Thursday, January 29, 2015

Ron and Pat's First Full Day in West Hollywood


Me with our Nissan Sentra rental car in West Hollywood, Sunset Boulevard, California

After a much needed day off yesterday folks, I'm back with my continuing coverage of our ten day vacation of a lifetime in Los Angeles, California from January 7th to January 17th. 

I'm repeating myself folks, but I am so glad I took this trip to Los Angeles.  All my life I've been meaning to take trips like this but always put it off because the time wasn't convenient, couldn't afford it or I just didn't want to go by myself.  Well, as you know (and I often remind you) my Time is running out.  No more putting off until tomorrow what I can do today.  And afford it?  Hey, I can never afford it.  I was born poor (like many of you I'm sure), been poor almost my whole life, with the brief exception of one 63 week period in 1986 when I was receiving two salaries from my former bank job (separation pay) and my new banking job.  Always before and after that time I barely stay above the poverty level of income producing households but I don't have a family, no expensive habits (unless you count  $300 a year membership in Ancestry.com) and I own my own home.  I've always had income coming in, albeit small, from the time I was in third grade (paper boy) until now in my 73rd year I work part-time as a hotel front desk agent which brings in the cash that enables me to splurge on vacations like the one I just had in Los Angeles.


View of West Hollywood Hills (and the Comedy Factory) from Sunset Boulevard

But I digress again as I often do when I write these blog post right off the top of my head (stream of consciousness -
  1. a person's thoughts and conscious reactions to events, perceived as a continuous flow. The term was introduced by William James in his Principles of Psychology(1890).
    • a literary style in which a character's thoughts, feelings, and reactions are depicted in a continuous flow uninterrupted by objective description or conventional dialogue. James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and Marcel Proust are among its notable early exponents.



Which I'm sure doesn't come as a surprise to my regular blog followers that this is my style of writing.  Not for me writing first into my Word program then carefully studying sentence and paragraph structure.  Oh no, I just let it flow.  But again, I digress.

Today's posting are videos that I took of our first full day in Los Angeles, West Hollywood to be specific.

Our first full day we drove down the palm tree lined Hollywood Boulevard, which parallels Sunset Boulevard.  We were staying at a cozy bed and breakfast on Hollywood Boulevard with the original name of "The Hollywood Bed and Breakfast" (who would've thunk?)  Well folks, it was the ideal location.  


Pat checking out at Trader Joe's at the small mall on Sunset Boulevard that was our second home while we were in California. Trader Joe's, can you imagine a Trader Joe's in Rehoboth Beach?  Yeah, I can't either.  I'm telling you folks, I'm seriously thinking of .  . . . . . . . . relocating some day.  Get away from this cold in the winter and the craziness in the summer that is Rehoboth Beach jammed with tourists. Yes, there might just be another alternative. I'm thinking about it.

Our first full day our bodies quickly adapted to the warm temperatures that is California in January.  A little smoggy during our first day but that didn't diminish our pleasure in this welcome respite from the cold climes of our respective homes in Toronto, Canada and Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.  Again, what really struck me were the REAL palm trees, not the faux palm trees in Rehoboth (plastic).  I know I've been beating up on my home base of Rehoboth Beach but folks, I can't emphasize enough how much I was beginning to enjoy the real thing.

A few blocks from where we were staying was a wonderful indoor/outdoor shopping/food court which Pat and I frequented every day. I forget the name of it but it was located on Sunset Boulevard directly across the street from the Chateau Marmont hotel. The address is 8000 West Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles, California. 


Two very happy tourists from the cold winds of the east coast to the warm winds of the west coast

We ate there almost every day at the Veggie Grill, sometimes twice a day.  Not only did they have the fabulous Veggie Grill there but they had a smoothie place called Body Works which made the best smoothies I've ever had in my life. 



Pat and I didn't have any specific plan for each day, whatever we felt like doing. One activity we were especially fond of doing was just relaxing and folks, we did plenty of that.  

