Saturday, September 1, 2007

Cars, Vegetables, and the Hollywood Sign

Our adventure today was to LA to visit the Petersen Automotive Museum, The Grove and Hollywood and Highland.

I come from a family that loves cars. My dad used to be a mechanical engineer. We frequent dealerships just to see the new cars, even when we're not going to buy. We go to car shows and I used to work in the automotive aftermarket. Cars rock! So the Petersen Automotive Museum was a must see for us.

I have to say this was the best museum I've been to in a while. It does an amazing job of showcasing the cars in their context. It explores the world they lived in. You see cars from their inception up through the 60s in the permanent exhibition. You watch the gas pump and freeways in LA evolve.

What was amazing to me was that as early as 1917 they were exploring hybrids. They didn't have the technology they needed to make it work. What was also interesting was that those early cars got 50 miles to the gallon, even through the 40s. Those cars weighed significantly more than our cars do today and they got 50 mpg and we can't manage that with all of our technology, something is wrong with that picture.

Other exhibits on display now are Hollywood Cars, Convertibles and Microcars. If you like cars you really need to visit. Admission is $10 and parking is $6.

For lunch we headed over to the LA Farmer's Market on 3rd and Fairfax, just a few blocks from the museum. Established in 1934 the market has a long history of bring the community together around food. You can buy your vegetables, eat a crepe, taco or New Orleans gumbo. We opted for Du-Parrs a family-owned restaurant established in 1936. Their homemade food was delicious. They have a bakery onsite so the bread and desserts were fantastic.

Then we wandered down the block to The Grove to see the fountain show, shop at Crate & Barrell and we listened to a band on the grassy knoll. The band was called The Copycats and they were really good. Lots of celebrities like to shop there but we didn't see any.

Needing a fix of the weird and fanciful we decided to visit Hollywood and Highland. Out in full force were people dressed up like Shrek, Harry Potter, vampires, Spiderman, SpongeBob and other characters to make money taking pictures with tourists. It works.

We opted instead to have a cream puff at Beard Papa, see the Hollywood Sign (directly behind the shopping complex), and visit the Grauman's Chinese Theatre. I don't know what's so fascinating about seeing celebrity hand and shoe prints but it is. I think its because they're all so amazingly small.

Our last stop was at the Roosevelt Hotel, right across the street from Graumans. Knowing that is where the first Oscar's were held I wanted to check it out. The hotel was home away from home for many stars back when Hollywood was still glamorous.It has been completely restored the Spanish Colonial style and its luster. However I don't think its as beautiful as The Biltmore in downtown Los Angeles.

After three full days of siteseeing we're exhausted. Tomorrow we're going to sleep in and lay low.

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