Category Archives: Los Angeles

Past trips: California – attempting to finish up the notes on the California trip (distant memories and scratchy mobile phone typing skills)

LA – Burbank – memory bit 1

It’s getting to a while ago now, that trip to California though I never did get round to ending that bit of brain dumping before the space was entirely formatted to make room for nothing that I can inmedidley identify.

Long Island ice tea or some sort of variant upon it, that much I do remember having along with my dinner. The plastic friendliness of the waiter was slightly less and the food though I have no recollection of what it was, was decent.

The Long Island ice tea relative was pretty good and after a couple there was bit of a base layer. We’d attempted a look at what looked like a prospective place of life and populous on our pre-dinner rounds, doing a recon mission just behind it boarders. Whatever it was was up some stairs and that’s about where I had gotten to, enough to hear the unwelcoming hollow echo of a none frequented upstairs. With such unsuccessful memories of our first circuit of the town centre in mind Mitch took up his third or forth favourite thing and began to enquire about local places with the nearest service sector person he could find.

For it is well understood and known in the small circle of familiars that it is the serving up of food or the standing behind of bars than can most entice Mitch, though being by most standards relatively withdrawn and passive in such matters a brief bought of conversation is about the level to which this will generally evidence itself to the world.

This was a male service sector person, who I believe had been doing something on the military previously – so his interest was simply in some generally unnecessary verbal exchanges that resulted in Us getting to know some barest minimum things about a chap we shall almost certainly never come upon again and which can’t be transferred as learnings to any boarder world experiences… These then are the types of things you get to know and clog up limited memory space with, when one of your number feels the need to share and insight back a form of polite acknowledgment response sharing.

He did mention some bars one of which seemed like we probably had missed it on our earlier circuit, somewhere additional to see if it contained the trace elements of life. With that information successfully gleaned and tucked under our arms it was time to head on out, to see what we might see in the night hours in Burbank.

LA – Burbank – memory bit 2

It was not immediately findable this other bar, the others all congregated around two central squares, this as yet undiscovered one had snuck of and located itself on the corner one further horizontal or vertical (depending on ones perspective) street down, not part of the generally accepted huddle.

The karaoke here, for while it was well populated, it was a theme bar from that seemingly much mourned 50s / 60s time of happy days and today it was having its karaoke time, was not up to San Francisco next top pop star standards, remained superior to what is customarily inflicted back home.

If memory serves this place had pints and with all the general to-ing and fro-ing time passed well enough. Groups were clearly in mini competitions with their friends as one got up after another and again sole seemed to put the performance first steering clear of the the types of beverages that would be the very rational for most Brits to be frequenting such a place. Soft drinks are after all for the designated deliver and there should be at least 4 or 5 others for each of these.

The evening had passed into night some time ago, it was enjoyable enough, relaxing, in a diverting but basically uneventful sort of way, until eventually it seemed to make more sense to begin the stretched out largely straight meander back to the safari inn .. Or whatever it was called – shall surely be reminded when it comes time to rifle about in the accompanying photos.

Bar Burbank SportsSafari Inn Burbank

LA – memory bit 3

This was our one full remaining day in the USA and the question, which at some no longer recalled point was answered, what to do with it?

We had our car but hearing bad things about central LA or for whatever other reason, perhaps simply wishing to try for ourselves the U.S. Interpretation of a public service, we opted to head for the train station instead. For that was the day’s intent, to pay a visit to Central LA.

It was quite hot out and although we arrived rushing at the station with only moments to go until the departure time, the train did not.
We could have dumped our tickets and headed back to the car but it was a 15 min walk and the talk was of a 30 min delay. Talk was wrong, the more local people who shared the platform were scarce and though few trains came or went in either direction it became clear from the utterances being expressed that this challenge of operating a functional train service was not an uncommon one in these parts. Disgruntled persons melijgered and we waited it out, regretting not have more swiftly returned for our car because clearly that what people around here are meant to do – take to the overly congested road system and soak it up.
You could argue that the train did eventually come or you could suggest that intact it never arrived and that what we all eventually got onto was in fact the next scheduled service, that had been due to run anyway that considerable time later.

