Category Archives: Life in California

California Beaches – No alcohol and, please, don’t go topless!

Andere Länder – andere Sitten 

It’s summer and since we are staying here in California this year instead of visiting Germany, we decided to make it a California vacation. Let’s enjoy what California is known for! Beautiful weather and endless beaches right in front of our doorsteps.

Apparently the Germans’ favorite way to enjoy the sun in the summer is nude or at least topless. While this argument can be wildly disputed, free-body-culture loving Germans beware!

One of the first things I was told as a teenager when visiting our friends in Los Angeles and Orange County was, “Never sunbathe topless on the beach! It’s illegal here in California.”

Surprised, I just took notice of this warning, but I didn’t dwell much on it. I didn’t really care. Besides, I liked all the bright and colorful California bathing suits, so this wasn’t much of an issue for me.

But what if you really enjoyed summer most without clothes! Where to go in California? What to do if you just want to strip off all your clothes and jump into the water the way nature has made you…?

Well, there are actually a few beaches in California that do allow you to enjoy the FKK -Freikörperkultur (Free Body Culture); however none of them are in L.A. County or Orange County!

Click for a list here.

You lose with booze

Now, the other day when we went to the beach, I was surprised to have a police patrol roaming the beach and stop … Gasp!…, almost in front of us. A few people over to our right the police came to a stop, and all eyes were on that family the police started talking to. Confused many beachgoers tried to figure out what was going on as one man of the group had to show his I.D. After the police took hold of a few containers it dawned on us… alcohol. Oh, yes, I remember this now, too! No alcohol at the beach!  Unless you want to be the next attraction…

But you can find some exceptions also here, of course. Check out this link to find some places, where you can sip your prosecco in style and watch the sunset while relaxing in the sand.

Cheers!

Images:  ©CaliforniaGermans

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Old Masters, Modern or Contemporary Art – Visit LACMA for Free

Old Masters, Modern or Contemporary Art – You can have it all at LACMA

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Nothing is more refreshing on a scorching hot summer day than walking the air-conditioned aisles of LACMA!

Well, …nothing except for cooling off at the beach perhaps.

But, hey, you can’t let the beach monopolize you, right? There is so much more to do and see in LA! Like visiting the Los Angeles County Museum of Art – LACMA, the western United States’ largest art museum.  

And….LACMA is making it sooo easy for you to visit! Especially if you have children.

LACMA has a special membership program for children called NexGen. My kids have been members ever since this program existed. It makes visiting LACMA a fun and enjoyable family outing, that doesn’t overstretch your budget, because … it’s FREE!

Every child 17 years and younger can become a member ! You just sign up at the museum or online. Your kids are then presented with a cool orange lanyard that allows them free entry every time they visit. Plus they can invite one adult guest for free as well! So, guess what? You, as the parent can enjoy LACMA for free, too? 

Still missing the beach? …Because, it’s just a must during summer? Well, with the NexGen membership it’s easy to divide the day and do both in a day! After all, this awesome  kids’ membership makes it possible for you and your child to visit the main galleries and all temporary exhibitions any day, any time, all year! So it doesn’t matter if you stay for 2 hours or 5.

Give your mind and soul a well-deserved break from the fast-paced life around you. I tell you, it’s relaxing and invigorating at the same time to walk LACMA’s various galleries. And, you will be amazed how much children actually like it as well. Check out the modern and contemporary art galleries to visit the oversized billiard pool set, blown-out-of-proportion- comb, and ask your child what he thinks of a Pollock painting! Kids especially enjoy the installation of Chris Burden’s Metropolis II.

We often start out at LACMA by roaming the galleries to our heart’s content and then stop by the museum’s store. It used to be an all time favorite for my children, and even now with only our youngest one in tow it hasn’t lost much of its attraction. You can always find something there that is cool, inspire or else. Sometimes it’s just something small like an all graphite pencil, which turned out to be a hit at my son’s school a few years ago.

Occasionally we stay for lunch or a light snack at the museum’s restaurant, bar or cafeteria before we hit the road to the beach in the summer. 

