Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

Westin Bonaventure

When I first began to do business travel to Los Angeles, in the year of 1987, I often stayed at the Westin Bonaventure. I remember one night in 1988 when I arrived very late, and hundreds of Japanese tourists were sleeping on their luggage, and I wondered if they believed that an hour on one's own luggage while routine room assignment matters were worked out was just part of living in America. They used to get full in those days, and put me in parlor conference rooms, which sounds awful but is actually cool, in a way I could explain but wouldn't really add to the narrative quality of this missive if I did explain it. Indeed, I am very fond of this hotel, notwithstanding that it sounds as if I just said two negative things about it. When I took the red elevator tonight, a placard advised me that this very elevator was the place where Arnold Schwarzenegger filmed a key scene in "True Lies". But I like the hotel because it's a place where the staff is courteous, the location favorable, and it's got a lively air about it.

When I lived in Los Angeles, I worked a building or two over, and came here often to eat lunch at the cafes in the hotel. There's a charming Korean barbecue, which is inexpensive and heavenly. I'll probably eat at some cafe tonight, perhaps sushi, perhaps something else.

I have not stayed here for years upon years. I ordinarily might prefer to stay with kenmora and his wife H., along with their elegant first grader B, but this trip involves a series of conference calls punctuated by a court hearing, which makes being near the courthouse useful to me. We passed restaurants which are "old haunts" for me--like Engine Co. 28, and we are walking distance from places like The Water Grill, a dark, intriguing fresh seafood place, that I love.
I am very good at downtown Los Angeles, from its open air mercado to its sleek downtown buildings. I speak its language. I love the downtown public library, the faux Mexican market on Olvera Street, the Central Market farmers' market, the little Mexican restaurants, Little Tokyo, the Pantry with its 24 hour breakfast, and the familiar feel of the Superior Courts building. It's not at all picturesque, but instead this rambling assemblage, where the ghost of John Fante dances with the ghost of Aimee Semple McPherson, while the ghost of Aldous Huxley looks down from a neighboring hill, where Vedanta Temple lies.

Perhaps I'll grab a quick dinner and relax, looking out my window at the lights. Perhaps I'll see if the library is open late tonight. Perhaps I'll take a cab to a club and see an acoustic or electronic show. Perhaps I'll work and feel alive in that way, too.

When I am in the Westin Bonaventure, with its curious circular glass towers, I am somehow at home and at peace.

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