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Who needs to go to the ends of the earth when Shangri-La exists right here in southern California? (rhetorical question)

Yesterday some friends and I went to the Getty Villa in Malibu, right off of Pacific Coast Highway. The temperatures were in the mid-70's, just the zephyr of air movement. Heavenly.

The museum exhibits are mostly second-rate (after visiting the Louvre and such), with just a few excellent pieces. But the villa and the gardens! I could have spent all day just going from one garden to the next, through the atria and out again, soaking up the sunshine.

When I last visited this Getty (not the one in Sepulveda pass off the 405 freeway), the gardens had just been planted and had that forlorn look that newly-set transplants have.

But now, several years later, they are lush and beautiful. Just perfect. Not a dead leaf or wilted flower in sight. It must take hundreds of employees to keep the place so perfect and guard the exhibits.

I always wanted to build a home here in Southern California around a central open garden atrium, with fountains and statues and exotic plants. It struck me yesterday that that dream is never going to happen, so visiting Getty Villa is the next best thing.

Some dreams won't turn out the way I expected them to when I was young. That's OK. Other parts of my life are far better than I could have envisioned.

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