Burbank Train Station

It was so so very hot, the train had been a pleasant temperature controlled escape but now it really was quite something. My brain could barely cope with or without none to fashion statement hat shade, I could feel the heat melting things upon which I felt myself generally reliant. Water, shade
🚈🚶🏼☀🌞😓😝😜😡😜😜

At a cross roads we stood opposite a palatial great monument of a building in opulent splendor that transpires to be the police hq, not quite the prefabricated relic of glorified shed more customarily seen scaring towns throughout the UK with its 50/60s blight. To our right a road ran alongside, shopping trot after shopping trolley some forming an upright support to s modest test of unpleasant looking materials, a vast unedifying row of destitution and homelessness, a mini shanty town before the glass towers that were soon to commence before us.

LA HomelessHomeless Street Trolleys LALA Police HQ

You could hope that with a fresh start and so much knowledge of our mistakes, that the new world would have been somehow more than what it left behind. Instead the extent to which its stuck in a modern incarnation our past, a dismally disappointing retrograde step, rendering it at best perhaps as a glaring warning to us all, of what can be allowed to happen if you learn only how to do wrong from the wrongs that are done to you. It is not the sight of such warped priorities that is the warning, those can be seen in part wherever you go, it’s not even the unabashed extremes in which it displays itself, it’s the apparent devotion to it all, a blight of the mind with no sign of fading into time. It’s kind of a tragedy for all of us, though less selfishly it’s a more present and less abstract one for the people whose trollies lined that street.

Meanwhile my head was embarking upon an attempted tail spin, lightly steamed and loosing traction with itself and things in general. Never have been wholly stunned to the hotter climate leaving my brain captain looking and trying to wrestl back control from assorted members of his crew who overcome had either downed tools and started running around in circles or were at there post cackling manically to themselves.

We found an underpass, it was shady, cool and had a shop which had among its available produce assorted options of bottled water, most gratefully purchased.

Still we were exploring the city on foot, conducting the now quite familiar exploratory circuit but on the full glare of the midday sun, it went somewhat easier with those bottles, melting was a more gradual process but it was a process beneath the high glassy buildings of the somewhat sterile streets.

LA City CenterLA Square BuildingLA Street Towers LA Sky ScrapperLA City Center Sky ScrapperWhite Pointy Building in Los AngelesLA Train Station

After training it back I rather imagine I took once more to the pool, what with the temperatures and all.

As evening fell we headed of to the much recommended universal studios walk way – neither of us could muster the beginnings of an understanding for why anyone would ever recommend a person to venture to these parts. A cheap sort of open air shopping center consisting only of those stores that you would never normally or now venture toward.

There was the large universal globe spinning, we took photos of that because we were here and left.
This is going to sound terribly grouchy but we then headed for Hollywood boulevard, because we were here and it seemed like a logical thing to see while we were here. Finding a space was challenge and by then it was dark, the area was properly grim, unclean and aside from some stars embedded in the paving with which to play spot the name of someone famous, there was truly little to see. We took a picture of one those more famous stars that we happened upon, never saw the Harrison ford one and returned to our car.

Universal Studios LA Universal Studios Globe LAHollywood Audey Hepburn Star

Getting out of there proved tricky and the return to Burbank, defeated in our aim to find an alternative place of interest to eat and take in the evening, took some time. Late for dinner we dumped the car in a side road close to Burbank center, saving some precious walking time and went to seek out something that met our standards, something that was still serving.

We ended up at a Chinese, I like Thai, I like Japanese, Korean, i like many of these countries foods very much indeed. This was a Chinese restaurant, carefully chosen through the merit of being all but next door to our initial choice who had welcomed us in but then confessed to having supply issues with any number of the theoretically available dishes on their menu.

Still we’d gotten about and seen the sorts of things that ought to be worth taking in, the fact that they weren’t was almost secondary.

What to do after dinner was a problem, the options there were, had been fairly much explored yesterday and now we could repeat or not, if not then what?

We dillied and dalied about the place, one foot in one foot out and turn it all about, eventually returning to the place we’d turned out back on the day before, the place with the echoing upstairs, today the only place with a semblance of life about it.

Upstairs a tribute band that had barley escaped the 80s, but suffering overly from Stockholm syndrome had opted to take a great deal of it with them, they were offering up some of their once favourites now one might suspect painfully familiars. For all that they weren’t bad. Getting served at the bar that was the primary issue.

It was uneventful or if there was an event then it was the sort that has subsequently faded.

LA – last day memory bit

On the last day the flight was not until the early evening so there remained much of a day at our disposal.
We took to the car and drove off, first toward the Hollywood sign, the roads were not really overly sign posted and grew into quite narrow mountain side tracks.
Unclear on how close the road got to the thing we would drive along and see where it took us, stopping of once briefly before deciding that if we followed it further we could surely get closer.

