About me

Am a contradiction of sorts. i love going out and having a good time with friends, and i can also stay home chill out over a book or a movie..

Am very passionate about writing, so give me a topic and watch me float away into wonderland... Love reading books- sometimes i read 3books simultaneously, crazy about music- need it all around me, all the time and ofcourse, i totally am ga ga goo goo over my 7yr old naughty brat- Floppy!! errr, Prince Floppy!! :)

Monday, May 29, 2017

Getty Center, LA

While I was planning my trip, one of my uncles [in Chennai] insisted I visit the Getty centre. I had seen pictures from grandparents' earlier visit and knew it would be a lovely place. I did not know much about the place, except that it was all about art and there was a huge garden within the campus. On my last day in LA, after having a relaxed breakfast, I made my way to the bus stand to head to Getty Centre. The J. Paul Getty Museum, commonly referred to as "Getty", is situated in the Brentwood neighbourhood of Los Angeles.. There is another centre, The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa located in Malibu.

A short bus ride took me straight to the main entrance, where I was told to go to the place where electric tram took us up the hill to the main Getty centre. From there you are free to wander about. Everything is free, there is plenty of open space, benches to sit and enjoy the view from, a couple of galleries displaying different kinds of art, and of course the garden down below. There are also guided tours at specific timings.  And as with every place, there are a couple of gift shops selling interesting stationery to bags , toys and more..  The art collection features Western art from the Middle Ages to the present. It is said that over 1.3 million visitors annually, making it one of the most visited museums in the United States. 

I noticed there was a Garden tour in half an hour. After enquiring about the assembly point, I began wander around the grounds.  Situated atop the hill, it offers a 360 view of the city below, with such beautiful vistas all around.

Keeping the various elements around, the architect Richard Meier designed the complex to highlight both nature and culture. The lady who gave the garden tour explained in length about the architecture and the architect's mind as well. From that, Richard Meier sounds a bit like someone with a major OCD. 

The walls are all beige, they are fitted with 30x30 inch squares that flow seamlessly from the ceiling to the floor and around. 
The trees in the centre are all aligned to be in line, they are also white flower blooming trees as Meier would not have other colours in the complex. 
When they asked him to plant a coral tree, the tree of LA, he made sure to put it behind a wall,so it did not mess up the rest of the space. :D
*mind voice- damn this guy must have been crazy, wonder what he was like at home*
The smaller plants are also white flower blooming ones..
There were few other trees which were in a straight line, Sequoia trees.. They all looked like a military man had blown the whistle and ordered them to stand straight. 

Wait, there is more. Cos trees have roots and have roots have a mind of their own which could lead to them changing positions over time, these trees are all planted in giant boxes which have then been hidden into the ground.. 

As for the garden, that was put together by Robert Irwin. The main garden is in three parts-- the Stream Garden, the plaza and the Bowl Garden. They have zig-zagged down the Stream's path, passed the bougainvillea shooting from rebar bowers[ a smaller version of what you see in Singapore gardens], crossed over the water cascading into the pool below, then strolled into the intimate, exuberant spirals of the Bowl, centered on its water-bound azalea maze. The past year saw the state go through terrible drought followed by rains. During the drought season, the Government shut off water and so the garden is pretty dry with nothing but succulents all across. The zig zag path is also dry and so we did not see/enjoy what Irwin had designed. 

Oh and even the trees around the campus - they are all pruned to a certain height, almost  looking like someone gave them a bad haircut. In one area, there is a long walkway with mauve pillars, around which are wines with purple flowers in them. Now these were allowed, but had to be trimmed and kept in a certain way acc to the architect. 

The day was quite windy, infact during certain moments I thought it was gonna whisk me away. After the tour, I spent some time exploring the art galleries, there are quite a few water bodies, ponds and interesting sculptures scattered through the property. I also picked up some souvenir at the store and grabbed a cup of coffee at one of the many kiosks outside. It is a beautiful place to just sit and soak it all in. 

Soon it was time to bid adieu to this magical place and head back down. The tram awaits... adios... 

