Showing posts from April, 2008

Eating at the Aura

Where to eat? Always an adventure. Sometimes a surprise. In Portland a great surprise. Therestaurants in Portland’s CityCenter are packed as Bill and I soon discovered. The noise level within them was so huge and the crowds so intense I felt like heading back to the hotel to dine on crackers and cheese in our room. But we were really hungry, so when we spotted the silver lights running vertically to the right of an unobtrusive doorway at 1022 West Burnside Street, we decided to check it out.
The Aura restaurant from the outside gives no hit of the restrained elegance within. Subdued lighting, sleek furnishings, 2 bars that glittered like crystal, and small and intimate tables, behind which a screen shimmering with subtle colors and swirling shapes. The entire ambiance of the restaurant reflected "aura:" that subtle field of luminous multicolored radiation surrounding a person and other living things.
A slender and very tall young woman wearing a hand-crocheted white dress l…

Riding the Portland Rails

Portland: Day OneWe didn't do any research on Portland prior to our journey there. Which is actually not a bad way to travel, especially in a city like Portland with its amazing transit system of 100 bus lines, 3 light rail lines, street cars and even a cable car – for it was while using this system that we often ended up having lively conversations with various persons ranging from the intellectual young woman who directed us to Powell’s bookstore and the skateboarder who waxed eloquent about Columbia River Gorge. “Man, you gotta see those waterfalls.” The TriMet blows your mind. Ride it within the “Fareless Square,” which covers a great portion of Portland’s CityCenter and the nearby Lloyd district where we were staying, and you travel free! Perhaps it is the free fare that accounts for the crowds in downtown Portland at night. (Minneapolis/St. Paul take note. It's not arena's that bring crowds to your downtowns, it's free rapid transit!)
Bill and I rode Portland'…

Get thee to the Getty

Back in Los Angeles, yet still floating on Sequoia highs, I decide to visit the world famous Getty Center on a hilltop in the Santa MonicaMountains. To get there, I can take a taxi for the measly sum of $45.00 one-way, or I can take the same trip bybus for $1.00. As a Senior, I do even better . . . I get bargain rates: $0.45 for an hour and a half trip! All I have to do is walk several blocks to the LAX bus depot on 96th Street, take the Culver City 6 to Westwood and make the transfer there to Metro Rapid Line 761. I arrive at Getty Drive, leave the bus, and hop onto a sleek tramway that makes me feel like I am a bird rising above the landscape below. The museum complex is huge, positioned around a central plaza. The buildings are clad in enameled metal; the plaza in split travertine, some blocks of which reveal fossilized aspen leaves. Huge asymmetrical archways frame panoramas of the mountain ridges beyond and the city below.
The architect, Richard Meier incorporated undulatin…

Wuksachi Lodge and Grants Grove (Day 2 of Sequoia Holiday)

Morning at the Wuksachi Lodge dawned silent and tinged with gold. Bill and I woke around five, opened the curtains, pulled on a few clothes, then sat to meditate. When I opened, the snow-capped mountain towering above the trees seemed within walking distance and a spider-web shimmered in the white spruce outside, light streaking across its fibers in a gentle breeze. At breakfast that morning, the lodge dining room was filled with families, many speaking with defined British accents and the children, all of them, incredibly well behaved. A little Asian boy with delicate features and bed-mussed hair eating pancakes at the next table made me smile as did a 10-year-old miss with the curly blonde hair eating with her giant of a father the table beyond that. From floor to ceiling, windows brought the surrounding landscape – mountains, snow, woods – right into the dining room. Our table was bathed in so much light that I could have used a pair of sunglasses, but it felt warm and welcoming…

Take a hair-raising ride to wondrous (Day 1 of Sequoia Holiday)

The Sentinel -- an average giant

When we set off earlier this week for the Sequoiaand King's Canyon National Parks we had no idea “where” these parks were. We knew only what the map told us: that they lay several hundred miles northeast of Los Angeles, but not that these parks are some 7,000 feet high in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range and are reached by several hundred hair-raising S turns with precipitous drops on one side or the other. “Take a look at that view,” my hubby Bill said and I replied “Yes. Yes,” while clutching the passenger seat in a white-knuckled death grip and mentally reminding myself to “Breathe.”

Breathing was definitely easier when we were on the inside of the General’s Highway and when Bill wasn’t noting the magnificent view while racing past them! Actually, Bill drives mountain roads with skill, acquired by years of negotiating similar roads in the Colorado Rockies. Contrarily I have not been so trained or inured. And I have a terror of heights, notwithsta…

Day Two: Mountain Drive and . . . Sundance

In my last blog we'd arrived in Salt Lake City and did Salt Lake City stuff. In this blog we are off to the mountains . . . driving into those amazing snow covered peaks -- one car midst a caravan of spring break skiers, off, not to ski but to see. What we did not expect was to become part of a "happening" at Sundance.

Fans of all things Sundance, we made a sharp right off highway 189 onto 92. The terrain changed immediately from desert to fir forested cliffs. It was a narrow road, which surprised me and I wondered how the many who gather at Sundance for film festivals coordinated their travel through such a narrow and "falling rocks" zone. (Found out later that the festival has grown too large for Sundance and takes place at various theaters in Provo).

The parking lot at Sundance was packed!!! Skiers of all sizes, shapes, and ages -- hauling skis off tops of cars, clipping boots, donning hats, goggles and gloves. A young man wearing a florescent vest and directi…

Salt Lake City : Day 1

When my husband Bill booked tickets for us to meet in Salt Lake City, I thought "What's to see in Salt Lake City besides the Mormon Temple." Well, we got to see the temple all right. Lots of it. From our room at the Marriott Hotel in Temple Square, which overlooked a construction zone, we had a perfect view of the Temple complex. But there's a lot more to see than temples in Utah.

I was starving when we arrived, so we walked toward the restaurant we'd spotted on the way in -- the one with the artsy awnings that had actually gone out of business. So much for dining in restaurants with awnings. Onward. The Red Rock Brewing Company -- with its old factory warehouse style interior: brick walls, open ceilings, wide plank floors, looked inviting. Besides, it was packed which usually means good food. We managed to find a table toward the back where the decibel level was fairly manageable. Fortified with a great house brew honey light beer and a wondrous marinated onion, …