LA for a Day

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

So I spent approximately 33 hours in the city of Los Angeles, but I feel like I did a lot! All of the best trips are like that: super short, super sweet, and a lot of things accomplished. I even crossed off two of my goals for this week!

The main reason that I was in LA was because you must appear in person at the French consulate in order to apply for a long-stay visa for your studies. As I am going to be studying abroad in approximately 35 days (eek!) it was time that I applied for said visa. The process of applying for the visa took a grand total of about 20 minutes, and was only a little bit interesting. You can read more about that later on in the post.

That left me about 32.5 hours in LA to do what I wanted to do. What else would a museum lover like me do besides see some awesome museums? I know that museums are not everyone's cup of tea, so I also threw in a pedicure at an adorable little salon I read about in the New York Times, just for good measure.

I arrived in LA in the early afternoon on Monday, and went straight to my hotel, a mere 0.7 miles to the consulate, and decided to take a little bit of time to relax. Then, I headed off to the La Brea Tar Pits! 

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (or LACMA, pronounced lock-ma) 
I was only a little bit overwhelmed by LACMA. There are several different buildings, each with different types of art. I spent the most time in the Ancient Near Eastern gallery, as LACMA has a wonderful collection of Ancient Near Eastern art, from Assyria and Babylon, all those wonderful places. I took a class about Ancient Near Eastern history this past winter, and it was probably one of my favorite classes I've taken so far at DU (although I say that about most of the history classes I've taken). 

From the top of the Modern Art building, you can actually see the Hollywood sign! It's in the distance, so my photo is really zoomed in, but it was neat to see it from a different vantage point than I've seen in the past.

Page Museum
The Page Museum is in the La Brea Tar Pits area, which is exactly what it sounds like: massive tar pits. The Museum houses the archaeologists who excavate and clean the remains they find in the tar pits (hint: there are a lot of remains).

The most impressive remains were those of the mammoths that they had, as well as some of the giant ground sloths. There was also a wall of hundreds of wolf skulls that they found in the tar pits.

My favorite part was being able to see the actual lab where they clean, document, study and store the remains they find. I am fascinated with the behind-the-scenes views of museums, and I love how it was just part of the museum at the Page! 

The Getty Center
After my appointment at the Consulate on Tuesday morning, I took a taxi to the Getty Center, which is in the hills. When you arrive, you have to take a little tram from the parking lot/taxi-drop off area to the actual campus of the Getty. After the anxiety of my consulate appointment, seeing the amazing buildings of the Getty Center rising out of the hills on the tram was seriously magical.

Once you arrive at the center, there is so much you can do. I grabbed lunch at the café, and had a really yummy quesadilla with an even better view from the patio. Then I went into the museum! There are actually five main buildings that comprise the campus, and then they have the Gardens. I spent a half-hour in the Gardens, it was just so relaxing. There were some great views of the city from the Gardens as well.

The Getty Center was a little oasis in an otherwise overwhelmingly active city. The air seemed cleaner, the people happier, the atmosphere calmer. It was a wonderful few hours.

Of course, the Getty is known for its amazing collections, with highlights such as Van Gogh's Irises, which I definitely saw. I am in love with Van Gogh and Impressionism as a whole, so I was in an artistic wonderland! 

Pedicure at Olive June 
Most museums close pretty early - around 5. So that leaves me rather bored after a day full of museum love. Luckily, salons are open past that time. :) 

I love getting pedicures. I walk a lot, and so I'm hard on my feet. When I work at the history museum, I have to wear close-toed shoes so I wear my Keds sneakers, which I love, but it really takes a toll on my poor toes. Plus I had these terrible blisters on my feet from my attempt to wear a pair of nice shoes to one of my internships at the art museum on a day where I ended up running around like a crazy person (leather wedges + five flights of stairs up and down, twice = misery). 

