Thursday 16 January 2020

Hilton, Hercules and home

With thanks to Viking for this trip
Woken very early by a loud noise from the room next door that sounded like workmen with a grinder (they're doing refurbishments at the moment) but, since it was only 5.20am must just have been some inconsiderate early riser with a hair dryer, I started yet another long, long day. After a quick flit around the hotel to try - unsuccessfully - to discover some proper luxury that might live up to the name, I checked out and joined the others for a jaunt along the coast.
We were driven to the Getty Villa and Museum where we were given a tour. Our guide, David, was good, an English OWM who was genial and informative, and gave us a thorough tour over the museum's large and mind-bogglingly valuable collection (a Manet painting was recently bought at auction for $65 million) of art works and especially Greek and Roman statues. So, lots of marble penes (proper plural) as well as some very trim glutes, abs and biceps. 
There were lovely mosaics as well, pottery, glass and precious metal pieces, and the symmetry of the neat gardens outside was very attractive against the Roman villa architecture. The whole thing is very well presented and appealing, and, amazingly, entrance is free.
We went then to Moonshadows at Malibu for lunch: a restaurant perched above the sea with lovely views along the coast, and a series of black-backed gulls visiting to stand outside and watch us eating through the window. The food was really good, the French champagne and rosé even better, there was lots of shop talk with the UK contingent who'd joined us, and altogether it was a very pleasant way to end this brief but busy trip (for which, by the way, I bought carbon offsets).
The rest of the day was tedious travel practicalities: slow drive to the airport, a wait at a hotel, then finding my paid-for selected window seat wasn't available because Air NZ had had to change the aircraft, again. But, after a long walk and an even longer wait at Tom Bradley Airport, in a distant, echoing, hanger-like wing, at least I got my expected Premium Economy place - unlike the American party ahead of me in the queue, who were told there was no more room in Business that they'd booked and they too would have to slum it in PE, which they'd never even heard of. After last night's short duration and a long day today ahead of the late evening flight, I slept well and arrived back in Auckland pleased, having felt unexpectedly chilly the whole time I was in LA, to be presented with warm sunny weather and a smooth trip home across the Waitemata.

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