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Here and Now

Tips for travels close to home -- OK, really close to home

June 12, 2003|Paul Brownfield | Times Staff Writer

"The rather dramatic shifts that Americans have made in their travel preferences in the past 20 months, such as more driving trips, closer-to-home travel and more rural destinations are still apparent," said Suzanne Cook, a Travel Industry Assn. vice president.

-- from the Wall Street Journal, May 15


The Kitchen

Distance from sofa: 15 feet

Travel time: 7 seconds

How to get there: Take dining room until you hit breakfast area. Go left. You'll see kitchen.

What to see: Visitors to the kitchen tend to flock to the refrigerator, so your best bet is to get there early in the day or later in the evening. Admire the array of refrigerator magnets on display, including an original Baja Fresh takeout magnet and the whimsically shaped Action Propane magnet all the way from Leandor, Texas. The tile on the walls and countertops is original and believed to date to the 1930s. The kitchen is cleaned every other Wednesday and is closed to the public. Call ahead. Tours are self-guided.

If you have time: Stick your head in the freezer. Ahhh.



Distance from sofa: .4 miles

Travel time: 2 1/2 minutes by car

How to get there: Get in car. Proceed out of driveway to street, turn right. Cross Wilshire. You will see Koo Koo Roo. Pull into parking lot behind Koo Koo Roo. Park.

What to see: This ATM is just outside the Screen Actors Guild headquarters, so you never know when you might see Matt Damon withdrawing some petty cash or maybe Tia Carrere depositing a residual check from several basic-cable airings of "Wayne's World 2"! Unlike most ATMs, this location is enclosed within plexiglass for maximum banking privacy. Parking is supposedly free with validation, but a word to the wise: Save that ATM receipt or you may be surprised with a bill for $1!

If you have time: Work on better record keeping. For instance, don't just rip the receipt out of the machine and throw it in the trash or shove it in your pocket only to be thrown out later. Record the amount withdrawn or deposited in your checkbook. You'll thank yourself later.


Whole Foods

Distance from sofa: 1.3 miles

Travel time: Anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour

How to get there: Pretend like you're going to the ATM, only keep going past Koo Koo Roo. Make a left at 6th Street and then a right at Fairfax. Proceed north on Fairfax. Good luck.

What to see: Actually, they could call the place Whole Day, because you could kill a whole day in this Whole Foods! The building's design (a big box) and sleek interior combine functionality and modernity, and owe something of a debt to supermarket architects of eras past, including whoever built the first Ralphs, the first Stop & Shop, the first Piggly Wiggly. Located across the street from the Grove, this Whole Foods has quickly become a hangout for sushi-eating Hollywood hipsters and organic-minded health nuts looking for the latest herbal palliative. Tables for dining are plentiful near the checkout lines, and the salad bars have become something of a singles cruising zone. If you're alone, or even if you're not, check out the suggestions-and-comments bulletin board at the front of the market, in the northwesternmost portion of the store. There are authentic documents on view detailing areas of customer satis/dissatisfaction, with responses from management at the bottom. Admission is free, and parking is plentiful, although the addition of both the Grove and Park La Fi Fi, or whatever that new Park La Brea apartment development is called, makes access problematic.

If you have time: Please write down the code number when shopping for bulk food, such as granola. Those checkout people are working hard enough.


Looking for the Cordless Phone

Distance from sofa: Unknown

Travel time: How should I know if I can't find the phone?

How to get there: Again, you're asking questions I cannot answer. My name is not the Amazing Kreskin, OK?

What to see: The cordless phone! I've been looking for over an hour now. I swore I used it this morning. A visitor to the house suggests looking underneath the sofa cushions, in kitchen cabinets, in the bathroom. Perhaps, she says, you took it into the shower? Yeah, that really makes a lot of sense. God, why am I so stupid?

If you have time: Take a deep breath. Legend has it that a previous cordless phone was lost after being absentmindedly placed on top of my parked car during an outdoor conversation. I then drove off later in the day, with the phone still sitting on top of the car. An audio tour of this and other "amazing but true" tales of missing home items is available for $5.


Paul Brownfield can be contacted at

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