The sand can freak you out

Before I get to the sand story, I have to mention that we started the day in Griffith Park, where we saw the train and the ponies. We drove all the way up to the observatory, but we could not find parking close enough and walking that long was out of the question. So we settled for the next best thing: on our way back we stopped to take some pictures with some beautiful flowers. Then we drove all the way to Venice Beach to meet our friend Becca.

With the Colonel Griffith (the chu-chu train) I will ride a pony after I grow up Mommy loved those flowers I am pointing at you! With my friend Becca

While we were waiting to get seated for lunch at the Three Square Cafe & Bakery, I had the chance to get very close to a little dog for the first time in my life. I wanted to pet it, but I was reluctant at the same time. The little dog was as friendly and curious as me, but I ended up not touching it at all.

Would it be safe to pet it? Don't get too close! Dear owner, you have a friendly pet Why are your ears pricked up? Now I can relax a bit

Now I can get to the sand story. Imagine that we walked all the way to the Venice Beach, where my parents decided that it would be fun to walk in the sand. I had never put my feet in the sand before, and I swear that my feet felt really weird when they were touching the sand. For a while I didn’t even want to hear about standing up in the sand. Mommy thought that her sun glasses might distract me, but the thought of standing in the sand was still freaking me out. Daddy tried to throw me up in the air a few times before he would land me on sand, but it took him a while to convince me that it was not as bad as I thought.

Please don't put me in the sand The sun glasses don't make the sand more appealing Daddy trying to convince me to stand in the sand Would a little crying help? It feels like I am walking on broken glass

Eventually I got used to the feeling of my feet touching the sand. I started walking very courageously in the sand with Becca, mommy and daddy in supporting roles. I even walked all the way to the water, where the waves scared me a little. My parents were happy with overcoming one phobia (the sand) per day, so they didn’t push it.

Parents with a courageous baby Walking in the sand with Becca Mommy, I want to go to the right I changed my mind: I want to go to the left Daddy, take me to the ocean

Before getting back to the hotel, Becca took us to the Venice Canals, where my parents enjoyed the views while I slept like a baby. Of course I was tired – I didn’t have my regular naps during the day.

Daddy keeps me at a safe distance from the scary waves The three of us and the ocean Parents and flowers The Venice Canals The Venice Canals

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Santa Monica, Malibu and Hollywood

We spent the morning in Santa Monica, enjoying a late breakfast, then walking on the Pier and 3rd St Promenade. We drove along route 1 to Malibu, where – on a side-street – we witnessed the harsh conditions in which people are forced to live. We met Soheila and Kaveh again and we spent some time enjoying the pleasant weather on Point Dume Beach.

There was one more place we planned to visit before declaring the vacation over: Hollywood. It was really easy to find Hollywood Blvd and even easier to be disappointed at what it had to offer. There were stars all over the sidewalk (with some of the names easy to recognize). They were not only on Hollywood Blvd, but also on streets intersecting it. The Capitol Records building looked good enough from distance, so we didn’t get very close to it. Other tourist attractions enjoyed our presence from a smaller distance. It was the case of Kodak Theatre (the home for Academy awards) and Grauman’s Chinese Theatre (where Lida found traces of her lost hero – Johnny Depp).

Driving back to Las Vegas was painful – every time the traffic was not stopped the cars were moving with 20-30 miles/hour. There were also some smart drivers who decided that they were too creative to wait like everybody else and started taking over on the emergency lane. Some of them probably got to Las Vegas earlier to celebrate the New Year.

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This is part of our Christmas vacation in Southern California: Las Vegas by night | A tour of Las Vegas hotels | Another tour of Las Vegas hotels | Almost visiting Hoover Dam | A windy day in San Diego | A sunset in La Jolla | Downtown and uptown Los Angeles | Santa Monica, Malibu and Hollywood

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Downtown and uptown Los Angeles

We found very convenient (both as location and as price) parking in Chinatown. First we visited the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, a very different church, at least in terms of architecture. While walking around downtown, we saw the Music Center, the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Library Tower, and the Millenium Biltmore Hotel. We realized that least desirable parts of the city are just a couple of blocks away from the tourist route – for example on Broadway St.

In the afternoon we visited Lida’s old friend, Paris, who lives in Woodland Hills with her husband – Amir – and their two kids – Ryan and Nicole. They invited us to Shahrzad Restaurant, situated on a street where most signs were written in farsi. After this late lunch/early dinner, they took us on a tour of the Beverly Hills, including the shopper’s fantasy – Rodeo Drive. We ended up in the Grove LA Farmers Market shopping center, where we entered the imaginary land of the American Girl. This is a place where kids can buy a doll that looks like them, dress the doll, then dress themselves like the doll. The really spoiled kids can take the doll to a hair stylist, to a doctor (you cannot socialize with a sick doll, can you?) and finally to restaurant. I cannot imagine that parents in their right mind would pay for the doll’s consumption in the restaurant, but – apparently – being in the right mind is very relative.

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This is part of our Christmas vacation in Southern California: Las Vegas by night | A tour of Las Vegas hotels | Another tour of Las Vegas hotels | Almost visiting Hoover Dam | A windy day in San Diego | A sunset in La Jolla | Downtown and uptown Los Angeles | Santa Monica, Malibu and Hollywood

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