If you do it the other way around and visit the beach first, then you might catch some of LACMA’s cool outdoor summer concerts later in the afternoon; or choose to attend a talk at the museum’s theater. LACMA is not only about art and design. It’s an overall cultural experience !

I have to say for us the “LACMA outing” has never been boring. Ever! We always find new things to look at, new installations to marvel at, and discover new art installed in some of the galleries; galleries, that we thought we knew already inside out. 


Images: “Art At LACMA” ©CaliforniaGermans


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Body Worlds: PULSE – Getting to Know Your Body Inside Out

 

Gunther von hagens’ Body Worlds: ‘Pulse’ – Getting to Know Your Body Inside Out

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Feeling somewhat uneasy we were standing in front of the California Science Center recently, ready to enter Gunther von Hagens’ Body Worlds exhibition “PULSE”. We have prepared ourselves well and read almost anything available out there about the show, about Gunther von Hagens, his plastination process and about the process of putting the show together here at the CaliforniaScienceCenter.

Since we had our teenage son with us we wanted to make sure that he as well as us completely understood what we were about to experience. My husband in fact was very hesitant at first about bringing him along since the show’s displays contain bodies of deceased humans that went through Gunther von Hagens invented preservation process called plastination.

All our worries however were put to rest very quickly upon entering this amazing show.

Gunther von Hagen’s Body Worlds PULSE – an incredible journey through your body

Right at the beginning of the show you are greeted by a movie that totally hit home with us.It demonstrates how our busy lives have a profound effect on the quality of our lives, making us receptive to all kinds of modern diseases: high blood pressure, obesity, depression, you name it. Too much stimulation and an overload of information that we modern human beings are constantly exposed to puts our modern life under a lot of stress and finally at risk. The speed that forces us to do more, better and faster becomes increasingly more inhuman.

This movie is the preamble to a rewarding show that explains in detail what is essential for us to keep our bodies healthy and functional.  Ultimately it encourages us to think about how we can develop a healthier pace of life for ourselves.

Impressive displays, exceptional information and in-depth videos guide you along the journey through your body.

The entrance to the various displays starts with one of Gunther von Hagens plastinated bodies holding his skin folded over his arm like an overcoat. Info boards teach you about the skin being our heaviest and largest organ that has vital functions. Next the visitor learns about the skeleton and sees first hand how fractures, implants and prostheses look like. As you move along “through the body” you’ll learn about the central nervous system and see stunning displays.

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In one von Hagen isolated a whole body’s central and peripheral nervous system and instead of a traditional skeleton one sees a “skeleton of nerves”. Amazing!

The various muscles in our bodies are a topic of one section, other sections are dedicated to each of our organs, to nutrition and to the demonstration of what certain diseases do to our body. From heart to intestines to liver and lung and more… you get to know your body inside out!

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A big section is dedicated to the heart explaining its difficult and intensive job. With the help of videos and informational boards we learn how a heart attack builds up within our body far before it actually happens.

The impact of smoking is impressively presented with a shockingly pitch black smokers lung on display that looks like a lava rock. This particular display like so many others certainly make you think about how you are treating your own body and how it may look like if exposed like these displays.

Speaking about the displays. Our initial worry was about our reaction to the plastinated bodies. Gunther van Hagens’ invention of preserving the human body and his quite artistic displays have been quite controversial for years. Many were initially appalled just by the pure fact that these displays were actually showing deceased humans.

We found that the whole show including the displays were put together and presented very esthetically. We were intrigued and captivated throughout. I can’t think of any other exhibit that brings you in such close encounter with your own body. We were awed and so were many other visitors we observed. From families with much younger children than our son, to a group of doctors, who were teaching their college class right on site.

In conclusion I can only say that we were absorbed by this exhibition and didn’t feel time going by. There was so much to see, explore and learn!

Body Worlds: PULSE is on display at the CaliforniaScienceCenter through February 20, 2018 .

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Images: ©CaliforniaGermans

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You May Have Your Cake, But You Can’t Always Eat It

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YOU MAY HAVE YOUR CAKE, BUT YOU CAN’T ALWAYS EAT IT

Dear Readers,

I know it’s been a while.  Unfortunately, it’s been way too long, and I do feel bad.  I missed writing and taking the time to be creative.  But, as all of us know, life happens.  My life has been extremely busy these past couple months.  I am not complaining as I love being busy, I just deeply regret that I didn’t have time to sit down, be inspired, and write.