So here folks are some of the videos that I took of our very relaxing and enjoyable first day in West Hollywood, Los Angeles, California.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Ron Meets the Pacific Ocean



The past couple of days I've posted sad news on this blog.  But life goes on.  Here is the video I promised of me meeting the Pacific Ocean.  Remember a few weeks back I posted a video of me at Rehoboth Beach meeting the Atlantic Ocean?  Well, maybe you don't but take my word for it I posted it.  At that time I promised that I would make a matching video of me on the other side of the continent.  Well, here it is folks!  Ron meets the Pacific Ocean.

Pat and I, during our recent ten day stay in Los Angeles, took a ride out to the Santa Monica beach at the end of our second (?) day, arriving just in time for the sunset.  A sunset that we never see here on the East Coast.  Wow.  And I did take some beautiful sunset pictures too.  In fact, a few minutes after taking this video we drove to the Santa Monica Pier but couldn't get on to take a photo.  Seems they have that pier all monetized for the tourists and we didn't feel like being monetized at that time. 

So here you are folks, the Ron and Pat Show on the Santa Monica Beach, we meet the Pacific Ocean.  Very cool!

Ed Cage 1941 - 2015

Ed at my house in Pennsylvania 1998

This morning my longtime friend Ed Cage died at 4 A.M.  I've known Ed for over sixty years. He died of liver cancer. Rest in peace dear Ed. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Wayne "The Cajun"

Beebe Hospital this morning - Wayne is on the third floor to the right

This morning I visited my friend Wayne "The Cajun" at the Beebe Hospital. 


Wayne at 2013 Bloggerfest with his Dr. Spo custom made shirt

I have not seen Wayne for several. The last time I saw him he was in the hospital.  This time he went in the hospital again after a short stay at his apartment in Rehoboth Beach. 


Wayne with my longtime (60 years) friend Ed in 2009 who is also gravely ill (only expected to live three weeks) with liver cancer - (update: Ed (Cage) died 4:00 AM January 27th, 2015)

Wayne has been ill for sometime.  Up until about two weeks ago, before I left on my trip to California, he's been able to post on his blog "On Transmigration." The blog I encouraged him to start as a means of dealing with the breakup of his longtime relationship (thirty one years) with Tom N. 


Me, Tom N. and Wayne at the Georgetown Airport Grill - 2005

Wayne initially dismissed the idea of blogging as a means of self therapy and to help him deal with his loss.  But eventually he became a regular blogger.  His wit, intelligence, humor and (sometimes) biting sarcasm was a regular feature in his blog posts. I always looked forward to reading Wayne's blog.  He never failed to bring a smile to my face with his latest adventures as a host at a local eatery in Rehoboth Beach or his routine encounters with rude and aggressive female real estate agents stealing his parking spot or rude and aggressive moms insisting on bringing their ramming rods baby strollers into the restaurant where he jovially greeted all who entered (as long as you were respectful of him). 


Wayne at the job he loved and was good at - host at Dos Locos - NO STROLLERS!
I first met Wayne through my late friend Bob McC. in 2005.  Bob knew Wayne from their mutual church, MCC (Metropolitan Community Church).  I was thinking of building a house when I moved to Delaware for retirement and Bob asked Wayne and Tom if he could show me their house.  I still remember the Saturday morning I first went into Wayne and Tom's house on Old Landing Road.  Tom was on a high ladder replacing one of those in the ceiling lights and Wayne was hosting behind the kitchen counter, his genial best.


Wayne hosting a party at his house on Old Landing Road - 2005

I liked Wayne immediately.  I liked him not in a romantic way but in a "I like you!" way.  Wayne was funny.  He had that edge, that Paul Lynde type of humor (you all know what I mean). Biting sarcasm with a smile (or a sneer depending on where you're at on the receiving end).  


The Wayne Sneer

When Wayne and Tom broke up Wayne was at a loss.  The blog helped but he needed to get out.  He said he would like to "get out" (go out to restaurants) but didn't want to dine alone.  I told him that anytime he wanted to go out I'll go with him.  You know me, I love to go out.  Bill doesn't.  So within a few months time we developed a regular meet up at the Purple Parrot in Rehoboth Beach on Sunday nights. 







