As we landed in Las Vegas, the two women in my aisle, who were visiting Las Vegas for the first time, were able to recite all the casino names by looking at the shape of the buildings. The myth of Las Vegas became reality for them on descent.
During my layover, I did not have a mountain of time. I had a protein bar and some chipotle chips for lunch. I decided not to gamble, inspired by my flight seatmates, who said they were there for the shows. I am not much of a gambler, anyway. I set a limit at 20 dollars lost or won. A man beside me in the waiting area won 60 dollars at a Wheel of Fortune slot machine. I felt fortunate vicariously. He cashed in his chips, or rather, got a slip of paper that said he won credits.
I landed in LAX after the second leg of my flight. It took an hour for the shuttle bus to come and deposit me at the Budget Rent-a-Car Fast Break area to pick up my Hyundai Elantra. I lived in Los Angeles County from 1990 to 2000, so I remain semi-literate in driving there (I was 4/5 literate when I lived there). Rather than pull up a google map to Long Beach, I got on that five p.m. parking lot south called the San Diego Freeway.
The drive to Long Beach is only 30 miles or less south. I drove in bumper to bumper traffic moving slowly and listened to good radio on KXLU, as a collegian DJ named Braden played an eclectic mix of electronica from here, there and yon. I came upon one of those LA Story electronic highway signs. It told me that I still had 20 minutes just to get to the Long Beach Freeway, also a parking lot at that time of day. I tired of going at less-than-bumper-car speed.
I decided to head down to the Pacific Coast HIghway. I thought at first that this was a mistake, as the drive from the 405 to the PCH was longer at this point in the south bay than it would have been at, say, Manhattan Beach. But after zipping through Torrance and into Lomita, I came upon the PCH. This was a breath of fresh air--storefronts and fast food places of all kinds and little traffic. Eventually, I went through San Pedro, Wilmington and to Long Beach, leaving the Pacific Coast Highway and getting on that highway with an number like 47 which goes right by the coast and involves impossibly high bridges. I passed thousands upon thousands of shipping containers at the port, as the hard-working sea port areas came into view. Finally, I was at Ocean Boulevard in Long Beach.
I checked into my hotel, the Renaissance. I called my wife. I had trout and grilled zucchini at a place with Pier in the name that was very good. I saw a seagull on a flagpole. I fell asleep quite early, as the travel exhausted me.
Downtown Long Beach, by the way, is now a proper destination. I had last been there almost five years ago. Then it was being fixed up a bit. Now one could easily spend a four-day-weekend there and find plenty to do without a car. I was amused when one of my fellow vehicles on a side street was a 30something man on a skateboard. It's too bad I did not get a chance to visit the aquarium or go walk on the beach. But I chose dinner and a bit of sleep.
Wednesday morning I got up early and went to attend to a business matter. This and a call or two afterward took until Noon. Then I walked back to my hotel and got my rental car. I headed to El Dorado Regional Park. This Long Beach park features reclaimed land which has a nature center, a walking path in the woods, and picnic areas, all of which are rare in Long Beach. I saw both American and Lesser Goldfinch, but in general did not see much wildlife. I enjoyed the walk, though.
I used google maps to get to LAX. The map took me via the Marina Freeway. I made it to the rental car place in good order, and on to my flight in plenty of time. I walked in LAX prior to my flight, looking for something to eat. I lamented that although once one could only get a hot dog or a slice of pizza at most airports, now it's hard to find something similarly fast. Just when I made my tidy mental conclusion, I saw that a place offered hot dogs to go. I bought one and enjoyed it thoroughly.
My flight took off late. I watched television on my laptop via Southwest Airlines. I got home nearly at eleven.
I overslept a bit on Thursday, which is unlike me. I got to work at 9:50 a.m. I had a busy day Thursday, with lots of client work and lots of administrative things to do. I walked in Travis Farm Park at lunch. I had my "new" eBay zoom camera, a used Fujifilm S9900W I got very reasonably-priced on eBay. I had had a similar but earlier model one before, so I found its use easy. I got a good picture of an Eastern Bluebird, a bit young, enjoying the shade of tiny tree.
Thursday night I went to Dallas Volunteer Atttorney Program at the Garland Salvation Army. We had 36 clients attend. We had 3 attorneys attend. I did not get home until 11 p.m. We watched Ariana Grande sing "Natural Woman" on television in tribute to the great Aretha Franklin, who passed away Thursday.
Aretha's music really was the soundtrack to an era.
I am tired this morning but eager to have my Friday. Two of the three pairs of new glasses I ordered are ready for pick-up. I hope the third pair gets ready today.
from Dreamwidth, because two posts of the same text are twice as nice