So it was, though movies where people loiter or sit upon the signs, this was not, up up there upon a hill there were letters – that is all.
We passed a bunch of congregating people and headed on, perhaps there was a better view of a footpath that bent up to get a person closer.

As we stood taking the look we are here photos two others materialised and wondered up to us, they were young and with an accent that I couldn’t immediately be place. I think they wanted us to take their photos before the famous sign.
It transpired they were German as we transpired to not be American either, one was here to do an internship with a politician somewhere up the coast -around where we’d been earlier in the week and would be out here for a while yet. There is something pleasantly direct often about the Germans a thug about their apparent cultural norm that makes a lot of sense to me.
To my mind the priority was seeing about potential path ways up, as pleasant as these two were the sense that there must be some sort of route up the hillside occupied thoughts, there was not, least not one that was located, merely some signs warning people that patrols were armed in these parts or something to that effect. And why not.

Hollywood SignLA Hollywood SignNo Access Hollywood SignArmed Guard Sign LA

We now took a diverted route back to the coast, via Beverly Hills. It didn’t need a sign, suddenly and out of nothing the roads were pleasant, they had grass verges, the properties set back and looked like they had been build with more than the next 20 years in mind. The thing snot the place were the vivid lines of division and brazen stark contrasts, there was not doubt though, this was aesthetically at least a very nice place to be living. We weren’t stopping and drove on though, onward toward the coast.

This is where LA seemed at its best, mile upon mile of golden sand beeches accompanied by attractive little town/villages. If you wanted a beech holiday and didn’t mind a bit of flying then this was certainly a fine place to come.
Most of the time was spent in leisurely coastal driving though we did stop off briefly on a couple of occasions.

The destination end point at which we were to turn around was to be where we’d started, that first evening with ‘uv gawht it’ waiter and his not so substantially supported general utterances. When we got there or there about and wondered the pier, the realisation that this wasn’t half as nice as some the areas we’d passed through on route was not a hard one to stumble upon.
We took to the speeder highways and headed back toward the airport but first toward one of those pleasant little beech side areas that lay close o it. We would have out last hour or so and out pre flights meal intake there instead.

Long Beach Pier LAOne rather large burger later time was more than up, the car needed unfortunately (for I’d grown all together to attached to the oversized road blimp) to be returned, fuel filled and the game of guess the top amount played, then bus it back to the terminal and prepare for the Ryan air reject flight that would be the first leg of our return journey – this time via New York.

LA Beach FrontBeach Front LALarge Burger LA


Arriving into New York we made our way as promptly as possible to our connecting gate…Mitch having studied the time and mentioned it was a close run thing … It was closed, no sign of anyone, we’d missed it.

So of to the United desk with us and a query of what next … Now this was both good news and somewhat oh I c news at the same time – our flight had not gone, it would not be going anywhere for some time, Mitch was very much on California time and had therefore come to a flawed conclusion on the nature of our situation.
There was time for sitting, time for breakfast (it was not the finest, scrambled eggs and bacon-esk offering in a transparent plastic receptacle contact- visually more appealing than digestivley) and pointless drifting wondering about circuits.

NY Airport Food

Then it was time to head home.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/QWLUpt2gb3kr1ali2

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Past Trips – California – Los Angeles Departing [6]

Once Mitch had returned from his run, freshened up and had his breakfast we were good to go.

LA Airport Road Congestion

LA Airport Road Tunnel Congestion
Leaving Los Angeles – Getting Past The Airport Area

Route Map California LA

First Stop – Existing LA we stopped at Venice Beach. This was not the nicest, a poor start as a puddle of urine musty smells greeted on getting out of the Jeep, but as places along the the LA coast this was probably the least up there, places to go.

Venice Beach LA USA

Venice Beach CA USA

Venice Beach Lifeguard Hut

Venice Beach CA Skate Board

Reaching the pacific
Feat into the Pacific Ocean

Pacific Ocean Waves CA

Venice Beach CA Shops

Venice Beach LA Road
Moving On

Second Stop – We stopped shortly after at Santa Monica Beach. Quite a bit more pleasant than Venice Beach, it was also just a passing stop off but with the on beach exercise areas, path ways and general way of the place it was very much nicer than Venice Beach.