Friday, May 26, 2017

Strolling along the Venice Beach , Los Angeles

Narrow lanes
Short bridges
Waterways all over
These are a few words that come to my mind when someone says "Venice"..

But for us it was more of We went, we saw and we left... lolz.. read on to know what happened... 

There we were, about 15-17 of us, sitting around the table enjoying a lazy breakfast when a cousin announced "lets go to Venice Beach", will be fun. We can even rent cycles and ride around the place. Lunch can happen at one of the places and we can come back. I was lost, I did not even know there was a Venice Beach in LA... Another cousin looked at me and said "you should go, its your 1st time in this country, so come check it out, there are street performers, shops, marijuana doctors, food etc etc... its a fun vibrant place. Within an hour, all of us but uncle-fiancee piled into two cars and headed out. The drive was long, took nearly an hour, then came the drama of finding parking. Phew, a public parking lot came in sight and we found  spot for the SUV. During the ride, I did some digging about this beach... Originally called "Venice of America," this area was founded by tobacco millionaire Abbot Kinney back in 1905 [meant to be a beach resort town]. He along with his partner bought a 2 mile long ocean view property here.  

At the entrance is a banner that announces "Venice" and down the road is where you see the ocean. There is a long boardwalk filled with street vendors on one side and performers on the other. We watched a magic show and a music gig.. I also noticed quite a few guys handing out Music CDs... They just give it to you and then follow you asking for money.  The stores are a lot like what we see in Goa- filled with junk- hats, caps, t-shirts, souvenirs, and some products looked very Indian. And then came the row of Marijuana Doctors, all painted in neon green. You can walk in and get a legal prescription for the drug... :O 

I spotted a basketball court and a skating rink as well..Suddenly I heard loud music on the left, I turn to notice a huge workout area, with guys looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger's older brothers, ginormous muscles..  The coolest thing were the walls all along the beach, they were covered in interesting murals and graffiti...   For a Friday afternoon, the place was jam packed.. You gotta be careful of your stuff else some could go missing~ I was walking along when suddenly someone slammed into me, my handbag fell, scattering the contents. I picked up as much as I could and walked ahead. But something stopped me in my tracks, I looked back and saw my phone cable lying on the ground. Grabbed it and heaved a sigh of relief that nothing valuable was lost... 

We walked around for many  45mins when suddenly one of the little ones announced he was hungry. And thus began the hunt to find a eatery, battle between good food vs decent looking place. After a few mins, we got back to the road near the parking lot and headed into a Chinese/Thai place, occupying the largest bench and thus ended the visit to the beach. Apparently, the beach has a stretch which resembles venice- with small bridges and water ways and is quite a sight around sunset... Oh well, guess it will wait for my next trip..

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Skywatch... The rolling hills

We were doing with the wedding rehearsal, it was time to go drop off a friend whose daughter was part of the wedding entourage and head over to the Bridal dress store. The venue was quite a distance from their house and the route my aunt took was absolutely breathtaking. 

The day I landed in LA, I realised that people relied completely on GPS/Maps to get them to their destination. Nobody drives based on self knowledge, you would end up in circles I was told. So, this afternoon she had the GPS on, and we went.. Took us about an Hour which is exactly what the Map told us and the route was magical. Along the way, we saw nothing but sprawling mountains, some covered in mustard and others just lush green. One section of the road had Orange trees lined up on one side with the fruit hanging low. The sky was clear blue and not a single cloud in sight...  

Oh and we also spotted a farm that had horses, goats and even llamas enroute...Here are a few photographs taken along the way [some are blurry cos I was clicking from a moving car] :-) 

For more beautiful skies, visit Skywatch Friday

Monday, May 15, 2017

Long haul and the hours after...

This was the 1st time I was taking a flight that was over 4hours in duration and so there was a lot of apprehension in the mind. I also had people giving me inputs and suggestions- make sure to walk up and down, visit the loo and don’t hold it in, remove your shoes and ask the steward for a flight sock or shoe, sleep as much as possible, wear ear plugs, etc etc.. I heard them all out, but at the same time tuned it all out.

