I’m not the type of guy who goes out to museums for the day to appreciate classical or obscure art, but when the International Center hosts a day trip to Los Angeles for only $5, I cannot resist. Last Saturday I visited the Getty Museum and walked around Holly Boulevard along with 40 other CBU students. I wasn’t sure what a “Getty” even was leading up to it. All I heard was “Los Angeles,” “day trip” and “international students” which drew my attention fairly quickly. I’ve been on trips and events with the International Center before, and they never disappoint. These events are based around connecting international students with California culture and American students, so of course I wanted to go.

The group met up by noon out in front of the International Center, and due to more people joining (including my roommate Jon, literally minutes before), we loaded onto a bus and two extra vans. The trip over to the Getty was an adventure in itself driving through LA traffic and sightseeing around the skyscrapers. The museum is located on a hill that overlooks the city with a view of Santa Monica to the west and urban life to the east. Art and history aside, the Getty Center as a building was impressive enough. The white stone blocks along the exterior mixed with the fountains and gardens below plus that view again makes for an impressive structure. I didn’t mind just hanging outside, but with paintings by Rembrandt and Monet inside, I guess I had to check it out. I didn’t realize before that the Getty Center houses several pre-20th century European paintings and sculptures, which really isn’t one of my passions, but I appreciated the historical aspect. With nothing in California being more than 100- to 200 years old, I enjoyed seeing a little more history. There was an 18th century French Planisphere which had dials that displayed the time of day, month of the years with their zodiac signs, days of the lunar month, and local times of various cities. As an aspiring engineer, I could only appreciate the complexities involved in creating such a timepiece hundreds of years ago. Then I looked at my phone and felt frustrated when the signal died.

We left the Getty Center by 5 p.m. and then headed over to Hollywood Boulevard. I’ve been living in California for almost five years now, and this was the first time I’d ever seen the stars on the sidewalk. The bus dropped us off, and we walked down the street, watching out for familiar names and avoiding the overwhelming number of celebrity look-a-likes wearing Halloween costumes trying to get some money from you. This is when my friend, Isaac De Guzman, shined in his knowledge of the city. He pointed out famous sites during the drive over and then led us over to the Hollywood & Highland Center mall next to the TLC Chinese Theater. There were two huge elephant statues sitting above the shopping center where we ate a quick dinner before heading back into the streets. We passed by El Capitan Theater and checked out more shops. I grew up in a big city like this, so I felt great walking around under the nighttime lights. It’s strange how familiar an unfamiliar place can feel. We ended up playing cards in a frozen yogurt shop and only afterwards learned how close we were to Korea Town and the Griffith Observatory. We all had fun exploring the city and already have ideas for new places to visit the next time around.