The thing is I probably could have produced somewhat of an article each week- but it would have felt more as a chore than something that I truly enjoy. Busting out an article because you have to instead of because you want to produces (obviously) different results.  But I am finally able to slowly get back into the swing of things.

As I have mentioned in one of my last pieces, I started working with dogs, and I love it!  Being with animals is such a stress reliever, and I met so many wonderful people through it as well.  But besides this opportunity, I also started working as a coordinator for a baker.  One of my friends was doing the job before, but since she started a full time job she was unable to continue the work and recommended me.

The position sounded really great as I was able to work remotely, so it perfectly fit in with my schedule.   But, as this happens a lot in life as well, things came different at some point than discussed.  In theory, my duties consisted of handling e-mail customer inquiries, a fun and easy task.  Of course, it took me a little in the beginning until I got the hang of it, but I eventually was able to spend less than one hour a day working from my computer.

Things started to change about a couple weeks into my job.  I knew that my friend handled some of the pastry and cake deliveries in the past as she was living less than five minutes away from the bakery.  I, on the other hand, live about an hour away from Redondo Beach, where the shop is located.  So I became a little skeptical when my boss started asking me to do deliveries as well.

I might not have minded it that much if it wouldn’t have been on a weekend, but to ask me to come out two days in a row to deliver cakes just didn’t sound too appealing to me, especially since one of the locations included Compton, which I thankfully turned down.  As a compromise though and since I didn’t want to seem entitled, I agreed to accomplish the delivery of an ice cake to Marina Del Rey.

The whole way from Redondo Beach to its final destination I felt like I was on my way to Siberia.  Since it was an ice cake, I had to put the air conditioning in my car on full blast. Even though I ended up with a cold I am happy to report that the cake made it to the party without any harm.

From that day on, my boss figured she could sign me up for more deliveries.  Without even asking me, she concluded that I was in charge of spending one precious Saturday in April driving up to the Malibu Canyons to deliver a wedding cake.  If that didn’t already sound bad enough, let me tell you that the notorious cake was only supposed to be used for photography purposes and not to be eaten.  Anyways, since my boss was supposed to go out of town that weekend, she told me that I have to do this delivery.

I wasn’t very happy, to say the least, especially since it was my friend’s birthday and I would be missing half of the celebrations.  But what was I supposed to do when my boss tells me to do it, even though deliveries were not part of my job description in the first place?  I know, I know, I sound like a whiner and unappreciative.  Well, you might feel me a little more after I tell you the whole tale of that one fateful day.

It was a warm and sunny Saturday morning.  I had come to terms with the fact that I was about to drive the 160 miles round trip to deliver a simple twelve piece cake into the middle of nowhere while my boss was basking in the Palm Springs sun.

To my surprise though, she was still working on the masterpiece when I arrived at the bakery in Redondo Beach.  She told me that she had to cancel her girls’ trip since she still had a couple orders to finish.  I instantly felt bad and selfish, and I swore to myself to bury any feelings of irritation about my interrupted weekend plans.

We ended up sharing some bonding conversation while she was finishing up the wedding cake.  Looking at the clock, I got a little nervous considering that the cake was supposed to arrive in Malibu at 11 a.m. and it was already past nine.  Luckily though, she was almost done.

Since I am a pretty clumsy person, I didn’t decline her offer to securely transport the cake to my car.  She put it in a carton box and carried it over to my passenger seat, where she positioned it in a way to make it easy for me to pick it up and switch it onto the cake board once I arrived at the destination.

We then exchanged our goodbyes, not knowing what unanticipated turn the whole day would take.  But more to that story next time.

Image: pixabay.com
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Anne-KathrinAnne-Kathrin Schulte, is a contributor for CaliforniaGermans.com. She writes on her personal experience of the American Dream as well as on working as an au pair in CA. She was born and grew up in Düsseldorf, Germany, where she completed her degree as a state-approved Kindergarten teacher. After her au pair engagement in the US and a quick return to Germany she decided to attend university in California and moved back to the United States. She has been living in Southern California since 2011.

