It was an unseasonably warm Los Angeles day in early March, at least compared to the chill rainy week since I had arrived. Phèdre and I cruised aimlessly in the tour van, our day off full of possibilities as long as they were free and outdoors. We settled on the Getty Center after deliberating on a $15 parking fee that would cut into our budget for beer and tacos later that night.
Phèdre - my longtime pals Lee Paradise and Apey Oh - had visited the eccentric hilltop museum before. From the parking lot, we boarded a three-car, cable-pulled hovertrain funicu
lar that transported us up to the campus designed by architect George Meier. We were dropped off at a plaza and strolled through a photography exhibit together before wandering off on our own exploratory meditations.
Emerging into a sprawling courtyard, I headed towards a twisting garden path and found myself drawn through the large central garden designed by Robert Irwin, filled with an incredible assortment of succulents.
I could spot a separate garden of cactus jutting out from the side of one of the buildings, and it took some investigating to find the way. They were contained within an incredible coned pedestal with a south facing view. I had no idea that most cactus are classified as succulents, simply defined as having thickened, fleshy parts adapted to store water. As the plants and I soaked in the same California sun, I gazed towards the hazy horizon and ruminated on this strange temple of human achievement in visual splendour.