands, weed and short skirts). When a big group, including the birthday girl, decided to go for a pub crawl, I decided to call it a day. I’m a wuss. I know :).
Saturday was very much a repetition of the previous Saturday (beach in Malibu). Although this time I’d rented a surfboard. I must revise my opinion on NSP boards now, they’re actually OK in certain conditions (such as those in Malibu). Unfortunately I was too much of a chicken to demand a position in the line-up (near and proper collisions were not a rarity in Malibu that day) made me decide to just try to catch some leftover waves (of which there weren’t too many, 1 to be precise). I’m a bit bummed about that, but I’m scared as hell of getting hurt in the water, I’m not sure where that comes from…
After hanging around on the beach we went on a little shopping expedition in Santa Monica because we were to attend a pink party at Boulevard 3 in Hollywood that evening. We didn’t really find anything pink, although I did buy a cool pair of shoes, and Paul went for a new Macbook Pro. It turns out that Gully, who’d invited us to the pink event wasn’t wearing pink either, but that was OK, they let us in anyway. Honestly, Boulevard 3 is the most gorgeous club I’ve ever seen. We arrived a little bit early, but that was OK, because we could walk around and see everything before half drunken people had wrecked it ;). When you enter there’s a gorgeous garden with ponds on whose ledge you can sit and comfy garden chairs. The bar tenders pour very strong cocktails & drinks (Gully’s Whiskey was at least a quadruple). Inside there are various rooms decorated in various styles, with plenty of seating. One of the great things as well is that smoking is banned in pubs so it also smells nice and clean (July 1st finally a ban in NL!!). There were also dancers, free cupcakes and a guy on stilts…definitely a place to go back to :).
Around midnight I was getting a bit tired though, also because I kept waking up around 7 or 8 in the mornings. Also I knew I couldn’t sleep in on Sunday morning because we had to go to LACMA early for Paul’s drawing class, and it was still at least half an hour’s drive home. Partying until 5 in the morning is not an option in LA anyway because everything closes at 2. Really closes.
Sunday was yet another gorgeous hot day (so I actually got quite a tan before I went home). I hung around LACMA again. Went to visit a few exhibitions I hadn’t seen yet, such as the temporary Chicano exhibition (great stuff! Every artist has his own style (duh) but the cool thing about this movement is that that they’re more bound by what they paint than their actual painting style so some had a more impressionist style, some were like Gauguin, some more modernist etc…). I also had a nice chat with one of the museum guards again who told me about an exhibition that’s opening in July… Next to LACMA there’s the Hancock park which has some tar pits from which they excavate fossils. Actually on the LACMA campus there is also a little tar pit. The interesting thing about these pits is that they smell really awful, and some of them actually bubble as well :). When Paul was done with his class we went to “Le pain cotidien” in Santa Monica for lunch, and after that we picked up his Macbook which had undergone a memory upgrade. By then it was already 15:00 and I had a plane to catch at 17:45…Meaning I had to start packing and get my arse to the airport. Luckily it wasn’t too busy in the international terminal so we even had time for some ice-cream in the departure lounge…
During my flight I watched a film (Breaking and Entering with Jude Law mmm) and I slept for a bit. BA flight are very nice, I’m happy I get to fly with them again in September. My wait in Terminal 5 also wasn’t too bad. We then had to wait for another hour on the plane though because some president’s plane was taxiing around Heathrow and of course no other plane can move then…After a short flight I got back to Leiden. Found out that the paper deadline of a conference I wanted to submit to was delayed until Friday and spent a quiet evening at my apartment.