Mammoths, Maniacs and Money

Mammoth - La Brea Tar Pits

Our second day in Los Angeles was filled with more traffic, as we set out towards to Ontario Outlet Mall. I honestly think everyone in the Los Angeles area and the surrounding vicinity must have woken up on Sunday morning and said – Wouldn’t be a fabulous idea to go out to the Ontario Factory Outlet Mall to do a bit of school clothes shopping? The place was packed, and I was fit to be tied. I hate shopping, I truly do. I would rather have hair pulled strand by strand from my scalp than have to go into a mall. My boys and my husband found everything they needed before I completely lost my mind and started flailing at people that got in my way.

Then back into more traffic. Thing is, when I looked at the face of the drivers in the other cars, nobody seemed to be the least bit put out by the fact that travelling a matter of one mile could take up to 20 minutes. I’m the only one that seemed bothered by it.

We had planned to go to high tea, but that fell apart because the person planning this entire trip didn’t bother to check and see if high tea was served daily(umm, that would me). I did discover The Hotel Bel-Air put on a high tea, but I wasn’t willing to spend the $60 a person, nor did I think they would be thrilled to let a scruffy person like myself into such a fancy place.

We did, however, go to Rodeo Drive. On the way there, while surprisingly stuck in traffic (again), we watched a most interesting man wandering through the gridlock, talking, carrying on and waving some kind of sign upside down. Nobody was even slightly taken aback by this demonstration of insanity or drug impairment, as they sat in their Bentleys, Mercedes, BMWs and other high-end not made in America cars. The thing that boggled my mind the most, was that less than a block away was one of the most exclusive shopping centers in the United States. The contrast between this poor gesticulating man and what we drove up to less than 10 minutes later was quite unsettling.Gold mercedes

The boys were rather intimidated by the stores on Rodeo drive and absolutely refused to go into any of the shops. I finally convinced my oldest to go into Louis Vuitton where we struck up a most interesting conversation with one of the ladies that worked in the store. I basically told her I couldn’t afford a thing in the store, not even a pair of socks or a handkerchief, which I am sure she had already figured out. But funnily enough, that statement of honesty seemed to break the ice and she told us tales of billionaires coming in and plunking down $50,000 for their “girlfriends”. She also showed us the $147,000 punching bag in the signature dark brown leather with LVs all over it. Louis VuittonWhy would anyone want to spend that kind of money on something just so they could beat the crap out of it? Money is a funny thing. Most of us are so broke we don’t have a pot to piss in, while the rich are searching for ways to piss all their money away. Go figure.

Because our high tea plans disintegrated around us we had to come up with something else to do. I decided I really wanted to go see the La Brea Tar Pits. This is a most fascinating place right on Wilshire Boulevard. It is an active excavation site where they have uncovered prehistoric fossils such as Sabre Tooth Tigers, Dire Wolves and Mammoths. There are multiple tar pits, with little bubbles forming on the surface, shimmering in the sun and then bursting. It’s crazy that this type of thing can be found smack dab in the middle of Los Angeles. LBTP_LakePit_T2_L2_Circuit_FINAL_NO_icons_1200It makes you wonder what else is bubbling under the surface. As we were leaving my husband cheerfully advised me, the La Brea tar pits are predicted to be at the epicenter of the next big earthquake. I think to myself – Now he tells me.

The day was filled with stark contrasts and interesting photo opportunities.  In the elevator on our way up to our hotel room we met three middle-aged men who were conversing in French.  It’s a lovely language to listen to.  I figured they were business men, or tourists on holiday in Los Angeles to visit the sights.  The next morning much to my surprise, those same men , along with a large number of other French speaking individuals, were totally outfitted in motorcycle gang get-ups, preparing to leave on their Harleys.  It was a puzzling sight, as are many of the sights in Los Angeles.

French Motorcycle Gangs

36 replies »

  1. What a shame you missed your high tea, though I’m not sure growing boys appreciate cucumber sandwiches and tiny cakes given fast food options now. It sounds as though it was a pleasant time if a bit frustrating. I actually love shopping but I’d have hated the crowds there.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx.

    • Last year I took them to high tea on the Queen Mary and they thought it was going to be “totally stupid”, but they thoroughly enjoyed themselves and was looking forward to it again.
      Maybe it is all the people that drive me crazy when shopping – or the fact that the changing room mirrors are completely unforgiving.

  2. Wow, that’s some kinda money to drop on a punching bag! I don’t understand dropping $200 on a purse the way some of my friends do, let alone that. And I’m soooo with you on malls. Thank god for online shopping.

    • Absolutely. Can’t stand malls, can’t stand shopping – if I need something online is definitely the way to go. I don’t even own any purses, seems like too big a waste of money – just carry a wallet. If you carry a purse , you end up lugging around stuff you don’t really need, and everyone else puts their junk in your purse and then you feel like a pack mule, or at least I do.

  3. You know that Paris has a lot of shopping tourists? Especially from China, they spend millions just to save a bit (detax and playing the exchange rate).
    Most people I. The sector will open up to you if you are honest (they probably cannot buy what they sell either), they the are sure they can’t sell to you, but you make their day with a great conversation which they won’t have with their clients… (Many millionaires apparently don’t look like it, I guess next to some of them you even pass as well dressed).
    I once tried some gorgeous diamond rings at De Beers and we told them that we cannot afford them, they didn’t mind, even proposed champagne and said that maybe in a few years we’ll come back and be able to afford their products.

