Getting to L.A. was a challenge. Travelling early January is a real bother. Days before my flight, the U.S. airlines started cancelling all flights for the eastern seaboard. I decided to be pre-emptive and switched my booking to another airline. Because of weather, that airline also delayed, cancelled their flights and I was left searching for a solution. I finally got on a Westjet flight to Calgary and from there got to L.A. Heading west was my only option since the entire Toronto airport was shut down for almost a day and the entire eastern seaboard was a mess. I arrived a day late but I was more than happy to trade in snowstorms for palm trees!
I stayed in downtown L.A. which is kinda sketchy to some but it wasn't so bad. It was close to the Consulate General and I could walk to everything I needed. I rented an apartment suite for the month (which is MUCH better than being in a hotel room) in the Medici complex. I think it was pretty good value.
My First Taco Truck!
The tacos were amazing. This was a truck we found down in the port. I also had a great Korean beef taco and the best fish tacos ever in a downtown market.
I worked with great people. There really are wonderful people everywhere in the world. The office gets a few notables coming in for services and I happened to assist one of those but I won't be naming names on-line. Another colleague was temporarily in L.A. as well so we spent some time together visiting the neighbourhoods. Chinese massages, Thai food and good times. I rented a bike on a Saturday and biked up and down the beaches. It was such a relief from the longest winter of my life!
|This was lunch at Louie's - a super good restaurant with patisseries and delicious food. It was lovely.|
|We travelled to the community of Hemet for some outreach with the Mountie. It was an interesting introduction to outreach. There are multitudes of Canadians living in Arizona/California during the winter months.|
Another highlight of my month was going to the Museum of Tolerance to see Romeo Dallaire's new film, 'Fight like Soldiers, Die like Children' after which he was present to hold a question and answer session. He is certainly motivated to give all that he can of himself toward the cause of children being used in war - whether in the conflict or as bush wives. It was a wonderful evening and I feel lucky to have met a Canadian who works tirelessly for a good cause.
I visited what is claimed to be the oldest street in L.A. - with a Mexican flair. The most awesome part of this area was the dancing. Every Sunday, all the couples dance in a nearby plaza with great live music. It was heartwarming to see all the older couples out there dancing and loving life and each other.
The kids also came to visit me for almost 2 weeks. They all slept on a queen-sized blow-up mattress in the apartment. Eric was sick for most of the trip which made things a little tricky but we managed to have some good times. He thought he was near death so we had to spend the greater part of a sunny Saturday waiting around an ER. Eric and the kids played tourist while I worked - they visited the LaBrea tar pits, Aquarium and spent some time on the beaches or in the pool.
We took the kids to Six Flags and it was a good day… and a bad day. The good part was fun roller coasters with the kids who would go on them. The bad part was when I took Ezra onto a roller coaster that he was too short for and should NOT have been on. He was screaming for his life and I felt SO bad afterwards. I still cringe when I think of it.
We took the kids to the San Diego Zoo and it was a blast. Konrad fell in love with the koalas.
The kids had fun on the beaches near Santa Monica. Kids love sand and water, no matter where they may be in the world.
We also visited Little Tokyo in the evening to introduce the kids to conveyor belt sushi. They thought they were in heaven. Anders kept grabbing plates and I had to start putting them back. They all had fun with it.
We had fun, ate Vietnamese and enough frozen yogourt to fill our bellies for months. Once the kids left, I travelled to Phoenix, Arizona the last weekend to do some outreach at the Great Canadian Picnic. It was well organized and it was a great way to connect with a large group of Canadians.
|They even built their own sledding hill!|
It was my first time in Arizona. I really appreciated the cacti and rocks. At first I thought - this could get pretty boring but once I started climbing on the rocks and realized that they were super-grippy, I realized why rock-climbers love climbing down there. These photos were taken at a park just outside Phoenix.
And then it was time to say goodbye to L.A. and return home to Ottawa. The weather was fabulous and it's always fun to discover a new place but the kids and life awaited me on the other side. I came back to -30 C weather and a winter that held on far too long.