This morning started out a little rough, with Dad poking his head into my room at 4am to wake me up and totally ignoring my pleas for a couple more hours. We were on the road at 5:10am. My last view of Sunderland was very dark and very cold (-14c). We got to the airport without incident, which is the first time in a long time that has happened. My last two trips there were marred by the Underwear Bomber (prompting dad and I to drive to LA) and a car failure on the 407 (leading to a limo ride the rest of the way). So, when the weather started calling for 20-30 cm of snow to start Tuesday night, I was pretty certain it would come early and we would have another airport adventure. But, the weather held out and we had a great drive.
Getting through customs was a little tricky, as they sent me into secondary check because of my former Green Card status. After lounging in there for over 1 1/2 hours, I chatted to a guy for 2 minutes and was sent through, unlike the woman sitting next to me, who left the room in tears with a police escort. Yikes. When I got to my gate, they told me that the plane had been switched to a smaller plane and the 9 of us would not be able to be put on; me included. When they made the final boarding call there were still about 10 people missing, so my group of hopeful castoffs got excited. Until one by one, the late comers arrived. When it was all said and done, there was one seat left that would go to the person who had booked first. It was me! I felt a little bad leaving my group behind, but that only lasted until I got to my seat and realized what had happened. I was in First Class! But not just any first class…the kind with the personal little bedrooms. And seated to my right…Kareem Abdul Jabar. The poor guy is so tall that even with the expansive seating arrangement, he was all folded up and squished in. He was having trouble sleeping so I gave him my neck pillow. At the end of the luxurious flight (after the freshly baked cookies on white linen were delivered) he told me I was a sweetheart and I gushed a little. 🙂
Leaving LAX was the first experience I have had with transit here. To be honest, I had always thought LA didn’t have any public transit. I hopped on the FlyAway bus to Union Station and took the subway to Hollywood/Western. When I came up from the underground, I was going to look for a cab but the weather was so nice and I knew where I was going, so I decided to walk to Bruce and Paula’s new house. What a fantastic neighborhood this is! The houses are big and very nice, the Hollywood sign is off to the left, the Observatory is off the to right, and cafes are just around the corner.
After dumping my stuff, I decided to go for a walk up through the trails at the end of the road. After a 10 minute walk from the house, I was in the woods of the Hollywood Hills. It was so nice out and the view kept getting better and better, so I kept walking further and further. I ended up at the top of the hill right at the Hollywood sign, just as the sun was starting to turn red. What an incredible view!
After I got back to the house, we had a delicious dinner and sat around chatting about all kinds of things. It is so comforting to know that I can go from my home with my amazingly supportive and loving family, to the opposite coast in another country and still be surround by more awesome family.
Next, we are heading to Venice beach for a bit. Then I am off to Redlands, and on Sunday I am off to Rarotonga. As Lauren would say, “I love life!”.