Saturday, January 23, 2016

Our Flight to Los Angeles and Landing



Now it seems so long ago but it was only Monday, January 11th, almost two weeks ago that I met Pat in Philly for our American Airlines flight to Los Angeles.  The flight took off at about 1:30 PM in the afternoon, depositing us six hours later in Los Angeles just in time for darkness to descend and rush hour.  What was I thinking?  I think what I was thinking was that I didn't want to get up real early in the morning like I did last year in order to avoid the maddening crowd at the airport.  Guess what folks?  Anytime of day there is a maddening crowd at the airport.

Our flight was about a half an hour late in take off but we made up that time.  The flight was totally full.  Since Pat and I don't travel first class nor are we any kind of priority flyers, we had to wait almost to the end to board the plane.  While we were waiting we were getting constant warnings that the flight was "fully booked" and we may not be able to put our carry on luggage in the overhead bins.  Oh great.  Just what I like, going to baggage pickup at the end of the flight, praying that my luggage isn't lost.  The woman announced that there would be no charge if we decided to check in our luggage.  I was worried that I wouldn't have room so, against my better instincts I checked my luggage in.  And wouldn't you know it when I got to my seat, there was room in the overhead bin!  Great!  

Oh, by the way.  To back up a bit here, I had a helluva heck of a time getting through airport security.  When I first took a plane flight after 9/11, I was ushered through airport security as an Old Man.  I didn't even have to take my shoes off.  Not now.  I'm pulled aside and scanned and patted down.  Talked to roughly (I had my hoodie on and one of the TSA guys said "Didn't I tell you to take that off!?" - They got  the power man and they're using it).  Welcome to the police state that is called TSA. 




At least when I was about to be patted down (all body) the TSA grunt asked me "Do you want to do this in private or here?"  I said "Here".  What do I care? I've had the prostate biopsy and kidney stones.  I've been catheterized by strangers. I can no longer be humiliated.  I have no privacy anymore.  They already have a full body scan X-ray of my body. So getting on the plane I felt thoroughly violated and disrespected, which I was.  Welcome to the modern age of travel Ron. 

The flight was long an uneventful (thank goodness).  And as I said we arrived just at dusk (good timing Ron).  Then it was off to the baggage claim area to pick up my carryon which did not to be checked in after all.  



Thank goodness my carryon bag did appear and we were off in the twilight of the Los Angeles early evening to catch the Enterprise Shuttle bus to Enterprise car rental. Our experience at Enterprise was 100% better than our experience with American Airlines (stuffed in the plane for six hours like sausages and the TSA body violations). This is the second time we have used the Enterprise car rental in Los Angeles and we continue (especially me) to be impressed.  

Pat does the driving, being the excellent driver that he is (and I'm not).  My main concern is that I have enough leg room.  We checked out a Hyundai.  I had enough leg room so we rented it and were off into the Los Angeles rush hour night in search of a place to get sneakers for Pat.  More about that later in this post.

It wasn't too long until I realized I made a mistake with this Hyundai.  I had enough leg room but I felt like I was sitting on the floor, which actually I was. Plus, there was a gap in the seat where the small of my back fit into the seat. So here we were, driving around in the darkening evening hours of LA, looking for a Wal Mart or something like that to buy sneakers for Pat.  Pat always wears sandals. We had an 8:30 am appointment the next morning to appear on "The Price is Right" TV show.  One of the instructions was NO SANDALS.  I guess they are afraid that if someone runs and jumps up on the stage when called to "Come on down!" they're going to fall flat on their face.  So off into the night to look for sneakers for Pat. 

It didn't take too long to realize that this trip was beginning badly.  Here we are, trying to find our way around LA at rush hour, in the dark, with my iPhone GPS working overtime, looking for a place to buy sneakers. And my back is killing me because of our rental car that had me sitting practically on the ground.  Every time we stopped someplace and got out, I had to practically roll myself out of the car like the arthritic old man that I am.

Finally we found Marshall's (which Pat never heard of, "They sell sneakers?" he asked).  We found the sneakers ($30).  They passed Pat's "cool test" and we were off into the night to check into our bed and breakfast accommodations.  