 First it was just me and Wayne.  Then other friends started to follow.  At one time there would be as many of eight of us at the table at the Purple Parrot, on Sunday night, Prime Rib Night.  I rarely took of the Prime Rib (too much meat for me, a phrase you probably never thought I would say) but I did get the "Wimpy", a so called small hamburger (actually quite large).  I pigged out on the Wimpy with bacon and cheese, onion, lettuce, tomato and even horse radish sauce.  Washed it down with either a couple of glasses of wine or a margarita or two.  Ah, those were the days.  


Paul, Will (the bartender) and Wayne at the Purple Parrot - 2009

Oh sure, we had our disagreements.  How could that not happen when two friends get close?  The one time our relationship was strained (and I wrote about this in a blog in this very spot years ago) was when the waiter forgot to bring my Wimpy.  Everyone else had finished eating and there I was, laughing and enjoying myself, working on my second glass of vino, when someone asked "Where's your Wimpy Ron?"  I had forgotten all about my order.  Someone called the waiter over and informed him he "missed one."  He was very apologetic and said he would put my order through immediately.  At that time I didn't care whether I got my order or not because I was buzzed on the wine.  But I got angry when Wayne shot off a remark "Oh get over it Ron!" 


Wayne and our sometimes contentious relationship

Now you have to understand the context of where Wayne is coming from.  He was (and probably still is) very protective of waiters (and waitresses). To Wayne they can do no wrong.  What made me angry was that I WASN'T upset and I certainly wasn't upset at the waiter.  Heck, here he is, a young good-looking gay guy (the waiter) having to deal with a table full of Old Gay Guys having a good time and  he misses one of their orders? I don't know but he might have been as resentful as a different waiter a few weeks before who dissed us when one of us questioned an order.  He said something to the effect "It's hard keeping straight what you old queens order" .


Wayne as a Mississippi River Boat Gambler

I remember at the time we were all caught speechless by his rude outburst.  We couldn't believe what we heard.  Of course the air in our Good Times balloon went pffft. A few minutes later the waiter, now contrite came back and said "I apologize if I offended anyone with my earlier remarks." Obviously someone (the management) told him to "apologize" (his heart wasn't in it) to us. Of course Wayne stood up for him immediately.  I was offended by the waiter's remarks (me, and OLD QUEEN?) but not pissed off or real angry.  I had entered Old Queen Territory years ago. 
 
Wayne and Violet at the Purple Parrot - 2010


This was just the first time a young gay guy pointed it out to me.  But, and I apologize for the long paragraph here) I wanted to put into context my "words" with Wayne that night the waiter didn't bring out my Wimpy. Wayne saw a different side of me that night that not too many see, the Don't Fuck With Me Ron.  Not the usual Easy Going Ron that is Taken For Granted. He saw the ugly Ron.  That night our relationship was altered a bit. A mutual friend of ours who was there that night said "Ron, if you want to have friends you can't do THAT."  Well, you know what I say to THAT. "THAT" is me, you get the good and the bad with me if you want to be my friend.  But one thing you don't do is belittle me and embarrass me in front of my friends without getting IT right back in your face.  I've always been a firm believer in if you can dish it out you should be ready to take it.  


My late friend Big Bob (McCamley) and Wayne at the jewelry store where Wayne used to work

So there, I took too long and used too much verbiage to make . . . what point? The point is Wayne and I had a friendship and we understood each other and our limits, our weaknesses and our strengths. The Wayne I've known over these past ten years (hard to believe it's been ten years) is one of the most unique individuals I've ever known.  All the adjectives I've used before apply: talented, witty, intelligent, humorous, self deprecating, generous.  Oh he has his negative side too.  He is a contrarian.  I could say "Wayne, it's raining outside" and he would say "What did you think it was doing? Snowing?"  That is Wayne, love him or leave him.  


