White Lotus, Los Angeles

In June, I visited The Japanese Garden in Van Nuys, Los Angeles. It was hot, but the time was ripe for viewing blooming lotus flowers.

The lotus is a diamond in the rough — it grows out of murky water. In Buddhism, the lotus is associated with purity of body, word, and mind; in Hinduism with beauty and prosperity.

Furthermore, a white-coloured lotus (they also come in pink and blue) represents an awakening to the wonder of it all.

Here’s to a wonder-filled weekend…

Lotus at japanese gardenPS

 

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The Beach, Santa Monica

The blazing bright light, the wide open spaces, the sapphire blue ocean — this mix gives Southern California its allure. Its wilderness is layered with stories. If only the palm trees could talk.

palmPS

back at the beach cafe 2PS

beachPS

Writing Hemingway During Earth Hour ~ LA

It’s 8.30pm on a Saturday night in Los Angeles. In honour of Earth Hour, the lights are off and I am typing the words of Hemingway by candlelight. I loved this passage in A Moveable Feast – for the words as much as the sentiment – and wanted to share it with you:

“To have come on all this new world of writing, with time to read in a city like Paris where there was a way of living well and working, no matter how poor you were, was like having a great treasure given to you. You could take your treasure with you when you traveled too, and in the mountains where we lived in Switzerland and Italy… there were always the books, so that you lived in the new world you had found, the snow and the forests and the glaciers and their winter problems and your high shelter or your pension in the Hotel Taube in the village at night; and you could live in the other wonderful world the Russian writers were giving you. At first there were the Russians; then there were all the others. But for a long time there were the Russians.”

My heavy copy of War and Peace, waiting to be read...

My heavy copy of War and Peace, waiting to be read…

The Proposal ~ From New York to Los Angeles

Half the fun of the travel is the esthetic of lostness.  ~Ray Bradbury

Foothills of El Paso’s (TX) Franklin Mountains via spysgrandson (all rights reserved)

Thank you so much readers, for the suggestions of where to visit as part of a cross country road trip from NYC to LA. In my last post, many seasoned travelers highly recommended Utah as a place to see. As much as I’d love to stop here, I know spending 1-2 days wouldn’t do the state justice; it’s worthy of a lengthy trip in the near future.

So…

Moonrise over Washington DC via pentaxforums.com

I am in unison with Bradbury in the sentiment that there’s beauty in venturing, uninhibited, into the unknown. But just as his words read, that’s half the fun. The other half, in my opinion, is influenced by the trip’s framework; there’s comfort in setting (loose) parameters. Wandering about aimlessly under time restrictions – a little over a week across 3,500 miles – promises a whole other set of challenges.

THE (loose) PARAMETERS

Keeping in mind that visiting New Orleans is a must, I’ve drafted an itinerary that traces a southerly route of the US. The list includes cities that I have never been to before (the Washington DC and Sedona drive-thrus don’t count). If you can advise, I’d love your thoughts on what to see/do, and where to eat/play.

Cafe du Monde, New Orleans ~ via myneworleans.com

I’ve done some preliminary research but am also looking for the not-so-seen, and hungry for local knowledge. I want to know what lies under the skin of place; I want to take in the smells of fresh produce markets, bite into a deep fried beignet, feast my eyes on centuries old architecture and innovative design, be immersed in nature’s stillness. Most importantly, I want to see how people live.

While I’ll certainly be documenting the details, a head start never hurts.

PROPOSED ITINERARY: NEW YORK TO LOS ANGELES

Brooklyn, New York > Washington, DC > Charleston, South Carolina > Savannah, Georgia (brief stop) > Tallahassee, Florida > New Orleans, Louisiana > San Antonio, Texas > El Paso, Texas > Sedona, Arizona (2 days) > Los Angeles, California

*Thinking of adding in Raleigh, NC between DC and Charleston as a stop. Not only will it give us more time, but I am reading wonderful things about this city.

Sedona, Arizona via prx.org

ADVICE NEEDED ON MUST SEES

Readers:

What are your favourite DC monuments? Can you recommend a noteworthy restaurant or bar in this great city?

Any recommendations re: where to feast on good Creole cuisine while in New Orleans? What about jazz clubs?

What are the Charleston essentials – sights, shops, cafes, neighbourhoods?

Know of a part of Savannah where one can linger for a couple of hours?

What do you love about Sedona?

What’s hot in Raleigh? The City of Oaks has me intrigued.

What about El Paso and Tallahassee; have you been to these cities? I’ve read that Tallahassee has an abundance of seafood – know of an oyster shack?

Look forward to tips, thoughts, and suggestions on anything, or all, of the above.

~Thank you!

Avenue of Oaks in Charleston, South Carolina via davidallenphotography.com

Urban Vs Natural ~ New York and California

I read some words today that I’ve been reflecting on ever since. You may read them here: mimokhair, Day 2, Vietnam

Energised by the built; energised by the wild. Constantly revved up by a kaleidoscope of impressions, versus quietly meditating on the infinite. Striving towards a balance.

The thoughts shared by the Native American on mimokhair’s post speak volumes about my love for city life, accompanied by the constant pull of the Pacific Ocean.

Looking towards the horizon from Heisler Park in Laguna Beach

View from my apartment building’s rooftop in Brooklyn, looking towards Manhattan. One World Trade Centre in NY’s downtown (background).

Forever Celebrating Frank Lloyd Wright

Wright’s building made it socially and culturally acceptable for an architect to design a highly expressive, intensely personal museum. In this sense almost every museum of our time is a child of the Guggenheim. ~ Paul Goldberger

Today is Frank Lloyd Wright’s birthday (June 8, 1867 – April 9, 1959), architect of the loved Guggenheim Museum in New York. According to architect Philip Johnson, this is Wright’s ‘greatest building, New York’s greatest building.’

There is an old saying about the Guggenheim; you come to see Kandinsky or Picasso, but you stay to see Frank Lloyd Wright. ~ Ultan Guilfoyle

Unfortunately, Wright didn’t get to see the museum open as he passed away 6 months prior.

I wrote about the Guggenheim, and the controversy surrounding it, in a previous blog post, here: The Guggenheim Museum: in ‘All’ its glory

On the West Coast, one of his residential achievements, made famous in particular by the movie Bladerunner, is the Ennis House. Set in the hills of Los Feliz with wonderful views over a low lying Los Angeles, Wright designed the home for Charles and Mabel Ennis in 1923. It was built a year later.

Frank Lloyd Wright designed over 1000 structures, and completed half of them.

I’ll leave you with a quote by the architect himself that, for me, sums up the success and beauty of these two works especially:

Form follows function – that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union.

Through the Ennis House gates you can see Los Angeles