This was the cheapest parking that we could find anywhere near the campus! Most of the parking was $60, which was a great deal if you were going to the game and were spending the day up there. We only needed our parking place for a half hour... So $40-60 was a little pricey for us... Surely we would be able to find parking elsewhere. We noticed that the Metro Line had a station right in front of the museum. Hmm, if we could find a place to park near a Metro station, we could just park and ride the Metro in! Brilliant! So we set off in search of a place to park far away from the Colosseum and near a Metro station.
When you drive 1/2 mile the neighborhood begins to look like this. There are bars on all of the windows and fences around every parking lot. It did not inspire confidence... Besides, we had now gotten just far enough away that the Metro lines were now underground, which made it impossible to know if we were getting closer to a station or further away. Jake finally decided that we'd better just go to Union Station and figure it out from there.
Getting to Union Station was a whole mess in itself. We are suburban. We are Orange County. We live literally in the heart of Disney country. We don't go up to LA unless Rachel Rizner and the Resonators are playing, so all of this was completely foreign to us. And we got LOOOOOOST!
A couple of years ago Jake got really into the Amazing Race and made me watch, like, 8 seasons of the show with him. He has been convinced that we should go on the show ever since. I always told him that I didn't want to go, because we would be the couple that would spend the whole time bickering in the car over where to go, and that somehow they would edit the bickering to make me look whiney and mean. Well, I can say for certain now that when we do get that opportunity, absolutely we will bicker in the car because I hate the way he drives, but it will be HILARIOUS because it never got mean. And we found French General, which we never would have found if we hadn't gotten all turned around and lost.
I wish I could have taken a picture of the inside. It was like Willy Wonka's Craft Shop filled with everything beautiful in the world. Go check it out online! It wasn't even open, but the lady who owns it let me poke my head inside to see. Ah, it was like craft heaven. I will totally be back!!
At least from here we were able to put in directions to get from French General to Union Station into Google Maps. It lead us through the winding hills around Dodger Stadium and over a freeway so that we could finally see the train station in the distance. Our circuitous route also lead us through Chinatown! I wish I could have captured the yummy smells in a picture, but you'll just have to take my word for it!
We got an awesome parking spot in the structure under Union Station right next to the elevator! Jake discovered that he had left his phone in the car, so we got to ride in this elevator 3 times! Apparently on Saturdays the elevator doesn't go down to the parking structure without a security badge, so we had to ask a very nice security guard to let us go back down to our car. Of course, that should have been our clue to move it to another lot, but who was thinking that clearly at that point? We just wanted to get on the subway!
We knew that we were going to have to transfer lines, so rather than guess how many trips we'd need, we got Tap cards with all day passes on them. The machine made change with $1 coins, so it felt like we'd won a huge Vegas payout! Sacagawea Score!
Now that we had our Tap cards we could finally head back to the museum. And it only took 2 hours! Yippee!
Jake and I were on the party train headed back to USC. It was CROWDED!
I happened to be wearing the right colors, so we fit right in! We got to hang with the tailgaters! And that security guy was cool, he wasn't giving me the stink eye. Besides, how can you be mad when the party right beside us is blasting Gangnam Style?! It's impossible.
The museum was (not surprisingly) very quiet and empty. There were no cameras allowed inside, so I don't have any pictures to show you. The piece (La Lutxona, 2007) by Blanka Amezkua that I was hoping to see was there, along with a second piece (What in the World, 2007), so I feel like it was worth the trip. Of course I wished that there was more crochet incorporated into the art, but the crochet on those two pieces was beautiful. I felt like it added to the tone of the art, and was hip and kitchy at the same time, which I think was the vibe the artist was really going for. And it was really inspiring. It had never occurred to me to use crochet in that way, but now I'm going to have to add some crochet borders to my next art pieces. I mean, why wouldn't I??! If you're interested in checking them out, the exhibit A Complex Weave: Women and Identity in Contemporary Art will be on display until December 1, 2012. It is being displayed with The Sota Project which is an immersive multi-layered video installation that reenacts a controversial text from the Talmud.
Want to know what the best part about the whole day was? As I left, one of the women who was there to answer questions asked me if I was there for a class. And I got to say YES!!! I looked like a student and I AM a student! ...you know, just not at USC... LOL!!!
At this point it was nearly 2 and Jake and I were starving. We didn't really want in on the tailgate food that was available everywhere, but we did hit a Starbucks which made both of us feel a ton better. Recently I've had some digestive issues (eww, sorry!) that have made me avoid wheat in an effort to keep the sharp stomach pains at bay (no zingers, no cookies, no world famous brownies), so all of the actual food in Starbucks was inedible, but an iced coffee drink hit the spot. We hiked our booties down about a block and a half to the Metro Station across from Staples Center and headed back to our car!
Public transportation rocks! Even with our ice-blended goodness, we spent less than $30 on our day adventure, which still comes in under the $40 parking option. We had to get a 2nd security guard to let us out back down to our car, and we paid the parking attendant the $6 fee in Sacagawea coins. He told us that they get a LOT of $1 coins back...
We didn't get home until nearly 4 (about 6 hours after we left, which is 4 hours longer than we had planned!), but we had such a great time. It was like a mini-vacation! In fact, now that we know what we're doing, we're planning to do it again next month so that we can take Mims to the California Science Center (she's obsessed with mummies right now, and they have a Cleopatra exhibit) and also to the Natural History Museum (she also wants to see the dinosaur bones).