CA Santa Monica Beach Life Guard Car

LA Santa Monica Beach Cyclists

CA Santa Monica Beach

LA Santa Monica Beach Segway

Santa Monica LA roller coaster

 Excercise CA Santa Monica Beach Fun Park

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Past Trips – California – Los Angeles Departing [5]

The following morning started with breakfast, Mitch wasn’t about having gone out for a morning run, a compulsion which hasn’t managed to ensnare me as yet, nope i get to wake up gently and consider where to engage in some much needed sitting, hours will have past without sitting by then..

In unrelated news, not quite the slimness that i used to have..

The exact sequence of things is lost on me here, Mitch had left the room key under the back Tyre of the jeep, rather than take it along, while I’d woken up with renewed intent to get to grips with the theoretically simplistic dodgem driving that ought to have been, the automatic… It was time to try again, I’d put all the contribution of others to one side and reflected again on the simplicity of it all, one peddle made it go the other stopped it from going, there was no need for a second foot to get involved at any point, being as going and stopping at the same time is most seldomly required.
Before heading off on the road trip, with proper roads, real other driver traffic, with their wrong minded right hand side of the road driving (familiar from past trips in continental Europe), it was best to work out whether yesterdays fail was real or a matter of brain based befrazzlement now past.. i did feel a whole lot more present in the day this morning.

I took the keys and unwatched headed down to the car park to discover my answer. Taking my time i put my left foot to one side, reminded myself it was just a stop and go thing, not like real driving more like a toy or computer came…. summed up belief and put it into reverse, the camera came on, the accelerator went down and backward i went, slowly gradually, like a learner … i releases the accelerator and pushed down the brake and for the first time the car came to a gradual peaceful and comfortable stop. There was no emergency cheese cutting courtesy of the seat belts, no highly undesirable and notably unrequired emergency stop action, a pleasing and reassuring start.
Pushing the auto shifter forward i accelerated away, around the hotel i went a feat well beyond my talents yesterday. The main challenge arising when a lone individual found it necessary to take the car park … you go left-go right… there were no lines, it was a car park, i got out of the way, it seemed to be for the best. Went round a bit, like those electronic trikes and cars that you chuck a frank into (as a child) and then drive round and round in circles, used to rather look forward to those back in smaller younger days… Here and now, the circling of the hotel with ever increasing confidence didn’t quite hold the same allure or at least i felt that I’d answered my question and proved a point to myself.. With that achieved i put the jeep back where I’d found it, returned the room key to its location behind the wheel and headed back in, quite pleased, a bit relieved with how things had gone and maybe wondering abut quite how this had posed the insurmountable problem it had been yesterday.. Amazing how shit i can generally become when tired, its like the brain decided to recoil from all but the most rudimentary functions with quite unjustifiable zeal… like storing up fat or retracting blood from the extremities to keep the core nice and cozy .. quick stop his ability to drive and any other remotely advanced function …. retract retract … no none core functions shall remain in play, save the core …. lest he forget how to maintain basic bodily functions.

There is no justifiable need.

Speaking of which disposable crockery and cutlery – so it doesn’t need washing but in what other way is this an advantageous, i wasn’t on a picnic, there didnt seem any need for bendy resistance averse plastic knives and forks and what was with the paper bowls. The sight of this did not seem promising as i arrived on the ground floor for breakfast.

Breakfast disposable crockery

Despite appearances and in line with appearances the breakfast offering itself.

First the cereal stage and this, it was very much in line with appearances, pieces of unnaturally flavoured pieces of cardboard and plastic, i couldn’t quite work out what it was meant to be flavoured toward but whatever it was, it wasn’t or if by chance this was deliberate then why?

Kelloggs Crunchy Nut Box
The Cereal That There Wasn’t

Then the warm item stage, the despite appearances bit.. I’d never encountered a perfectly round scrambled egg, not almost round perfectly so, a scrambled egg wheel in almost exact same symmetrical proportions to what they were calling sausage but looked a whole lot more like a burger. Perhaps that’s what happened way back when on the boats.. over those first 200 miles of the crossing (and it must have been a long crossing back in the wind puffing power only days) all them Z’s started to sneaking into the words, cookoo z’s .. the decks of those ships must have been strewn with the colourful letters thrown from the comfort of the familiar nests of their family words.

Magnet Letters Colourful

Then on the last leg of the journey food stuff confusion broke out after weeks of sea sickness and diminished supplies of fresh water… This may well not be what happened – after all i rather thought burgers had originated from these parts, so what was it that made this a sausage?