But first we had to eat.  And where to eat?  Of course the Veggie Grill at 8000 Sunset, right in the heart of West Hollywood, across the street from the Chateau Marmot and the Laugh Factory (Kevin Nealon appearing).  


Pat standing line at the Veggie Grill - we love the Veggie Grill!
The Veggie Grill is our main eating destination when in West Hollywood.  I go vegan when I'm with Pat on our adventures.  And guess what, I don't miss the meat and dairy products at all.  Oh how I wish I had the vegan and veggie options here at LSD (Lower Slower Delaware) but that is not to be unless you call an iceberg lettuce, tomato and cucumber salad enough to subsist on.  

Pat and I enjoying a vegan meal with nary an iceberg lettuce leaf in sight - lentil soup, Yukon fries, and Bombay Bowl of goodies


But for all the hassle in getting to LA, we were now here.  All we had to do was check into our bed and breakfast, have a good night's sleep and get ready for the next ordeal, appearing on "The Price is Right" the next morning at 8:30 am.  And what an ordeal (five hours) that was folks.  That I will tell you all about in excruciating detail in my next blog posting.  You have been forewarned. 

18 comments:

  1. You're right Ron - two weeks ago this coming Monday. And I agree - arriving in the day time is a better choice. Just co ordinating the GPS with freeways and ramps is sometimes sketchy enough with the timing but then trying to read road signs and switch lanes makes for interesting travel. Californians really know how to drive. They know where they are going and want to get there - fast. But they are also the politest - willing to let others in front of them when their turn signal is on. Oh - I also hope later you mention The Revenant which we saw - and for which I don't really get what the big deal is about.

    Pat

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    1. Pat,
      I am so glad and lucky to have such an experienced driver as you to contend with that horrendous Los Angeles traffic. Can you imagine fighting that traffic everyday for your daily commute. So much waste of man-hours and fossil fuel. No wonder we have global warming. It's nothing short of amazing that we got through our ten days without a dent or a scrap on our rental Chevy Malibu. Hey. I just realized we went to Malibu in our Malibu!
      Ron

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  2. Pat,
    We absolutely have to do two weeks next year. If we did two weeks this year we would be leaving this Sunday night which is just about right. I find it takes me at least four or five days to relax and get into a vacation mode. Two weeks in California next year! It's done!
    Ron

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  3. Considering all that you guys had to do when you arrived in L.A., I think everything went remarkably well. Pat certainly deserves Kudos for driving in the traffic during rush hour. It was bad when I lived there....I can't imagine what a nightmare it is now. And, after all that, having to get up early to appear on "The Price is Right" (can't wait to hear about that!).

    Too bad you were "violated" by airport security. While they were frisking you, the Middle Eastern terrorists probably got through with no problems.....

    I'm writing this quickly, because there have been numerous power outages during this snowstorm - and I keep losing my Internet connection.

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    1. Jon,
      Pat is an excellent driver! He is patient, kind, caring and skilled. But then the Toronto traffic is also horrendous. The main difference between Toronto traffic and Los Angeles traffic is the number of lanes, LA has way more lanes. Also, the roads are wider (thank goodness). But the traffic is like a lava flow, absolutely scary.

      Airport security reminds me of Nazi Germany. Going out and coming back there were plenty of Middle Eastern types (young, semitic men). I have to say I didn't see them get the "going over" that I got. I think political correctness was in full force during my security checks. I didn't see any of those guys get patted down like I did.

      One of the bad things about living out in the wilderness (the woods) was the all too frequent power outages. When we lived in Pennsylvania (in the middle of the woods) the power went out at least once a month, usually more. Almost always because of tree limbs falling on power lines. The first big weekend to sell my house a terrific windstorm came through and the power was out four days! I was so glad to get out of that environment, no matter how beautiful living in the middle of the woods was. The last month here we had four power outages, one lasting over three hours, which was very unusual for this area (all flat land). Just as I was leaving for California (I love saying that, "leaving for California"), I received an e-mail from the power company apologizing for all the power outages. The cause of all the outages were different, it was just a freak timing they all happened within three days. Those power outages with my previous loss of my Internet connection and the hassle I had to go through with Comcast, had me rattled. Thankfully, we had no power outage (just two short blips) with this recent major winter snowstorm.
      Ron

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  4. Well, after reading about all those hoops and hurdles you had to traverse I'd say that LA has just dropped down my list of desirable destinations, though I realise that the biggest pain was in the getting there. However, it sounds like 'The Veggie Grill' alone might have made up for points lost.
    I await your next instalment with some apprehension.

