I arrived in L.A. last Tuesday night after a long day of travel. I was originally supposed to fly to Philadelphia and then to L.A., but they sent me to LaGuardia first, then to Philadelphia, and then to L.A. So, I saw both coasts in one day. Once I arrived, I took a cab to the Wilshire Grand hotel in downtown L.A. My cab driver was a chatty fellow who enjoyed the ride so much that he gave me a little discount on the cab fare and filled me in on all of the hot spots along the way.
I was sharing a room at the Wilshire with a fellow graduate student friend of mine for the first two days of my trip. Before I could do touristy things with Fallon, I spent two days at the College Art Association conference at the Los Angeles Convention Center. After I arrived at the Wilshire, a friendly man named Jose insisted upon helping me take my luggage to my room. The room was...something else. I generally pay the bare minimum for a hotel room because I am only there to sleep and shower, so as long as it is clean and safe, I don't care. I expected that for the price we were paying for this room, it would be pretty nice. I don't think that it had been redecorated since the 1980s (fitting for the Dynasty ladies, I guess) and I believe that Blanche Deveraux was hired as the interior design consultant for this place. I felt like I was living in the Golden Girls' house.
The other side of the room:
This was also one of those hotels that has a phone next to the toilet--I have never understood that. I hope no one ever calls me from the bathroom toilet phone.
My friend and I were both speaking at the conference on Wednesday afternoon in the same session and that went fairly well. There were five speakers and none of our papers really had much in common besides having something to do with Hispanic studies, so when they held the questions until the end, only the last two people were asked anything. I had several people approach me after the session with questions, though, so that was nice. I also got to see my undergraduate advisor and meet some other cool people there, so it was good for networking.
After our session, my friend and I were starving, so we went in search of a place to eat lunch. I felt like I do in Spain--I wanted to eat at a time when no one is supposed to eat (about 3:00 p.m.). We finally found a California Pizza Kitchen that was happy to feed us and I don't know if it was because we were really hungry, but the food tasted way better than I remember CPK food tasting.
Because we ate at such a weird time of day, we ended up going out for dessert later that evening. We went to a really good local Italian restaurant and I had the flourless chocolate cake, which was fabulous. Usually, I find these to be really bitter, but this cake was just slightly sweet and the texture was wonderful--like silky fudge. They put some berries on the plate, too, along with fresh whipped cream and it all tasted delicious together.
On Thursday, I spent the morning hanging out with my undergraduate advisor and packing in preparation for meeting Leah-Fallon later in the day. I left the Golden Girls' Palace after lunch and took a cab to my new hotel in Hollywood. Well, maybe "hotel" is the wrong word...