I was surprised to find that something of such high spec symmetry should have such an acceptable taste to it. It was impressive stuff, geometrically speaking – toast, orange juice, an unlimited (within consumable reason) abundance of Tea, a reasonable way to prepare for the day.

Breakfast Scrambled Eggs, Toast, Orange Juice

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Past Trips – California – First Night [4]

For reasons i cant entirely recall as evening came we choose Long Beach for our first excursion and night in California.

Road California - Driving

We parked up down by the coast, there was a harbor of sorts, lots of little boats. The temperature was comfortable as the sun set to falling, we wondered around and looked about, before heading into town.

Long Beach Boats

Marina Boats Long Beach California

Queen Mary Ship Long Beach

Long Beach Coast

Long Beach Map

The town was awash with activity, it seemed largely to based along a central road that ran up from the coast, though I’m sure had we had more time we’d have found more areas offshoots to the side. Restaurants and bars more than enough to choose from, too many perhaps, tired minds and choices, one is not so conducive to the other.

Long Beach LA

LA Long Beach Tram

Alegria Cocina Latina Long Beach

We wound up at the Alegria Cocina Latina – the dinner was pretty good, though i still had little control or capability going on in my thoughts, fatigue had the better of me and no doubt.

http://www.alegriacocinalatina.com

Here we made a mistake, not a significant one but a small one that probably came of being a bit new. The waiter was very friendly, enthusiastic, too much for me but Mitch is always more inclined toward engaging with the people and this was enough to support such instincts.
Everything we asked for was met with a swift, bouncing “y-o-u got(gaht) it” .. “anything i can do for you guys …” “Y-o-u gaht it…”

His expulsions about matters cause Mitch to take him up on his apparent desire to be helpful and ask about the area, about what were the more interesting and more frequented areas? that sort of thing. It swiftly transpired that taking his offers as literal was a mistake, he actually wasn’t from the area, hadn’t much in the way of thoughts or experience which he was able to share. It was perhaps a broad and generalised intention to offer up helpfulness rather then a realised, specific deliverable… like … i wish i could fly right up to the sky … quite right too, who wouldn’t like to do that .. or asking for ‘world peace’ like they do in miss congeniality.. it did sound more like an actual intention in this instance, but you know – early days.. confused, beleaguered mind… who really knew what was going on – Not me.

It was all of little matter anyhow as by the time dinner was done and the duskiness of before was night and neither of us had much regard for undertaking much more than heading back. There was just the smaller matter of bladder discomfort, which was realised belatedly, after the restaurant had been left. Back by the marina and near the car there were public toilets, some locked but not all, which initially seemed quite handy, that was until you entered.. So unpleasant, so very deeply, mightily unpleasant, really no need… NO need at all.

Long Beach Public Toilet Lovliness

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Past Trips – California – Los Angeles Arrivial [3]

My bag arrived at the second time of asking and with that we were of to Alamo to pick up our car.

There was quite the queue and one of the attendants suggested we use the automated self service machines. It wanted to sell us add-ons, one of them seemed quite advisable, a Sat-Nav, it was tempting but cost a good half of the car rental which seemed a little unnecessary.

Eventually i’d prodded my way through the various pages, along with some forward a bit back a bit dithering eventually settling on not adding the Sat-Nav. Unlike anything we’d seen before, we were not allocated a car, instead we were just offered up a receipt and sent out, there was little more too it when we got outside, where we were pointed in the direction of the cars and told simply to pick our own from those available.

We’d selected sports utility with a view to a Toyota Rav4, as the example given on the websites.. There was a Rav4 but there were also others and among those other a big big old Jeep, very shinny and new looking. We loitered around it, sort of half selecting the Jeep before becoming uncertain, it was rather large pointed out Mitch, much larger than anything we were accustomed to, unnecessarily so… also maybe it was parked in the wrong location, it didnt look much like the other vehicles parked around it, looked like it belonged among the more premium options.

Eventually we did load up, it seemed wrong not to try it.. they could always turn us back on attempting to leave if we had picked up a vehicle to which we were not entitled. Mitch wanted to drive and i wanted to sleep, which worked out most well as i settled into the passenger seat and Mitch set to attempting operate the bulk of this thing.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Alamo

We’d inadvertently booked a hotel that it now turned out was on the same road as this car hire pick up place. The chap at Alamo had been quite friendly and although he didn’t know about our hotel was able to point us in the right direction. No one stopped us as we drove out, so that was us on our way, the Road trip would then be us and the Grand Cherokee, it had a large screen in the center which provided a rear view camera when reversing but now just displayed the radio station and song information. That was not all, there was a sound system management thing to balance out what levels of sound were to be emitted from where, seat and temperature control bits and … most handy … most most handy and fortunate – a Sat-Nav.. a built in, not additional accessory, Sat-Nav all of our own ..

