Friday, December 29, 2006

Hello from Mexico City! I've just arrived at the Hotel Cortes across from Park Alameda. My friend Betty from Chicago only arrives this evening, so I thought I'd post some photos of yesterday's trip with my father down the coast to LAX and then my first views of Mexico City from the plane. However, this computer doesn't seem to want to accept my photos anymore, so that will have to wait!

Yesterday, Dad picked me up at my hotel and we drove to Venice for lunch. Beautiful sky and surf! After a short night, I left my motel at LAX this morning at 5 a.m. No hitches on the flight to Mexico City. Busy airport here but I found an "authorized" taxi without a hitch and got to my hotel quite quickly. Already speaking Spanish. I understand a lot but have trouble expressing myself. Hopefully, after five weeks here (a week in Mexico City and a month in San Miguel de Allende), I'll be speaking it more fluently.

It's 22 degrees C. here, sunny with a much less-polluted sky than I was expecting. Mexico City is surrounded by mountains and I could see them clearly from the plane. But my taxi driver told me the city has a population of 28 million! Ye gads!

I'm leaving my hotel now to walk over to the main square, or the "Zocola". !Hasta pronto!

Below are some photos of our luncheon at the Hotel Angeleno the other day. You'll see Georgette, Robbie, Elyse and her husband Chuck, and me.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Well, my sojourn in the United States is coming to an end. I leave early tomorrow morning for Mexico City, where my friend Betty from Chicago is joining me for a week of sightseeing. We'll be celebrating the New Year down there. Then, on January 7, I travel from DF to San Miguel de Allende to study Spanish for a month and to live with a Mexican family.

I've enjoyed my stay in Los Angeles and can't thank my friend Georgette for her kind hospitality. Yesterday, we visited the newly renovated Getty Villa in Malibu, which is lovely, as the photos below will show.

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who've been following my travels. Thanks, too, for making some wonderfully useful comments.

Wishing you a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR, full of good health and happiness.

The Getty Villa in Malibu. After several years of renovation, it just reopened to the public. It houses Greek, Etruscan and Roman "treasures".

This is the "New Getty" Museum designed by Frank Gehry. I'd already visited it so didn't go up there this time. But I'm staying very close to it and took this photo from the street.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

I flew down to L.A. yesterday evening. The photo on the left was what the city looked like from the plane window at night. It's SO spread out. Reminded me of scenes from "E.T." and "Shortcuts".

This is the Hotel Angeleno where I'm staying in Los Angeles, thanks to the kind generosity of my delightful friend, Georgette, a former French war bride whom I interviewed for my book.
As you can see, it's a "tower", but the rooms are lovely, and it's got great amenities.

This is the bar/restaurant on the 17th floor of the hotel. Gorgeous view of much of the LA area, including Brentwood, Santa Monica, Bel Air, the UCLA campus, the new Getty Museum, and downtown. In the distance, you can see the Pacific Ocean and Santa Catalina island. Georgette invited me and our friends Elyse, Chuck and Robbie here for lunch today. (photo to follow soon). What a view!

This is the swimming pool of the hotel. Although the air outside was cold, the water is heated to 78 degrees Fahrenheit, and I had a wonderful swim this afternoon after taking a walk to Brentwood Village. (For memory's sake, O.J. Simpson used to live in Brentwood!)

This is the Fox Theater in Westwood, which is very near the campus of U.C.L.A. The hotel runs a free shuttle bus to this huge, elegant old movie theater.

This evening, I went to see "Dream Girls" at the Fox Theater in Westwood. The film is loosely based on the rise to fame of Diana Ross and the Supremes. Although it's a bit "corny" at times, I loved the singing, dancing and costumes. The film has been nominated for several Oscars.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Jen and Eric at their place on Christmas Day. They have a dog, Nicki, and two cats, and a cute apartment in the N.W. sector of Portland near 23rd St.

Jen and Eric opening presents at their place. Eric made us a delicious lunch (see below). Dessert was a yummy chocolate "buche de Noel" (Yuletide log), which we bought at the pastry shop of the La Provence restaurant. And, of course, we drank champagne!

Jen and Hilary at the Pittock Mansion. Hilary's hair curls when the weather is damp!

Eric and Jen at Portland's Saturday market.

Music being played by a band at Portland's Saturday market

Merry Christmas to all!

This photo of my son Eric and his girlfriend Jen was taken on Christmas Eve in downtown Portland.

Portland by night from atop the Portland City Grill Restaurant and Bar. Christmas Eve.

Eric and Hilary on Christmas Eve.

Eric and Jen on Christmas Eve at the Portland City Grill, where we had a drink.

Eric doing a gig at La Provence French Restaurant at Lake Oswego, outside Portland. He plays there every Friday night. The owner, Didier, comes from Chambery and loves being in Oregon.

Eric and Jen taken from the grounds of the Pittock Mansion at the top of a hill overlooking Portland and Mt. Hood, which you can't see in the distance.

This is Powell's, the famous book shop in Portland. It's quite a place!

This is the Greyhound bus I took from Medford to Portland. Quite an experience! I had to be at the bus station at 5:15 a.m. to check in for a 6:00 a.m. bus and wasn't sure to get on since Greyhound doesn't take reservations! There were only 10 seats left on the bus when it arrived from Sacramento, and there were 12 of us waiting, so it was "a first come, first served basis". Some of the passengers had been traveling for 2 days (from as far away as San Diego) and were rather grumpy. It was all very regimented, and most of the bus stations we went through had restrooms with no locks on the stall doors! The Portland Bus Station was very modern, though. And my son Eric was there to meet me when I arrived at 1 PM on Dec. 22nd.

Diana and Dan's home in Medford, Oregon

Ashland is the home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in the summer. It's also a very quaint town nestled in the south Oregon hills that has lots of charm.

Diana and took Aunt Peggie and me to Ashland, Oregon for lunch.

My cousins in Medford, Oregon: Diana and Dan and Diana's Mom, my great aunt Peggie. We had a nice visit, after not seeing each other for over 25 years!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Instead of taking the Greyhound from San Francisco to Medford, Oregon, at the last moment I got a "rideshare" through with a delightful young man: Sam, a civil engineering student at Stanford University. The six-hour-drive flew by, since we talked a lot, and I even dosed off for awhile. I paid for gas and was willing to share the driving, but Sam said he actually preferred to drive the whole way. He lives in a town called Grant's Pass, Oregon, and is spending the Christmas break at home with his family. Below are some photos of the road once we reached the mountains. You'll see Mounts Lasen and Shasta.