what you will about Southern California - crowds and freeways,
Hollywood and actors, cars and smog, plus fires, landslides,
and earthquakes - it is still one of the most vibrant and
exciting places to live.
sure, some of the 'hype' about the Los Angeles area is true.
The kooky entertainment industry is centered here. The freeways
are congested most of the time. And sure, for the 34 years
I've called Southern California home, we've been bracing
ourselves to shake so hard we fall into the ocean.
other hand, it's February, and while a good percentage of
the country is freezing, it's been mostly 75 degrees and
sunny here. We drive to the ocean or the mountains in about
an hour. We head to the Disneyland Resort in 45 minutes.
And we also have access to one of the newest, most beautiful,
and most impressive structures I've ever seen in Southern
California -- Getty Center.
Getty Center opened in 1997 to great fanfare and great crowds.
It became the must-see attraction. And why not? 16 years
in the making, at a cost of one billion dollars, situated
alongside one of LA's busiest freeways, atop one of the
most looked upon mountains in the area, the Getty generated
buzz, interest and word-of-mouth like no movie studio could
ever hope for. With a true Hollywood ending.
The Getty has been constructed on what must have been the
last great chunk of land not owned by Bob Hope -- overlooking
the tony communities of Brentwood, Bel Air and Pacific Palisades.
And while parts the structures can be seen while driving
by on the 405 Freeway, the view from below only provides
a hint of the sprawling, expansive feel of this complex
once you actually get there.
for the very first time on Sunday, and I feel like my mouth
is still hanging open. It is a large, beautiful, accessible,
and friendly campus - and considering we only walked into
two museum galleries, that really is saying something.
and I don't use this word often - spectacular.