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    1. "Hoops and hurdles" for sure Ray, that I (we) had to jump through to get to LA. But LA is an exciting place and so much to do and the weather, I'll take it any time. It is so tempting to just pull up roots and move there permanently. I can do without this cold and snow. However, this only lasts for about two months (January and February). I like to take ten days to two weeks in January to visit California just to "punch a hole" through the winter weather.
      Ron

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  5. You should have rented the little white Porsche convertible, instead of a Hyundai, You might not have been comfortable, but what a wonderful way to be uncomfortable.

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    1. David,
      The Chevy Malibu we rented was very comfortable. However, we did see a LOT of Porches whilst we were in West Hollywood. Next time we're renting a Fiat. Pat drives a Fiat now and I am very comfortable (passenger side has a lot of leg room) in it. Next trip coming up is Philly. We don't need a car there. We use the bus. Free transportation for us seniors!
      Ron

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  6. Ron,
    Firstly, hope you didn't get totally snowed under. We were promised here in our little corner of Virginia a trace amount of snow. Problem was the trace was deposited after the hours of rain which of course froze. OK, I planned for the worst so traveling was no problem.
    I can tell you that I do not fly anymore (unless necessary) just because of your experience. The last three times I flew I endured delayed take off, missed connections and as you said, rude TSA personnel. My last flight was for about 5 hours including layover. Missed the connection in Atlanta and was forced to stay an extra 3 hours in the airport. Also, my carry on luggage was in baggage (due to the same situation you had) so I had that extra worry. The other worry was that the flight home was the LAST flight of the evening. I now take the train if I have to go visit family and friends in Florida.
    Anyhow, welcome home, stay warm and dry.
    Jack

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    1. Jack,
      We dodged a bullet this time (thank goodness). I think we got about three or four inches and it is cold now but we didn't lose power although the lights did blip on and off a couple of times.
      Flying is an ordeal, I won't deny that. Once you get to the airport hours ahead of time and then go through the humiliating process of the security check then you wait. Then you board the plane like cattle all the while they're warning you they have a full flight (we had a "full flight" both to and from) and may not have room for your overhead luggage. There would be room if some of the people wouldn't bring their living room furniture and call it "carryon baggage." Some people are really pigs. Then you're stuffed in the plane for six hours out (only five hours back) like a sardine. I'm not fat so I can't imagine how uncomfortable squeezing into those narrow plane seats for someone really big. Thank goodness there was no crying baby on the way back but there was one on the way out, although she was way up front and I could hardly hear her (thank goodness). I would take a train but that costs just as much and takes forever. This country definitely has a long way to go for mass travel for the public. Now I am home, warm and dry (as I hope you are) and I intend to stay here until spring. Then we're off again, this time to Philly!
      Ron

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    2. Ha!

      28.9" here at BWI Airport...an all-time record snowfall!!!

      :-0

      -Andy

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    3. Andy,
      Sixteen degrees here this morning. Thirty-four degrees in Toronto. Los Angeles, 50 degrees. I'll take Los Angeles. Next year, I'll stay the whole month of January and February. Punch a real hole in winter.
      Ron

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  7. I am glad you two had a fine time and made it back safe and sound.

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    1. Dr Spo.
      Thank you. We had a few "bumps" during the holiday but nothing we couldn't overcome. Sure wish you and Someone could have met us in LA for fun and games. Maybe next year.
      Ron

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  8. Ron,
    Glad y'all made it back safe!! Sounds like we are in for a heck of a story about this trip!! As far as the pat down by the security guard, it might have been better if he would have been cute!! Cant wait to hear more about the Cali experience.

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    1. James,
      Actually, the pat down was rather pleasant. I don't even remember wha the TSA security person looked like but at least he was a male. I was slightly turned on when he asked "Do you want to do this in public or private?" I opted for public and glad that I did.
      Ron

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    2. Lol!! I love it!!

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