I love travelling, have no qualms about asking people for help if am unsure and well, I am a happy camper. So, it irks me when people ask "Oh you are travelling alone, is there anyone else you know flying with you, I know so & so here/there/everywhere-shall I ask them to take you to the flight, blah blah..." Thanks but no thanks! 

I believe in figuring things out on my own, and learning it as I go along. It was 19th and I had just a few hours before I was headed out to the airport. For those who know me, they know what a freak I am when it comes to travelling. I travel light and I mean really light, but this time I was carrying lot more than I would, but was carrying only one suitcase and a backpack [ laptop, camera, ipod, wallet, one set of clothes, some bites, chargers etc]

Once done with the checkin and security, I had a few hours to kill before my flight. Spoke to a friend, read a book, walked around the lounge aimlessly. Once inside the flight, I made a beeline to my seat [for the 1st time I was in the middle seat – sigh, downside of checking in late I guess] and had was slightly worried how the journey would be. But then the 1st leg was only 5hours and I had 3hour transit in Hongkong. Settled in, plugged in the headphones and watched a movie on the screen, dozed for a while, and had a meal as well. Before I knew it, we had landed in Hongkong.

I got off the plane and went about locating my uncle & co who were flying the same airline on the 2nd leg. Said hi hello, chit chatted and went off to wander about the airport.  Hong kong airport is huge- plenty of eateries, stores, and did I mention free wifi? Lolz. Yes! Because my airtel was dead [ I chose not to activate international roaming], the wifi came in handy. God bless whatsapp[ yes, as much as I hate it, it helped during my travels]

With an hour to spare, we went ahead to check the gate and it was one long walk. They had quite a few moving walkways/ travelator but somehow I get the sense I walk faster when am outside, but yes, I did hop on one just to give my feet some rest. This leg of the flight was a long one- 13hours. The funny part was we flew ahead in time from Chennai to Hongkong and then were flying backwards to USA.. I left Chennai 19th April early morning 1.40am and would be reaching LA 19th April 11.10am. Crazy right?! That’s what happens when you fly across the world. But you save a day when you fly here, and lose a day when flying back home. Sigh… mysteries of the world.

This second leg I had managed to snare a window seat and if you thought I was busy staring outside all the time, nope, I was fast asleep most of the time. I had a father-son next to me, they were Spanish, heading back after a weekend in Hongkong. Were curious to know where I was from and how on earth was I doing this long a flight. Hahaha…

Had one meal, skipped the other [cos I was snoozing], had a couple of cups of coffee, few visits to the loo, some walking about and voila, we were in LA… In total, must have slept about 5hours in this leg and 2.5-3hrs in the 1st one.

View from my seat just before we landed in LA

After completing all the crazy immigration formalities where I was sent to a different queue from the family [I had to fill out information on a kiosk, that clicked a scary pic and printed out a receipt which is what I showed to the officer at the counter, who looked at me, asked just 2 questions- First time in USA? How long are you here? and he sent me on my way with a "have a fun trip".. I then proceeded to go downstairs and picked up my red suitacase [ it was among the first few to land with a thud on the conveyor], waiting for uncle & co forever, we were finally out of the airport. I was her, I was actually in LA… woohooo~!! So much excitement. My sis, cousin had come along with uncle to pick us up, in two cars cos they thought we would bring a tonne of baggage.. Ha.. Along the way to grab a bite, my sis & cousin kept telling me to hold off sleeping, that I will feel sleepy around 8pm, I should control , should be busy or stay out etc… I was so sure I would nod off, but lo behold I was perfectly fine and fresh till 10pm when zzz happened. Yoohoo.. Guess my body was just all prepped and ready for the days ahead, and knew I would tolerate no slacking off.. J

Well, what all did I do in America? Read on the upcoming posts to know more…  And if you are the impatient kind, go check out my instagram feed for stories.- http://instagram.com/talesfromaaroo/ or look for #aarootravels in search option on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. 


 More to come in upcoming posts... stay tuned..