If you would like to contact Anne-Kathrin, please send an email to californiagermans(at)gmail.com and place her name in the subject line.


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The Beauty of Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA)

Walking Through Downtown L.A.

– A Report in Pictures –
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Los Angeles, a fascinating city and a dream destination for many, has so much to offer. Beautiful beaches, legendary Hollywood, famous Universal Studios, iconic Muscle Beach at Venice, eclectic art, amazing museums, delectable restaurants…just to name a few highlights.

For sure L.A. is not only an exciting city for newcomers and tourists alike, but also for us expats living here it is worth dedicating a summer vacation to exploring Los Angles and beyond.

So here we go.

My family loves Downtown L.A. (DTLA). Be it Olvera Street the often called “birthplace of Los Angeles”, Chinatown , Little Tokyo, the contemporary art museum MOCA or THE BROAD museum and of course the Grand Central Market, which is always a must for us when we are in DTLA.

Needless to say our latest trip to DTLA started out right here and should end here as well with some delicious ice cream before heading back home.

Energized, after having had lunch at Wexler’s Deli indulging on their pastrami sandwich ‘The OG’, my son’s favorite, we make our way to the Grand Central Library.

Shortcut Along Angels Flight

There is a great short cut to South Grand Avenue by climbing the stairways alongside the Angels Flight funicular, which is right across from the Grand Central Market’s exit on Hill Street.

On South Grand Avenue we pay a short visit to MOCA, glance at The BROAD, (which is closed on Mondays) and take in the fabulous architecture of the Disney Music Hall before we continue our path to the library.

More art along the way!

Arriving at the corner of South Grand Ave / 5th Street we are finally met by one of Los Angeles architectural and historical landmarks, The Central Library!

The original library of 1926, the Goodhue Building, is an early example of Art Deco. The Tom Bradley Wing was added as a modern addition in 1993 and features most of the library’s collection today.

The Goodhue Building houses the Children’s and Teen department, which we always enjoy visiting.

Upon entering via the Rotunda with its Zodiac Chandelier one feels transported into a different time.

Have we entered Victorian era England or have we teleported into a Harry Potter movie?  Not sure, but it’s beautiful!

On our way out we make sure to walk through the atrium of the Tom Bradley Wing to get back into modern times.

Back outside on 5th Street we realize that we happen to stand right across of L.A.’s famous skyslide which is attached to the top of the US Bank skyscraper. Definitely nothing for the faint-hearted!! So I am quickly moving on pulling my mesmerized son with me down the street to The Last Bookstore on 453 S Spring Street.

The Last Bookstore, an eccentric book store that engages every book lover with tons of books, art galleries, hidden reading sanctuaries and a book labyrinth.

Even if you are not interested in books per se, this bookstore is a must! And if it’s only to inhale the L.A.vibe !

Enough books for today! We are heading back to the Grand Central Market and the Bradbury Building, which happens to be directly opposite of the market’s entrance on S. Broadway.

Not promising anything extraordinary from the outside the Bradbury Building fascinates once you walk through the narrow entrance lobby. Letting our eyes feast one more time on an L.A. architectural landmark, we are walking into the five-story building and are met with an amazing, light-filled atrium brimming with staircases in ornate ironwork and two wrought-iron ‘bird cage’ elevators. The Bradbury Building has been featured in many movies, the Blade Runner being one of them.

Together with the Central Library and the Union Station, the Bradbury Building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places .

For everyone still seeking adventure, you could move on to see much more here in Downtown L.A. – After all L.A.’s Union Station is not far away and famous theaters like the Theatre at the ACE Hotel are just down the road.

My son and I, however, called it a day and we went back to the Grand Central Market to reward ourselves with a delicious ice cream and an interesting coffee concoction. The drink called Business and Pleasure at G & B actually consists of three drinks! Iced almond-macademia milk cappuccino, carbonated iced tea and an espresso shot. Give it a try next time you visit Grand Central Market!

Prost! Cheers! À votre santé!

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Images: All Rights reserved ©CaliforniaGermans

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