There's nothing like the holidays--the loud music, the flurry of sparkle everywhere, the visiting family that needs entertaining hour after hour after hour--to inspire the tourist in everyone...even me.
In the last week, I have gone to a menorah lighting at Glendale's Americana at Brand, where we listened to Klezmer tunes, ignored the Rabbi's speech, and joined several 4 year olds in crafting Star of Davids [during which time we were asked multiple times by the staff if we 'needed any help,' leading me to believe that they thought we were 'retarded'].
The ceremony was all performed next to a gigantic Christmas tree, proving that though the Jews might run LA, until the Chabad learns to dress up the menorah with thousands of watts of power, Christmas still runs December.
Christmas Eve was enjoyed, in part, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, attempting to watch the annual Holiday Celebration from the 5th story of an immensely steep theatre. While just darling in concept, the 20th choir to go on stage got a little old as I strained to see the tops of their tiny heads from the length of a football field away.
Christmas day was spent driving around looking for things to do in between the showers. Such activities involved a walk up Rodeo Drive [where there was no shortage of European tourists puffing smoke into their children's finely accented faces], a tour of Beverly Hills' government buildings (see City Hall below), and taking the 'scenic route' down Mulholland Drive (an activity which grew treacherous as I attempted to return home along the windy streets of Coldwater Canyon) in pouring rain.
And then what tourist jaunt would be complete without a walk through the Huntington Botanical Gardens of Pasadena. I leave you with a few pictures of our journey across more cacti plants than you could (or should) ever wish to know.
Photo Credits: Jessie B. R.