Category Archives: USA

LA – Walt Disney Hall, Broad Museum and Warner Bros Studio

We had read about the Broad Museum of Contemp Art in downtown LA. Good news – it was free, bad news was only standby available and a two hour wait. I don’t do line-ups calmly (yes, even though I’m a Brit), so we decided on the spur of the moment to go and do a tour of the Walt Disney Hall next door which consists of 4 buildings and theatres and houses the LA Phil, Opera, Choral and theatre. The building is designed by Frank Gerry and is super cool – tried to show this in pics below – the tour reminded me of the Sydney Opera House tour. The building is amazing and photos don’t do it justice. This tour was free and lasted two hours – we definitely lucked out. 

Views of Walt Disney Concert Hall

Afterwards we headed back to the Broad (pronounced Brode- I only know this as heard someone else on the staff talking about it). Queue was right down by then so we got in there too – lots of Koons, Murakami (thanks to Emma D I know who this is –  see the bright cartoon style pic and the “I’m Mandy fly me” sculpture), Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein etc).  Fab place which really shows off the art with huge ceilings. 

Final day I visited Warner Bros for more serious studio tour than the more fun Universal one. Saw the original set of Friends, some super heros, facades (the one with the steps and ajar door is the one that the original TV Batman and Robin used to run up to visit Commissioner Gordon to find out he latest drama to hit Gotham that they had to solve. That scene was shown in 70 plus episodes but was only shot once:). And I don’t care what anyone says – Adam West did the spandex best!) and also some more Harry P – can one ever have enough of him?

The Broad and Warner Bros

Next stop – “Godzone” – aka New Zealand (part one) 

In which I spend a day in the land of make believe and get a photo taken with one of my idols – that will make sense mostly to my ANZ HR colleagues1

Back to being a kid for the day with a visit to Universal Studios – studio tours, gut wrenching rides (what they can do now with graphics on rides is amazing but a bit daunting when your body is doing one thing but your brain is seeing another). I fear I may be getting to the point where some of these 4D rides and my stomach are no longer in sync. I much prefer a good old roller coaster where brain and body are doing crazy things but they are real! Harry Potter’s Wizarding World was pretty fab and a primary reason for visiting. All in all a good day out notwithstanding the wobbly legs…

Jaws, Hogwarts, The Simpsons

More Hogwarts, Sherlock and a beefeater who sneezed causing this effect – it would never happen in real life!

And who did I meet that got me so excited?

Dora and Susie – fellow Explorers!

A Day in West Hollywood

Long walks around the local area – this is a treat as there are not many parts of LA that are walkable but West Hollywood is one of them. Joined Karen and some other longstanding friends of ours – Paul and Murray – and had a very enjoyable dinner at La Boheme. The pics below show our very cool hotel – the Mondrian – where we are trying our best to be cool too – and probably not succeeding too well but having fun trying.

Some images of the Mondrian Hotel and the four of us on the communal swing in the lobby!

Today Karen and I did the open top bus tour – a must just about everywhere I go and stopped off at the Farmers Market and Grove for some shopping and lunch between the sightseeing. This included a stop at American Girl – a place that my friend Leon helped me to discover some years ago on a business trip. The phenomenon of these dolls is something else and worth looking up but one of the pics below shows the place where you can leave your American Girl doll at the hair salon to have her hair set -not the mini hairdressing chairs. Awesome. 

Amidst the glam and glamour and fun (note the mirror in my room that becomes a tv (and that’s the Golden Globes we are watching right now) – there are also some sadder examples of real life as can be seen in the final pic of this montage

Life at Sea

First three days of the cruise have been at sea. Blissfully relaxing – lots to do if you want to or alternatively doing nothing but reading, binge watching TV series – I’m alternating between The White Queen and Borgen season 3. Shows and high quality music each evening and sometimes I’m invited to join other hosted tables so good way to meet people for a couple of hours. 

As you can see they do Xmas very well on board – but thankfully minus any children. Perfect. Haven’t seen even one yet! I am still getting my sea legs so walk around like a permanent drunk person – but at least I’m not alone. No nausea so far – take a table each night and working so far. Reading loads – will publish separate blog on what I’ve read as I go. Another advantage of doing very little is that your nail polish lasts a lot longer than normal – bonus points for that:) 

Catching up with friends

Have had a lovely time in Fort Lauderdale – staying with my friend Lisa and Kristen who live right by the ocean and also catching up with Beth, Maugham, Suzanne and Jerry – amazing that we are all in this location at the same time but very nice after doing a week of solitary travel. So today’s photo is all about friends – including my extra special one – the Grinch! 


And yes that is yet another portion of ribs – no judgement please. No-one can do ribs like the Americans – well that’s what I say anyway….and it would be rude not to try different variations. 

The featured picture on opening the blog is how Xmas was being celebrated on the streets of Fort Lauderdale – no boring old sleigh when you can have a souped up car instead! Am trying to get into the spirit of the festive season which those who know me well will appreciate is a huge HUGE effort.

Lisa has a golf convertible – a car I also had many years ago in Jersey – but boy how the process of opening and shutting the hood has changed – so I had to video it!

One of my friends – who shall remain nameless – thinks that once I start the cruise I should be able to introduce a “Whiff of scandal” – I will see what I can do noting that I will only have occasional access to wifi so will only be able to post once in a while and can catch up when I get to LA in January. So just in case – wishing you all a fantastic time with whatever you have planned over the next couple of weeks and all the best for 2017.

I’m now about to do my muster drill before the cruise sets sail – Gilligan’s Island here I come, now what character should I play?


                                                                                                                                                                                        My new friend – Harley (one for my dog loving friends)

I am wondering whether I can smuggle –  Harley who belongs to my lovely hosts Lisa and Kristen – onto the ship with me? He is a cutie.                                                                                                   .                                        

Historical Savannah – a step into the past

What a gorgeous town this is. Right by the River this old colonial town is just perfect for wandering about in. Luckily yesterday was warm enough to do that and after days indoors in museums it made a very pleasant change (back to freezing today but heading to Florida later where I can rely on the weather being sunny:). Savannah was originally made up of 24 squares (22 left) and you can find one at virtually every second cross street. They are quite large and usually surrounded by perfect examples of antebellum houses – many of which have been restored over the years by the “good ladies” of the town – which saved them from being pulled down so good for them. While wandering around I stumbled on a sephardic synagogue (my father’s family are sephardic) – some of the pictures below are from it. Who would have imagined that Savannah has the 3rd oldest sephardic presence in the whole of the USA. They even have a torah that is over 800 years ago sent to them by the primary sephardic synagogue in London – Bevis Marks (co-incidentally an address I once worked at when at HSBC Asset Management). Last time I came here it was all about Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil – the book and the movie – both of which are great by the way but now, 12 years later it is definitely the town of Forest Gump and here he is on my trolley bus.

Forest lives here

 I have put together a montage of pics of the historic district of Savannah to hopefully give you a feel of the charm of the place – and once again everyone is super polite to “Ms Susie”:)

Memories of Savannah, December 2016

Last morning here has been capped off with some famous beignets (really a New Orleans speciality but also eaten a lot here) and in my defense there is also a healthy glass of water in the background. A good friend of mine described them as “little pillows of pleasure” and I can’t do better than that for accuracy!

Beignets at Huey’s in Savannah