Tuesday, August 26, 2008


We spent five days in the last week traveling to southern California. After reading my knitting friend Fae's travel blog when she went to Portland and London, I was very motivated to log in my trip report every day, even brought along my laptop and the UBS cable for my camera. Alas, I spent way more time in front of the TV than the computer, watching Olympics and knitting (more on that later when I have a chance to take pictures of my knitting). Now you get to see the trip in one big report. Bower's Museum, Santa Ana One of the only three locations in the US to host the largest exhibit of the Chinese terra cotta warriors outside of China. More than 20 full size original terra cotta warrior statues and many more artifacts from the time period, about 200BC. I didn't have a chance to see them in China, so this was very exciting for me as well as my American family. We were told that this exhibit is better than the original in Xi'an because we get to see the statues up close, but I think in Xi'an you'd get the full scope much better when thousand of them standing under one roof. Bowers Museum also has a great collection of Chinese arts in its permanent exhibits, so I had the chance to introduce my guys to brush painting, calligraphy and porcelains. Had an interesting conversation with a museum worker about the historical development of the core Chinese culture. The Gamble House, Pasadena Winter home for David and Mary Gamble of the Procter and Gamble Company (and Mary's sister, who spent more time in the house than anyone else). Designed by Charles and Henry Greene, the house and its furnishings are excellent examples of Arts and Crafts movement. The rich dark woods hand crafted into various parts of the home a hundred years ago, still glow with superb workmanship.

La Brea Tar Pits

In downtown Los Angeles, mammoth and other assorted animals trapped in the tar pits in ice age. Now people dig out the bones and put them back together, after the tedious work of cleaning off the tar. There were couple of videos to show how everything came about. A large enclosed glass room (Fish bowl) where you can watch the workers clean and sort the bones. Great place for a school field trip, if you can stand the smell.

Venice Beach

My guys found this place to play basketball on the beach, were able to join a game, and won! I took a walk down the beach, shopped (think all the weirdoes from Telegraph Ave. packed into Santa Cruz boardwalk), and generally enjoyed myself.


Henry and I love the Lego sculptures in Miniland. We saw New York and Las Vegas, which were both under maintenance when we were there two years ago. Sadly, I think Henry has outgrown Legoland. This is the only amusement park I ever enjoyed.

Bill took a vacation from our vacation and went for a bike ride down the coast. Sounds lovely, doesn't it?

Asian Art Museum, San Francisco

Day trip after we got back home. Special exhibit about Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). More painting, calligraphy and loads of porcelains. Small mention of history of Beijing and Forbidden City was nice.

Besides China, the exhibit about Southeast Asian arts is a must see.


Fae said...

It's good to see a report of your travels. Writing after you get home works too!

Jennifer said...

Looks like a great trip. I have to admit, I've never made it out to CA but am looking forward to a conference out there next summer. Hubs and I will have to make it into an extended vacation for sure.

I would *love* to see the terra cotta warriors. That must have been amazing.

A few weekends ago DH and I went to the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA. They have a full-size Chinese house - the Yin Yu Tang House - that was brought over piece by piece and reconstructed outside the museum. (See it here: http://www.pem.org/yinyutang/)Absolutely incredible to walk through it.

And man, Lego land - I don't think anyone in my house will EVER outgrow that. I for one am **totally** jealous.

Enjoy the relative calm of back-to-school, while it lasts...

Sonya said...

Too old for Legoland?? We would love to go there some day. Sounds like the perfect vacation, beach, museums and art.

zelda said...

Great tour. Thanks for posting this. Here's hoping my 8-yo isn't too old for Legoland yet.

Lesley said...

How did I miss this post? What a great trip you had. I have never been to any of these places (except Legoland when Andrew was 8 months). I'm putting the Gamble House on my list of 'must-sees.'