Wayne and his co-worker Cheryl at the jewelry store where he worked - 2009

I don't do well with sick people.  I don't know what to say when they're sick.  Wayne has been very ill for the past year.  He's been in and out of the hospital.  He lives alone.  Thank goodness he has his good friend Linda from work looking after him.  I don't know Linda. I meet her once when I visited Wayne during one of his earlier hospital stays this summer.  She struck me as being an angel.  There are angels among us.  I'm not one of them, that's for sure. 


Wayne and some of his girlfriends at his house on Old Landing Road - 2005

Wayne has been in the hospital since before I left for California.  He has been blogging during his previous hospital stays.  This time he has not.  Of course I knew his illness has gotten worse.

On this gray, cold, windy, winter morning I gathered my courage and drove down to Beebe to see Wayne.  I've called twice in the past week to no answer on his phone.


Wayne at his new home after he moved out of his Old Landing Home - 2006

The parking lot at Beebe was full as usual.  I parked at the far end and walked the length of the hospital parking lot, with the cold wind beating against my face to the reception desk inside.  I asked the lady at the reception desk "Is Wayne Juneau still here?"  She looked at her computer and said "Yes."  I said "I think he's in room 316."  The man sitting next to her corrected me and said "He's in room 314."  


Wayne cleaning the glass on the front door of Dos Locos prior to opening

She asked to see my driver's license.  She asked me if I had recently been to Africa or been in contact with anyone who had Ebola.  I answered "No."  She also asked me "Do you have any flu-like symptoms?" I also answered "No."

She made wrote Wayne's name down on a label with his room number and handed it to me to place on my jacket.  She asked "Do you know how to get to his room?"  I told her I did.  Just to be sure she said "Down that hallway to the right and then the first left to the elevators."


Me, Barbara (my neighbor) and Wayne at the Henlopen Oyster House last year - last time I dined with Wayne

From my previous visits I knew Wayne would be on the third floor (the hospital only has three floors) and at the farthest end of the building. 

I walked the long walk to the elevator.  The doors open.  A young man with white coat and pants was already in the elevator with a cart and a smile on his face.  He asked "Which floor?"  I said "Three".  He pushed the button and "3" lit up.



Wayne at the Giant grocery store - he loved his fresh veggies!

The Man in White with the Cart gets off at floor 2.  I'm in the elevator by myself now as the elevator ascends to floor three.  The doors open with a quiet "swoosh".  I step out and look for the signs to see which direction I go to Wayne's room. I always get mixed up in hospital corridors.  I never seem to get my bearings. I see the sign on the way pointing to the left "Rooms 307-320".  I head that way down the gleaming, waxed floors of this hospital wing, passing both hospital employees and visitors during my mission.


Wayne and me - goofing around

I come to the nursing station next to the door that is closed to room 314.  I ask "Is Wayne Juneau in this room?" One of the women says "Yes".  I ask "Can I go in?"  She says "Yes".  I push the door open a bit and see that the room is dark.  I am hesitant to go in.  I look back to the nursing station where four or five women are engaged in an animated conversation, seemingly oblivious to my sad visit.  I guess they're inured to folks like me coming to visit a very ill patient. I don't  fault them, I don't pass judgement.  They are doing their job, taking care of their patient, a fellow human being and a friend of mine. 


Harvey, ? and Wayne at the Purple Parrot - Wayne liked this waiter whose name I have forgotten

I look over to the women at the nurse's station again and ask "Is he sleeping? I don't want to disturb him." She said "You can go in" then she gets up and goes in herself and I hear her ask "Wayne? You have a visitor."  I hear Wayne give a slight groan and say "Give me a minute". 


Al (died three years ago), me, Don and Wayne at the Purple Parrott - 2010

I wait by the his door which is slightly ajar.  I see a light go on. After about a minute I ask from behind the door "Wayne?" Then I walk in.  

Wayne looks at me and says "Oh, it's you. How are you?" Automatically I say "Fine, how are you?" and immediately I grimace because that is the ONE thing I did not want to ask him because, obviously, he is not doing well.

I look at him. He has propped himself up on his adjustable bed.  He is gray (ashen) and tired.  Very tired.  But he is lucid.  His normally shaved head has a white fringe around it.  


