Posted by Gillian

Grand Canyon Delights

Sunrise at the Grand Canyon Over the years on our travels we’ve (not) seen many iconic spots in less than perfect conditions. Scrabbling slippery steps on The Great Wall of China in a thunderstorm; sitting on a beach for three days in thick fog in Sirmione; tramping Fez in pouring rain for four days… Privileged … Continue reading

Racing Arizona

So is this the Real America? In my mediated view of America through cinema and literature, I’ve got loads of wildly different ‘Americas’ in my head but over the last thirty years I’ve only experienced urban US. The big East coast and West coast cities, with Chicago and New Orleans and Florida thrown in to … Continue reading

A Soviet Sub in San Diego

USS Midway The most exciting bit amongst many exciting bits of being in San Diego was climbing into a real Soviet submarine in the Maritime Museum. I took hundreds of photos and luckily for everyone am not going to post them all. It seemed my excitement and awe was a generational thing though. I was … Continue reading

Honey Boo Boo v. Infomercials

R didn’t do justice yesterday to what we now realise are known as Infomercials: those half hour advertising programmes as gripping as any soap. We have now clocked up hours of infomercials on the tv screen in each hotel we’ve stayed in, and since we’ve not spent hours in the rooms, it must mean the … Continue reading

Hola La Jolla

La Jolla beach After a final pineapple juice-soaked carb-high session of late night poker, we left Surf City on a high note and headed still farther south to San Diego via La Jolla. We couldn’t miss La Jolla since a close friend spent a couple of expat years there with his family after considerable extensive … Continue reading

Surf City

We have landed in Huntington Beach. Aka Surf City. Immediately on arrival we abandoned the Chevy with all its air-conditioned comforts for an afternoon scrabbling on miniature towels on the beach. This is a bigger deal than it sounds. We Kempners don’t do beaches very well. Well, we like the idea of them as an … Continue reading

A Spiritual Side to Beverly Hills

The Caffe del Arte, Beverly Hills There are a couple of tried-and-tested ways to get under the skin of a place when you have relatively limited time available. Our favoured approach is to do all the stuff we do at home as much as possible: except do it in the unfamiliar/exotic location. A good starting … Continue reading

Architectural Arrogance

I knew there was a very good reason to not read guidebooks. I knew it. Because they tell you as much about what you don’t want to know as what you do. We decided to brunch it in downtown LA today. I was flushed with success at navigating back from Warner Studios yesterday at rush … Continue reading

Street Walking Beverly Hills

The only pedestrians down and out in BH mid-morning were of the Kempner variety Couldn’t see the seven dwarves anywhere The only jogger in town at that hour I’m very non-discriminatory in my obsessive interest in suburban edgelands. An ultra-wealthy enclave is just as worthy of close examination as a light industrial estate or the … Continue reading

Advice for Travellers on Viewing LA at Night

1. Get proper directions to Mulholland Drive, not half-baked instructions from a helpful Italian waiter. 2. Or get a decent map/street plan. 3. Travel in any vehicle substantially smaller than a Suburban Chevrolet. 4. Do not miss turning for Mulholland Drive and think you can then easily escape the slip road to the Highway. 5. … Continue reading