Thursday, 3 November 2011

Reunion with family

Feeding Time
After what seemed like a long and unfortunately delayed flight, we finally arrived back in LA. Immediately Ian was driving around like he lived here, and when we got to their larger two-bedroomed apartment, we were met by Lizzy and Andrew and a bemused little Lily. She didn't cry, as we feared, but spent a long time weighing us up, with a serious little expression! She continued to do this in the days to come, but gradually got used to us, laughing and smiling, especially when we imitated her blowing raspberries, or "singing".

Never too young to start!
The next few days we spent getting to know our granddaughter, and spending time with Lizzy, whilst Andrew was at work. We had a cycle in the Santa Monica Hills, and jogged around Balboa Park, went up to Babies R Us, and bought a Xmas present for Lily- a walk-behind dinosaur, that later converts to a trike. With flashing lights and songs when she pushes buttons, this proved to be a hit. Earlier Lizzy had bought a terrific wooden toy, with a myriad of push, pull, twist, bang, bits that Lily found fascinating, so she had plenty of things to explore with little fingers and big movements!

P***ed already!
She is adorable, but I've forgotten how tiring babies are, and so four days later we were ready to relax for a few days in Palm Springs, our favourite place in the desert. We love it there. The light, the sunshine, the stark landscape and the great food. First night, starving, we went to La Cazuela for brilliant Mexican food. Great Chinese food at Mings, and tried a new place for us- Tootsies. Have to say here that the pulled pork Texas Tacos were amazing, so much so we went for lunch the following day. Superb!
Isn't she sweet?
Cactus Trail Santa Rosa Mts
Not bad for a budget hotel.
We're staying in an inexpensive Holiday Inn Express in Cathedral City, which is a great place to stay, with great breakfasts and very friendly staff. We did a couple of four to five hour walks, from the tramway station to the summit of Mt Jacinto, and an even more interesting walk into the wilderness of the Santa Rosa mountains. The latter was fascinating for flora, cacti, prickly pear, beavers tail, chollas, ocotillo, to name but a fraction, and fabulous yuccas with towering flower spikes. Up and down through gullies and washes, to spots with amazing names like Horsethief Creek, where there are the remains of a manzanilla wood chaparral, where the cowboys used to corral the horses, and then on to Cactus Spring. A very tiring but interesting walk, which we've made a note to do in the Spring when the cacti will be in flower. Walking up the wash, you half expect to come across a cowboy on horseback, or a Cahuilla Indian, who were the original people of this area. It might look like a desolate desert but it's teeming with plant life, and near the creeks, with still had running water in them at the end of Summer, you can see brightly coloured blue winged birds.
Spitting image of who?

We're off to Wangs in the Desert tonight, which does beautiful Chinese food in beautiful surroundings, and then back to the family tomorrow. We stay with them for three nights and then off to Santa Barbara for four nights. Looking forward to squeezing Lily again.

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