Wayne at his second home since he moved from Old Landing Road - 2007

I don't know what to say.  Usually, I would tease him about something like "When are you getting out of here?" or "You're going to miss the Super Bowl sleeping all the time" but somehow anything I say seems inappropriate at this time.  Very inappropriate.  So I say nothing.  

There is an uncomfortable silence for a few seconds until I say "I just got back from Los Angeles."  Leave it to me to talk about myself. Wayne weakly says "Good for you."  I want to tell him more about my trip but, again, inappropriate. Very inappropriate.



Me and Wayne at the Filling Station in Lewes - I'm doing my rabbit ears thing again

I see food on his tray.  Fresh grapes, a couple of bananas, and a bottle of some kind of liquid.  I stand up to see what is in the bottle . . . . green tea.  I ask him "Where is this from?"  He says "Linda brought it."  I asked him "Can you taste anything?"  He says "Nothing, I have no taste."  

I ask him "Are you being fed intravenously?" He pulls back his hospital smock to show me the tubes going in a portal in his chest. I can see he's tiring quickly with my inane attempts at conversation.  

He tells me that a "Roger" died last week.  He asked me if I knew him.  I told him I didn't.  He told me that "Roger" was involved in different gay community outreach programs (which I forget now). He said "He was was down the hallway.  He also died alone."

Wayne then says "If you don't mind Ron, I would like to go back to sleep."  He says this in a kind way, not at all dismissive.  

I stand up and put my hand on his wrist and say "Wayne, I want you to know a lot of people care for you."  He opens his eyes slowly and says "Oh sure" like he didn't believe me.  But there are many who do like and love Wayne.  




I squeezed his wrists again and turned around to leave, trying not to babble with the gurgling sounds of sorrow as I left his room. Tears welled in my eyes.  

Don't misunderstand me here and my narrative of my visit to my friend Wayne.  I'm only trying to give some dignity to this one human being who was a friend to many.   Another friend who was an integral part of my life.




I managed to get out of the hospital, the wrong side where I took this picture at the beginning of this blog.  Wayne is in one of those top rooms.  

On this gray, cold, windy, wet winter day with the threat of a major winter snow storm north of us, I stopped at the Food Lion in Lewes is look for Stacy's Pita Chips.  The store was crowded.  With mostly older folk, me included.  Proving once again, that life goes on.




My only consolation this morning folks and for those of you who know Wayne personally, is that he doesn't seem to be in any pain and he is lucid.  He is just very tired.  Very tired.  I just wish he had someone with him. And that folks is my greatest fear.  I do not fear death, not at all.  I only fear the pain and, more than the pain, the fear of dying alone.  At least Wayne isn't completely alone.  His friend and co-worker Linda is with him and the folks at Beebe are taking excellent care of him.  But still, when your time comes you want to be with . . . . well, you know. 


Me and Wayne at Old Time Photo

January 29, 2015

As an update to this posting, Wayne has posted on his blog today. He's had a recovery from his recent bout of illness.  I hope he is on his way to recovery. Wayne "The Cajun", no on has ever accused him of being weak.  


First Night In L.A.

Pat checking out a couple of cats on Sunset Boulevard - accessories for his minimalist living room perhaps?

All to quickly our first day in L.A. turned into evening. While we were walking down Sunset Boulevard, taking in all the sights, sounds and vibes, a young man emerged out of the darkness of the Whiskey A Go Go and offered us free tickets.  Pat had stopped in front of the legendary building that had seen performances of the like of Jimi Hendrix and Cream and remarked "This is the place Ron where some of the greatest rock performers got their start" (apologies to Pat here, I'm paraphrasing).  I wasn't quite as impressed as Pat was (I'm more of a Universal Studios Ride kind of fan than the grungy beginnings of dead rock stars).


Twilight Time on Sunset Strip, Hollywood, CA - our first day was rapidly coming to an end

As I said, a T-shirted young man asked Pat "Would you like a couple of free tickets for tonight?"  Hey, we're tourists right?  Free? Right?  What's not to like?  (Well, there was a catch which I will tell you about later. There is always catch isn't there?)

