April 11, 2006

My Trip to San Francisco Part 1

Filed under: My trips — movie_critic @ 4:27 pm

Next morning after my trip to Disneyland I woke up with a sharp pain in my throat. Talk about bad coincidence – that morning I was planning to head to San Francisco by the scenic route, the famous

Pacific Coast Highway

. The weather also was not very inviting – the sky was grey and it was definitely cooler than in the last 2 days. Still, minor things like that can’t stop someone who was waiting for a chance to visit San Francisco for years. “What are the pharmacies for?” I thought and promptly headed to the nearest one for a pack of “Halls” and something to drink on the road. All this delayed my departure by an hour and when I finally headed for Santa Monica, where I was to join PCH, it was already 10 am, and – lucky me!- the weather started to clear out. By the time I hit Santa Monica, I was riding under the glorious sun in the blue skies and my spirit rose high. I was lucky indeed, because when the highway finally took me close to the ocean, I was mesmerized by its color – a deep emerald, unbelievably beautiful, and it was the sun that really brought out this deep hue. I’ve seen the oceans and the seas in a different weather and when it’s cloudy the water acquires this dull grey color of the clouds. And so I went – mountains on the right, the Pacific ocean on the left, trying to get a glimpse of the views around and to keep at least one eye on the road at the same time – to tell the truth, it was not easy! The highway went in a serpentine fashion around the mountains and very often the most breathtaking views were opening just around the bend, when a new town would arise before my eyes with its white houses coming down to the ocean. Alas, for such an avid photographer like me there were no chances to make pictures of the best views – the No Stopping signs were quite visible on most part of the highway and I did not want to run into any trouble when I was so far from home!

April 5, 2006

My Trip to Disneyland Part 2

Filed under: My trips — movie_critic @ 5:40 pm

The Frontierland was opening before me with the mountains and what looked like a mine – another roller-coaster ride, I thought and decided to pass it up in favor of the town square ahead of me. The town square was basically a small place in front of the “Golden Horseshoe” saloon. As I later found out, inside was a nice café and it also had a stage, so I figured they might be having some shows there now and then. A real show was actually going on right in front of the saloon. The local mayor was trying to get a young cowboy to marry his daughter (both were actors, of course, and not bad at that). Apparently, the list of the local eligible bachelors was running rather short, so the cowboy seemed like the only available option. It was also apparent by the cowboy reaction that the bride-to-be was not such a treasure as the father was portraying her, so he’s suggested to expand the pool of potential husbands by selecting them from the spectators. By that time the lady in question appeared before the crowd and “she” turned out to be a “he” – a man in the dress and the blond wig with the hairy chest and in a rather bad need for a shave. The show was, in fact, really funny, but I had to cut it short as I noticed a grand sailing ship Columbia approaching the pier on the right. I love to watch sailing ships, but never had been on one, so I ran to the pier to get a place on the ship. It actually even had a sort of exposition below the deck on how the sailors of the 19th century lived and worked. It had a nice historical feel to it, a balm for the eyes of such a museum rat as me! The trip itself was relatively short and the views on the way were mostly related to Indians – Indian chief, Indian village – though there were a small crashed engine on a railroad and the red longjohns drying in the wind, as if reminding of the presence of the white miners in the area – yeah, I know that’s only make-believe, still it was a nice touch, though! J

March 29, 2006

My trip to Disneyland Part 1

Filed under: My trips — movie_critic @ 2:58 pm

On the next day after visiting Hollywood and the Universal Studios I went to Disneyland. Yeah, that’s right, the very first and the most glorious amusement park in Anaheim, Ca., which celebrated 50 years of existence just last year. The number 50 is still very much on display in Disneyland even now. I was very curious to see if there were any changes since I’ve been there the first and only time in 1993.

I started out great, the sky was blue, the sun was bright and I was in a very mellow mood. Finding my way to Anaheim turned out to be easy, but finding the entrance to Disneyland was a bit more difficult – as usual, I’ve taken the wrong exit and ended up somewhere in the backyard of Disneyland first. Thanks to a good Samaritan (actually, a guard at the gates) I got the instructions on how to get to the entrance and naturally, it had to be the next exit! Sometimes I can’t believe myself…

March 17, 2006

My Trip to Hollywood Part 5

Filed under: My trips — movie_critic @ 1:39 pm

Quite frankly, Hollywood proper was not high on my priority list of places to see, but as the freeway was going past all the Hollywood exits I’ve decided to drop by and give it a chance. I have to admit, I was quite disappointed with Hollywood when I first came there in 1993. I did not know then that the most well-known places in Hollywood are actually compressed into several hundred meters on

Hollywood Boulevard

and the rest of Hollywood is very much like the rest of towns in California – mostly 1-2 story buildings of the most ordinary architecture, occasional palm trees – in short, nothing to really incite the imagination. I have went up and down Hollywood Boulevard a couple of times, because I could not find that small strip with the stars and the celebrities feet and hand imprints and after I found it I realized again that it is indeed very short, in just about couple of hundred meters past that spot down on Hollywood Boulevard I could see a sign, which said Little Armenia. My cousin told me that somewhere in Little Armenia they have this legendary bakery shop which makes Russian and Armenian style bread and pastries at any time of day and night. They are always open and you can always find the bread you’ve been looking for waiting for you there, even though the shelves in the store might be empty.

March 14, 2006

My trip to Hollywood, Part 4

Filed under: My trips — movie_critic @ 8:13 am

When the tour has ended I went to explore the lower part of the park. Unfortunately, it was already rather late in the afternoon, so I really did not have enough time to visit all the attractions there, like the studios where they demonstrate the work on the film audio material. I did go for a Jurassic Park ride, though, and have a minted penny with the slogan “I’ve survived the Jurassic Park ride” to show for it! The ride starts rather uneventfully, you get into the boats riding on the rails, and the only thing that really should have clued me in from the start was that the attendant insisted we take off our hats…

I have found the advice quite useful just a bit later, when the speed of the boat was increasingly higher and the wind was whistling in my ears! At the beginning you get to see only peaceful dinosaurs and it’s pretty cool too, but the real fun starts when the ride enters through the gate into the complex where the huge scary Tyrannosauruses Rex roam free and try to get through the ceiling to the rather agitated public in the boat… Br-r-r-r! At the end the boat is going on sort of a roller coaster and I am not too good with this sort of things, so when I’ve looked at my photo taken right at that moment it was scary in itself and I’ve decided not to spend my money on it, let it scare someone else! Unfortunately, I could not make my own photos inside –first, because I was hanging to the bar in the boat for my dear life and secondly, there was really too dark for that anyway. Great memories, though!

That was the end of my visit to Universal Studios. On my way back to L.A. the freeway took me close to

Hollywood Boulevard

and I could not miss the chance to set my foot on it again, but this will be my next story.

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