I went to this salon I read about on the New York Times, called Olive & June in Beverly Hills and it was amazing. Not only was it beautiful on the inside, it was impeccably clean, the technician was so sweet, and let me just relax! I got a beautiful red shade on my feet, and I just got my fingernails buffed to a shine, but she filed my nails and made my hands look pretty.  

The Consulate
This part is more for my friends who are considering applying to study abroad in a program in France, or for those who are super interested in the whole process of studying abroad. If this seems boring, don't fret. You're at the end. For everyone else, read on!

The hardest part of the visit to the consulate was leading up to the actual visit to the actual consulate. They require a lot of paperwork. It was easiest to just make a list of all of the documents that I needed and then go from there and check them off one by one. You will need some documents from your program or university, so make sure that you request them with plenty of time before your appointment so you can make photocopies for both your own records and the consulate. DOUBLE AND TRIPLE CHECK EVERYTHING! It will feel absolutely awful to have to go through the whole process again just because you didn't photocopy one sheet of paper. 

The security guard got a little bit snarky, but other than that it was efficient and an overall positive experience (or as positive as anything dealing with paperwork and government can be). The man who processed my application was lovely, and I think that I have everything squared away! One step closer to France!

Good Karma
So this is actually just a story that I have that I think demonstrates the power of positivity, and the importance of being nice. 

I am incredibly type-A, and I plan everything (seriously, you should see my planner). I am usually early anywhere I go, and I prefer it that way. If I'm running late, I tend to get really anxious and feel terrible. 

I booked a Super Shuttle to get me from my hotel to LAX for my departure flight back to Denver. I booked it to pick me up in the 4:45-5:05 window, anticipating a 45 minute drive to the airport, which would leave me plenty of time to go through security and get a bite of dinner before my flight. My shuttle didn't arrive to pick me up until 5:50. Then we got caught in a major traffic jam (LA is famous for more than its movies). It was looking like I would miss the 6:35 check-in deadline for my 7:20 flight, and there would certainly not enough time to eat anything. I texted my dad from the shuttle, informing him of the situation, and did an online check-in with Frontier. I was sitting in the front seat of the shuttle, looking out of the window and panicking quietly to myself. The ladies in the back of the shuttle were some of the rudest women I've ever met. They were yelling (seriously, yelling) into their phones about how they were going to miss their flight, and how mad they were at the driver (which the driver could totally hear, he kept just shaking his head), and obnoxiously asking how close we were in regular 5 minute intervals. I was worried I would miss my flight, but there was nothing this poor driver could do to fix that. In between their outbursts, I calmly asked him how far we were, and how many airlines we had to stop at. I also asked him how his day was, trying to keep the other people from yelling at him. When we got to the airport, Frontier was one of the last airlines that we would drive by (it was in the farthest terminal), and it was a dangerous 6:30pm. 

Things then went uphill, very quickly. My driver did something incredibly nice: He drove straight to the Frontier counter. I thanked him profusely and gave him the last $3 I had in my wallet, in addition to the pre-paid tip from when I booked the shuttle. Luckily, my online check-in for Frontier from the shuttle went through, and I was able to get my boarding pass in 30 seconds flat, and I was randomly selected to go through the TSA expedited security, where I didn't have to take my shoes off or take out my laptop. Plus, there was no line. I made it through security and was at the gate, Burger King in hand, ready to board the plane by 6:40. 

I stayed kind, positive, and calm, and the universe rewarded me by taking care of me. No matter the situation, there is no reason to ever be rude to someone, and I think what happened to me was just proof of that. 

For 33 hours in a city, I feel like that is a lot accomplished! I finally applied for my visa, so that is a HUGE weight lifted off my shoulders.

What would you do if you only had 30 hours in a city? Would you spend it shopping or sight-seeing?

As always, thank you for reading.




  1. I've never been there, but it looks like a great place! Great photos.

    Happy travels!

  2. it looks like an amazing place and the pictures are great! i love van goh, so that was my favorite picture!