Monday, June 05, 2006

minutes away.

to get to los angeles from guambat isle, i left on saturday morning, hopped on an aeroplane that took me to honolulu--seven hour flight, plus a three hour layover in one of the coolest airports evah--then i sat through another four and a half hour flight to los angeles in the evening, which put me into LAX at um, five am, but the day before, which means i arrived one hour before i left.


and so appropriate for the city of lost angels, the land of la, lala land; it's all good. it's as shallow as everyone says it is, yet it runs deeper than the san andreas' fault. no matter how far, how fast you go forward, you always somehow manage to go backwards, although if you are lucky, maybe you just go back--back into time, whether it's the city's or your own. back when you felt safe, or when los angeles felt safe. but of course, if you do, are you really? and was it ever? people come here to pursue a dream, as the dream exists as reality here. you just have to find it.

so here i am, not exactly pursuing a dream, but rather, happily skipping through one. it's not exactly meant to go anywhere, but hopefully takes me to someplace different, even though it's always somewhat familiar. what's nice about los angeles is the dream:reality distance is not particularly far.

case in point: franklin canyon, a mere ten minute journey from the heart of eurotrashy champagne wishes and caviar dreams, rodeo drive. high above the stink of bijan, paris hilton-wannabees (and paris hilton-unfortunatelyis), and the blinding bling-bling, lies 605 acres of woodland and chapparels in the geographic center of los angeles between beverly hills and the san fernando valley. not a palm tree nor celebutante in sight. after a rawther hollywood morning of egg white-only omelettes with vegan cheese and turkey bacon (somehow in los angeles, if you are a vegetarian, bacon doesn't count as meat) consumed poolside (okay, koi-pondside) in the hollywood hills, and feeling rather glamoo, i thought i would commune with nature and head into the canyon.

franklin canyon reservoir 1

gorgeous, and so not like what you'd imagine la to look like (but it does, sometimes, some places). sycamores and oaks tower over the dense grasslands and sprawl of wildflowers, wood and mandarin ducks swim contentedly on the reservoir and splash along in the delightfully named heavenly pond. i can't be sure, but the ponds look like they are filled with suspiciously asian-origined fish, steely grey skinks scuttle past, and please ignore the fact that it is rattlesnake season (just avoid the tall, dry grass). holla, owl! there are trails that lead up the mountains to the summit of breathtaking views of beverly hills, century city and beyond; you can walk down through the brush to the banks of reservoir, which nature has happily reclaimed.

even though it is the epitome of rustic idyll, the canyon's history (and particularly the reservoir) is tied to the intrigue of the california water wars and the surrounding controversy upon which the city is built, both literally and figuratively (see "chinatown". no really, it's great.). in 1914, william mulholland, water engineer and undoubtedly an architect of City As Is (hear frank black. no really, he's great.) and the DWP (department of water and power) constructed two reservoirs in the canyon as a part of a vast water delivery system to bring water in from over the valley into the city of los angeles, which was (is) basically a desert by the sea. later, the works progress administration (WPA) built a flood control dam along with a series of culverts and walls in the upper reservoir to help prevent erosion and surface contamination. however, by the seventies, the two reservoirs were deemed unsafe, and restructured into one larger containment system in the lower portion that remained in operation until the eighties, when it was--with the help of many private individuals and environmental organizations--deemed a conservation center and public park, and effectively 'turned back' to nature.

franklin canyon reservoir wpa

oh hoo ha, listen to me, like i really know what was going on. this site has the best history of the reservoir/lake i've read so far if you want the full story. i do know that the title sequence of "the andy griffith show" was filmed there, along with episodes of the original "star trek", "bonanza", and claudette colbert's hitchhiking scene in "it happened one night".

franklin canyon reservoir

so here i am, making my way to the water's edge. c'mon along.

franklin canyon
2600 franklin canyon drive,
beverly hills.


Evil Jonny said...

Welcome back to the mainland, guavagirl. Please promise you'll go to Noodles restaurant in the Bellagio if you're headed to Vegas again. :-) And, if you should pass through Palm Springs, drop me a little e-ringie? I'll fill you in on the two or three restaurants in town worth visiting.

-- your culinary partner in crime

Reid said...

ARGH. I could have brought you some oxtail soup!

Santos said...

hi jonny! i would love to take you out to dinner if i make it out there. i'll definitely let you know! and yes, if i make it to vegas, i will pledge to the evil jungle prince to go to noodles.

reid--next time!

Acme Instant Food said...

Welcome (again) Santos to La La Land. I love this post on the area--you found just the perfect words. My partner and I were so very lucky to move into the hills very close to where you are writing about. It's almost surreal having the great Hollywood views on one side(right over your shot of the Best Western H.Hills actually) and green canyon on the other side. There are TONS of new restaurants that have opened recently in Hollywood. Things here are changing fast so keep your eyes open for new tasty delights.

Santos said...

oh mister aif, you are truly blessed to live in such surroundings. i envy you with my entire green banana being, but do not hold it against you :)