So Pat took of the proffered tickets and we strolled back the several blocks in the twilight to our digs back at the Hollywood Bed and Breakfast.  Time to relax a bit, freshen up and plan our Big Night on the Town.


Pat relaxing with his iPhone (of course)

Darkness quickly descended and we both swooped out of our lush digs like vampires in the night to sample the delights of the fabled Sunset Boulevard at night.  With our "free" tickets we entered the fabled Whiskey A Go Go portals.  As we entered the cavernous darkness of this legendary building that housed the ghosts of long dead rock stars we saw and heard a sad duo on the stage.  Was that folk singing?  I hate folk singing. Whose on next? Yoko Ono?



What? No wonder we got free tickets. Here I'm expecting Cream.  Instead we're getting a pale knock off of Judy Collins. Check out her Muck Lucks.  Pitiful.  Sad. Disappointing.

I buy drinks for both of us.  Expensive (of course).  There are only about six people in the building and all of us have that reflected glow on our downturned faces as we're checking our smart phones for e-mails and Facebook updates.  Exciting.

Finally the torture singers end their pain music. Now another group ascends to the state.  Pat's getting excited. Remember, Pat plays bass guitar in a 60's era rock band called "The 45's" in his spare time.  


Pat's getting worked up now. His adrenalin is flowing.  I have the Universal Studio rides and Pat has his band set up excitement.
After going through another tortuous solo singer (who was so bad I didn't even take a video or photo of), the rock band . . . . a real rock band set in.  Wow!  Now this is what we came for.




We settled in some good seat, ready to enjoy the sights and sounds of Whiskey A Go Go entertainment. We were just getting our groove on when one of the T-shirted bouncers came over and told me "You know there is a minimum of $100 cover for either food or drink to sit here."  Uh huh.  So that was the "free ticket" deal?  Well, I do spend like a drunken sailor at times but not tonight.  The band playing on the platform was cool and I was grooving to the beat but for $100?  I don't think so.  So Pat and I said "Thank you" and made an ignominious retreat into the street.  Tourists we are and tourist we will always be.  I had hoped to hear some live music while in L.A. but it was not to be, at least at $100 a pop.

No problem though.  We were in Hollywood on Sunset Boulevard, what's not to like?  Thus we spent the rest of the evening taking a balmy, summer like stroll down this fabled boulevard, soaking up all the color and cacophony that is one of the most famous roads in the world.  



Later on we stopped in the Coffee Bean and I had my latte and Pat had his no sugar, dirty dishrag left in the pot bitter coffee.  Then we returned to our temporary abode on Hollywood Boulevard, a day well spent.


Pat enjoying a little down time before putting our first day in L.A. to an end. You gotta know that Pat LOVED all the curtains in our room (he has none at his minimalist palace in Toronto)

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Wheels in L.A.

A disrobed Pat making the call to the car rental agency from the airport - note that Pat has donned his winter gear for the tropical climes of L.A.

When I told people I was vacationing in Los Angeles, almost every one to a person said "You'll need a car!"  Pat, my traveling companion, who has visited L.A. before didn't want to get a car.  He said he could manage "quite well" without a car.  He didn't have a car during his previous visits.  He either walked or used public transportation. I almost went with his recommendation for no car until a few days before the trip when I finally succumbed to my bosses lamentations "You're crazy if you're taking a vacation in L. A. without a car!"  So I insisted on getting a car.  Why not?  Pat is an excellent city driver Hey, if anyone who can traverse the treacherous Toronto byways and highways can handle L.A.'s freeways.  So we got a car.


The very efficient Enterprise car rental terminal - I was so impressed with their efficiency!

I have to say that the car rental was so easy.  A few minutes after we landed at LAX, we found the public phones to the car rental agencies.  We placed a call and were told that there shuttles rode by the airport terminal every few minutes.  And they were right!  We turned around after Pat's phone call and there was the Enterprise shuttle.  


