Sunday, October 23, 2005

L.A. trip pictures, take 1: The Biltmore Hotel

Well, this past weekend I finished up my last callback (on Friday afternoon) and spent half the weekend in Houston with GPG, which means? I got to get my L.A. pictures out of his digital camera and get them ready to put on the blog. Since there are so many I want to post, I'm putting them up in installments.

But first, the weekend: was great! The weather is FINALLY starting to cool down a little in Texas (tonight it was positively chilly, and I'm not just saying that because I'm a weenie) and Saturday was a beautiful day in Houston. Amongst other things, GPG and I had dinner with the Chairwoman, watched the movie Crash, and visited an exotic animal pet store.

We had already visited this pet store a few times before in recent years because this store is the only one in Houston that sells hedgehogs, of which GPG and I are huge fans. Since it had been a while since we last saw hedgehogs, we decided to go again this weekend.

Hedgehogs are SOOOOO cute. You must see one in person to realize what I'm talking about. The nice thing about this store is that they will let visitors hold some of the animals, so we got to hold one of the young female hedgehogs they had. It was super cute, and very friendly--in fact, it apparently liked GPG so much that it curled up in his hand and fell asleep! Just rolled up into a ball like it was nothing, being held in the air by some giant human, and closed its eyes and slept. Words cannot describe the cuteness.

But, arguably even cuter? The coatimundi! I am not sure what kind of animal the coatimundi is--I suspect it may be in the rodent family--but it was also super cute, and much bigger, friskier, and more interactive than the sleepy hedgehog (who, admittedly, is a nocturnal animal). The coatimundi (kwah-tuh-moon-dee) babies we saw were probably the size of a small chihuahua, but generally stouter, with long, racoon-striped tails, long snouts, inquisitive noses, and climbing skills like a monkey. The few we saw were completely tame and friendly and seemed to like cuddling with adults, but in their cage they also ran around and played with each other as if they were Energizer bunnies and would never tire out. Apparently coatimundi will bond to their owners, so you can get them as babies and interact with them so that they will be as devoted and friendly as dogs, if not more so. They seem like almost the perfect pet: cute, friendly, interactive, cuddlesome, small, and trainable to a certain extent. Again, words cannot describe the cuteness. GPG and I will definitely go back to see those guys again.

Anyway, on to the pictures! Here is the first installment: two pictures from my room at the Biltmore Hotel, where I got put up.

The first is a picture of the room itself:

Not bad, huh? You can't see it, but to the left of the picture there was a big dresser with a very large TV in there. Not really conveniently placed for watching TV in bed, but it's not like I watch a bunch of TV, anyway, so I have no complaints. The bed was very comfy, and I really liked that you could close the drapes and really block out virtually all daylight.

What I liked even more? See below:

That, my friends, is Aveda products. I've learned that you can find out how luxurious a hotel really is by looking at the complimentary bath products they provide, and the Biltmore provides Aveda. And yes, I will admit unabashedly that the Aveda freebies really impressed me a lot more than the room! Rosemary mint shampoo and conditioner, which I love, body wash, moisturizer, and two different kinds of bar soaps. I brought a whole bag of these free little bottles home, because the hotel cleaning staff kept replenishing my stock every day.

That's the first round of pictures. Not much exciting, but more will come. Next up? The Huntington in Pasadena!


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