Los Angeles – week 4

The news of the past week has been dominated by the wildfires, which at the last count had burnt three-quarters of a million acres, destroyed 3,400 homes and killed 20 people, including one fire-fighter. Although the fires are some distance from where the apartment is in Costa Mesa, when I went out shopping on Sunday there was a very strong smell of smoke in the air with ash falling in the area, being driven by the ‘Santa Ana winds’. The smoke curtailed my activities for the day, so I set off to pick-up Andrew from LAX later than intended. Nevertheless, I still found the opportunity to take a couple of pictures of the sunset over Huntington Beach and the pier. Andrew arrived on time, and managed to see some of the fires as he flew into LA.

The past week has been a busy one on the work front, running three workshops over Monday and Tuesday and a number of one-to-one interview sessions over the rest of the week, resulting in the creation of a number of Visio process flow diagrams and a training & education plan. It’s been an interesting week from a cultural perspective, with the office and staff restaurant decked-out in Halloween regalia, much as we would do decorations at Christmas.

On Monday evening I took Andrew to Graham and mine’s favourite Mexican restaurant at the South Coast Plaza. It was a disappointing evening on two counts; I asked the waitress for a pitcher of beer, she said they only do pitchers on Friday & Saturday nights and then we both asked for bbq ribs for starters, but the waitress said they were out of stock.

The manageress approached later during the meal and asked if everything was ok. She was surprised that they were out of stock of the ribs, as she knew that they definitely had them in stock. The waitress told her that the computer reported them as out of stock, so off the manageress went to check only to return a short while later to apologise that indeed they did have them in stock. She offered to have some cooked and packed in a ‘doggy bag’ to take home with us, with their compliments, but we declined. By that time I was stuffing my face with an absolutely outstanding dessert, of which you can see a photograph of here, so instead she took the cost of that off the bill.

On Tuesday we went and picked-up Andrew’s hire car, making me exceedingly jealous as he got a brand new Ford Focus with just 40 miles on the clock, (mine’s got 20,000 on it), although I do have cruise control in mine. Tuesday was also my first opportunity to sample Andrew’s culinary skills, and very good it was too. (PS. I did the washing-up!)

Thursday and surprise, surprise it’s started to rain. Only light drizzle on and off, but some relief for the fire-fighters. Los Angeles had gone 92 days without rain before today. In the evening I went across the road to the Orange County Center for Performing Arts, where they have a small cabaret club in addition to the main concert hall. The cabaret club is quite an intimate atmosphere, seating around 200 people sat at small tables around the stage.

I went to see Susan Egan, who I had never heard off until a couple of weeks ago, but is a major Broadway star, including having been the lead in Beauty &the Beast. I had a ticket at a table right at the front of the stage, so had a great view but also left me open to the unexpected! She performed a set full of songs from the theatre, at one pointing coming into the crowd to pick on someone to sing to. Who was that lucky(!) person…? Yes you’ve guessed it, me! The spotlight was on me as she sang to me and ran her hands all over my body!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A tough job, but as they say…someone’s got to do it!

Halloween was Friday and the staff restaurant was decked-out big time, with all the staff in ‘frightening’ gear, not that some of them needed it! The restaurant was packed today, with everyone getting a free lunch, and with them all treating the event just as we would a Xmas party. It’s been very interesting to see the difference in culture to our Halloween back home.

The other news on Friday was that we had half an inch of rain along with an inch of snow in the mountains. Although some of the fires continue to burn, at least they are under control.

On Saturday I ventured out on my travels, driving up the Pacific Coast Highway, through Huntington Beach, past Sunset Beach and on up to Alamito Bay Marina, near Long Beach. On Sunday I stayed around Costa Mesa whilst Andrew played golf at one of the top courses in the country, Pelican Hill. Click here to see some photos from the golf course along with a complete set of photographs from the past week.

That’s it for another week. Over and out.