Pat, my never complaining subject for many of my photos, working out the details of our car rental "We only need a compact car -we don't need a BMW"

We took the shuttle to the Enterprise car rental location a few miles down the road.  On the way we were immediately stunned by the mild (72 degrees) temperature and the REAL palm trees.  I have to admit I was impressed seeing a boulevard lined with REAL palm trees, not the faux plastic ones placed here on Route One toward Rehoboth Beach.





I have to admit that I LOVED the summertime temperatures that greeted us upon our arrival in L.A. LOVED IT!  Riding down those palm tree lined boulevards was a dream come true for me.  Like so much in my life, a long time I've dreamed about times like this and new those dreams were finally coming true.

We finished out paper work on the car, hoped in, set the address for the Hollywood Bed and Breakfast where we would be staying for the next ten days in my iPhone GPS and we were on our way! 

The traffic wasn't too bad and in only a few minutes we were on Hollywood Boulevard, arriving at our destination.


Pat, standing at the entrance to our home for the next ten days, the Hollywood Bed and Breakfast - check out the palm trees - I couldn't get enough of them!
We checked in and checked out our digs.  Very nice.  A bit "busy" for Pat's minimalist's tastes but doable (he said). 


The pool and patio area of the Hollywood Bed and Breakfast
We checked in our our hosts and were shown to our room. We unwound a bit but not too much, because we wanted to take a walk on Sunset Boulevard, which was just one street over. And we walked in that beautiful, warm, California sunshine.  I'm telling you folks, I could get used to this!


Here we are!  On Sunset Boulevard.  Doesn't take too much to impress us.
We were really soaking up this "summer" day in L.A. Super duper.  Wow!  We continued to walk on Sunset Boulevard, looking for some place to eat.  Neither of us had eaten since last night.  We didn't partake of the airline "meals" which you pay for now.  I did have a watered down orange juice, gratis but I hungered for something more substantial now that we were in L.A. How how I love saying that "We were in L.A.".  

Then what great luck.  Right on Sunset Boulevard we found an enclosed court of shops, restaurants and a fitness center.  And right in the middle was a place, which we were destined to eat most of our meals the next ten days, called the "Veggie Grill."


Pat checking out his veggie options at the order line at the Veggie Grill
Our all veggie lunch - "Bombay Bowl" for Pat and "Sonoran Bowl" for me - delicious! 

Was our first day getting started off right or not?  Wow.  Talk about everything going right.  I'm going to be boring here folks.  We had a great time.

After feeding our faces we went out to explore more of Sunset Boulevard.  Guess what was right outside of the court where we had our lunch?  The Chateau Marmont Hotel.  That's right folks, the famous (or infamous) hotel where John Belushi died and other famous folk have stayed.


A selfie of me and Pat with the Chateu Marmont behind us
With this photo began our first "celebrity" sighting, only dead celebrities or where dead celebrities used to frequent.  During our whole stay in L.A. we didn't see one live celebrity.  Take that back, maybe we did but we didn't know it.  They might have been incognito or has beens.  We did see a Mae West type woman pushing a laundry cart at the Ikea store in Burbank.  I'm pretty sure she had something to do with the movies but I was to embarrassed to asked her, especially since she was pushing that laundry cart even though she did have bleached blond hair with a big flower on the side and way too much makeup and that forlorn look of someone who didn't quite make it.  

I'm sure Pat and I were very obvious as your typical awed Eastern tourists but no one bothered us.  They let us have our fun.  One thing we did notice that there were no overweight people.  Pat was the first to notice that phenomena. Everyone was gym trained slim and the guys all had on those tight legged pants, the fashion de jour. 


Pat in front of another landmark on Sunset Boulevard - no, we didn't run into Clint Eastwood.  He was probably busy talking to an empty chair.

During our walk on Sunset Boulevard we saw many familiar landmarks like the one below, The House of Blues.  But we didn't find what Pat was looking for, "77 Sunset Strip."  I think we found that later, the marker in the ground was covered by construction going on. Pat was disappointed but not me.  I was living the dream, walking the fabled Sunset Strip.  A place that I have heard so much about.  Thus began our first day in La La Land.  As Lawrence Welk would say, "Wonderful! Wonderful! Wonderful!"


Pat at The House of Blues