      • Hi Solveig!!! No these were the fake mammoths coming out of the tar pits. I wish we could have gone to the zoo. I can’t say I have ever been to the one in LA. My favorite by far is the San Diego zoo, I love that zoo!!!!

    • That’s really nice. I don’t know if you ever saw that movie “Pretty Woman” with Julia Roberts. She goes down into Rodeo drive and they treat her awfully, but when she came back all fancy with beautiful clothes on they were fawning all over her.
      When I was in Paris we went shopping, but most of the stuff I saw wasn’t really anything one would use or wear as an average, normal person doing average normal things. Not really practical stuff, but definitely beautiful.

      • I have seen pretty woman a few times, they do snob her rather badly. But maybe it’s because she is dressed in a way that reflects her profession.
        I think here they are now used to that some people have piles of cash but don’t look like they do. And if it’s young people, then you never know where they’ll be financially in the future. Ok there are many shops where you can get snobed at, but then I have the feeling they are not real luxury…

      • That’s true – I forgot what she did for a living before she met Richard Gere’s character. I think the thing that fascinated me about Paris so much, was how elegant everyone looked, made feel like I was quite slovenly in my attire.

  4. We always think that when we are in the States, a visit to the outlet malls is a must. In comparison to the UK, clothes are remarkably cheap.
    Last summer, as a joke, I told a young work colleague that he should take his new fiancee to do some shopping in Harrods, the famous (infamous?) store in London. In December, he took her there to do some Christmas shopping. They also went to look at the LV bags. He asked the assistant how much the bags started from. She said £650. He went a bit pale. He then asked how much LV scarves were and was told they started at £290. His next question was “Where’s the toilet?” He sat in the toilet for a good half hour having a quiet cry! In the end, because he felt caught between a rock and a hard place and also because he loved her dearly, he got her a bag as her Christmas present. It would have been cheaper to fly to Hong Kong and buy a fake one. Boy did he bend my ear when I next saw him.
    I hope you are having a fantastic time. It certainly sounds like it despite missing out on tea.

    • I know, I didn’t see anything under about $450.00 in the store. The lady that works there said this one billionaire came in and was buying stuff for his regional girlfriend, after he had just bought her a brand spanking new Mercedes, but she was financially independent herself and ended up returning all of it, which really made the billionaire mad. Good thing I don’t have any money, seems like a real hassle.
      How’s the nettle slug sludge coming?

  5. Ah. The slug deterrent. I have been sabotaged again. I’ll be writing a post about it shortly. The liquor hasn’t been poured away so all is not lost. I will reveal all soon.

  6. My several trips to LA, the hometown of my dear wife Karen, have endlessly fascinated me, SD. The uber and the under belly walk side by side, like so many big cities, but even the great unwashed seemed happier to me because of the great weather. Karen’s last link, Aunt Pauline, has passed, bless her, so I don’t know when we’ll go out there again. We didn’t do Rodeo Drive or High Tea, anywhere. We stayed at a little Motel Six in the valley, near Aunt Pauline’s house in Van Nuys, to keep the price down. I did love the Farmer’s Market, and we got into a taping of ‘The Price Is Right’ when Bob Barker was still host!

    • How funny – me and my friend went to an Arsenio Hall taping ages ago – the sets seem so much smaller in life. At one point in my youngest’s life – he wanted to be an actor. In fact both kids tried out for a spot on Nickelodeons “Brain Drain” (I think that was what it was called, my youngest was selected. So we got to see the inner workings of Hollywood – I sat in a green room for hours with child actors mothers – all talking about auditions and agents – you talk about the underbelly of LA – it is the entertainment industry. I am so glad he got past that phase in his life.

  7. This was fun to read. Sorry to laugh so hard at your frustration. Ha! I guess it’s because I’ve been known to get the same way, so it’s relateable. I have a few comments on it.

    1) It’s cool that you noticed the contrasts. I like observing such things. People-watching has become a thing of the past with faces drowning in cell phones.

    2) The traffic thing happened to me last weekend. I already drafted a post about it, scheduled to go up on Tuesday. Ha. I’m glad I’m not the only one who complains about it.

    3) About the Harley riders … haven’t you ever seen the rich preppies who think their cool and get Harley’s? They want to appear bad ass, but somehow they just look silly.

    Well, you can’t say that your trip has been boring. 🙂

    • How funny – I was just about to read one of your posts and there you are, appearing in my comment thingy. My brother is a Harley rider, or used to be, I am sure he would have some choice things to say (like “posers”). Our trip certainly was not boring, and we had a super time!!! Now I am going back to your blog. See you in a minute!!!!

  8. You got a up front experience with what this term “income equality” is all about that so many are talking of now.

    My husband and I were once stuck in Los Angeles traffic on Thanksgiving Day. It was just so awful I have always since been mindful to give it wide berth when we travel.

    Great post by the way.

    • Thank-you. Los Angeles is not one of my favorite places, because it is filled with traffic and such stark contrasts, neither of which seems to bother anyone that lives there.

  9. I don’t have the courage to go into a store like Louis Vuitton, I’m afraid. I worry that the staff may notice I’m an eccentric billionaire and start nagging me to buy things. Despite my vast secret wealth, I would never get a Louis Vuitton punchbag. My apartment’s full of the stupid things already.

    • Yes, I can’t imagine wasting that kind of money of something like that. If I became super rich, I would probably be so scared that I would become poor again, I wouldn’t spend any of the money. I would just horde it, become a hermit and not shower routinely. And people would say : She’s loaded, but completely off her rocker – and they would leave me alone (because I would be slightly ripe-smelling).

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