Monday, May 26, 2014

Teapots and Travel

So, Saturday I wrapped up things on my trip and headed back home. Since I had the morning free, I took a walk off the beaten track and discovered, as I'd rather suspected, that walking a block or two north of Hollywood Blvd got me in a pleasant residential area, completely unlike the commercial strip crowded with sight-seers and hawkers and people dressed in costumes. I got a good view of the Hollywood sign from street level, watched a crow watching me, and got a closeup look at some of the local trees --palms and others, including a white-trunked green-leaved tree that seems to be this area's default urban tree (like maples are in these parts) and also (my favorite) blooming wysteria-like trees.

Then made my way back to the mall where picked up a few postcards and had breakfast at a Starbucks (eclipsed in these parts, it seems, by the local brand of coffee/tea shop, The Coffee Bean), which I shared with a sparrow. The view (of the Ninevah gates) made me wonder what movie another prop up there, a huge clock-dial, might have come from --Harold Lloyd's SAFETY FIRST, perhaps?

From there I walked over to CHADO's, a tea house I'd had my eye on since Thursday night but not been able to try before because of their late opening/early closing times (eleven to five, respectively). I skipped their high tea (with sandwiches and tea-cakes and what all) in favor of just a pot of fine tea. And it was fine indeed: a Keemun Hao-Ya B so flavorful it made me wonder what their Hao-Ya A must be like. Unfortunately, to my chagrin, I realized I hadn't allowed enough time -- Chado's didn't open until eleven, and I had to be checked out of my hotel by noon. As befitted a fine tea, they didn't rush things, with the unfortunate result that by the time the tea came it was getting near the time I had to leave. I was faced with the prospect of having to walk away and leave tea in the pot (a thing unheard of, and beneath the dignity of a dedicated tea-drinker). Instead I set to and drank tea at a rate to make my eyes water, but I got through the entire (generously proportioned) pot. Next time I'll plan that better.

After that it was dash back to the room, finish packing, check out, sit in their historical lobby for an hour and a half reading Lovecraft's critique of Leiber (and feeling rather sorry for young Fritz L.), the ride to the airport, security, waiting for the plane, the flight home and -- voila!

So, all in all a great trip, though I regret not having been able to plan it out far enough ahead of time for Janice to go with; she'd have enjoyed it, and I'd have enjoyed being there with her. We'll have to see if we can manage that next time.

And thus endeth my first visit to America's second largest city.

One of my best memories from the trip: making the acquaintance of a new kind of tree I'd not seen before, called a jacaranda tree. I found myself thinking of it as the wisteria tree, given its graceful appearance and all the purple blossoms. And of course it was fun to bring back that little spot of tar, preserved in my pocket notebook.

And now, back to proofing.

current reading: ADEPT'S GAMBIT by Fritz Leiber, w. commentary by H. P. Lovecraft, ed. S. T. Joshi [May 2014] (finished: #II.3160), TOLKIEN'S BEOWULF, ed. Christopher Tolkien [May 2014]

today's songs: Los Angelenos (by Billy Joel); Coming Home (by Lynyrd Skynyrd)

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