We were now on the home stretch and ready to be done driving! The way to LA was clogged with traffic and I was brought back to a sharp reality. Once in the Los Angeles city limits the brilliant sun was hidden by clouds. I was told later this was the “June gloom,” and that residents are thankful for it because it prolongs the cooler days of spring. We made it to the Correa’s by 8, in time to catch the second half of the Lakers game.
The next day we returned our hardworking rental car, having added almost 2,000 miles to it, and borrowed Danny’s truck to visit LA. We went first to the Disney Animation Studio to visit a friend of Josh’s from his time at Pratt. Andre met us in front of the huge magician’s hat marking the entrance to the studio. We walked across to the ABC building to eat in the cafeteria. Josh got a free meal and we ran into a CCAD student interning for the summer. After a pleasant lunch catching up, Andre showed us around his area. He was working on Tangled, Disney’s version of Rapunzel. His job was to create clothing and hair textures for the characters in 3D. It was incredible to see what he did with the blank canvas he was given. I was so impressed by the screen shots I saw of the movie in progress. I am definitely going to see this movie!
After our brief journey into the world of Disney, we drove a few blocks to another world, that of the Dream Center. The Dream Center is a non-for-profit outreach to the homeless and destitute. Located 2 miles from downtown LA, the Dream Center is housed in an old hospital which is being remodeled one floor at a time as funds allow. Every night close to 500 people sleep there. (What a contrast to Disney!) Our friend LaQuesha came from Columbus to LA to serve for a year. A unique service opportunity, the Dream Center boards volunteers to run its operations. LaQuesha is putting her CCAD education to use as a part of the graphic design team. We tagged along on a tour of the building, then ditched it to spend time with LaQuesha.
On our way back to Orange County, I couldn't help comparing LA with the natural wonder of all that we had seen on our trip. The city just seemed tired out. Beautiful in parts, warm and sunny, but everyone just seemed to be putting one foot in front of the other, tired out from the daily grind of living. Most cities are like that, I think it comes from not having enough nature around us. We forget that there is a time for everything and that we are not the ones in control.