The hotel proved almost as easy to find as a hotel that’s on the same road as your already on ought to be, only more road than expected, further, far enough to begin to sow the seed of ‘have we over shot things somehow’ doubts.

Springhill Suites Marriott Los Angeles

The hotel was not close to very much, there was some sort of Tram or Train depot visible from the window, there were roads and other hotels about the place. A convenient spot for the first day, after the airport wise but didn’t appear so central to anything interesting.
Had we been more familiar with the surrounds and more awash with energy, then in actuality we were only ten or fifteen minute drive from the some pretty nice coastal spots. But we were not so aware of the location of things or for that matter ourselves at this point and for me at any rate the energy rates were not really there for doing so very much.

I have little recollection of anything much filling the hours after arrival, i can only assume some rest and possibly studying of the tourist guide books or TV watching. Nothing due recollection.

I did attempt to drive the vehicle, an automatic, Mitch explained how it worked and i became confused by what had previously seemed an altogether simpler proposition. It did not go well, with my left foot choosing to get itself involved in proceedings, i never realised how specialised my right foots skill at operating a brake peddle was, it was not one it had cared to share with the left one. This was now eminently clear and the whole thing seemed deeply confounding, if this was how it went in the car park then that would really not work out well on the road.. Any driving, for now at least, would need to be left to Mitch, he had that level of familiarity with automatics through his parents actually owning one and had proven more than competent at getting us this far.

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Past Trips – California – United and The Trip Out [2]

The queue at Chicago to get through Security was long and not swift too move, personal patrolled about barking instructions to what they clearly perceived to be the obdurate cattle stood all about them. The signs were poor and unsurprisingly some visitors had the air of the perplexed about them, though all were clearly equally welcome. The one with the dog was not small and found it objectionable that other people of slighter statue were queuing in their designated queuing location in such a way as to prevent the dog and her girth to pass with immediate ease. You get this at the smaller airports in Europe, were bored security officials congregate around the one flight of the afternoon too inspectionise most profusely the aliens who so clearly need to be most earnestly scowled at and probed. At the busy airports where the thousands visit, the attendants often seem either friendly or simply utterly detached, both are preferable.
If this approach has ever led to the successful singling out of a wrongen, then despite the apparent simplicity of many dedicated wrong doer, I would still be most surprised. With great power comes great responsibility … young apprentice … and these people had some responsibility too, you could tell, they had uniforms and an aggrieved tone.

By the time we reached the passport and documents inspection point we had gone past the boarding time of our connection, nervous energy about missing the flight past, that outcome seemed clear enough. To chap in the passport bit was actually friendly and we passed through to the bit where you pick up your luggage and get asked whether you’re a farmer … the man in front confessed to keeping some chickens but was none the less aloud to pass through this bit without additional review. Neither of us keep chickens and though I do have Cockatiels I don’t farm them in any way, it would be a niche industry. We were also allowed to pass on through. Directly afterwards we were asked to hand over our bags, two queues that we were told were to the same ends, transfer flights… perhaps we would somehow be catching our connection after all. Perhaps it was the flight and early start, it was not the question, we had both encountered inquiries about fruit and food matters on previous trips, what made it memorable here was the earnest divulging of chicken. With more clarity it’s a fair point, when on the spectrum of: occasionally encountering a pet, keeping ants, wondering through farmers fields because you live in a rural way, having a pet, keeping a number of beasties for a hobby, having a green house, seeking to become self sufficiency, production for sale, through to industrialised land based production.. where on this array of randomly selected milestones does one formally fall into the category of farming… this fellow for one was clearly unsure, best to ask.

Transferring across the terminals was easy at Chicago, a monorail that went from one to the next, until back through security we went and on to our gate. We were the last two I think, I still had my seat but Mitch had had has seat reallocated and they seemed to be engaged in some seat discovery at the desk. The flight to LA is not a short one, I was a little surprised to find this internal flight was being operated by an aircraft that might have been owned my Easyjet and Ryanair back before they both established themselves and opted to invest in an up to date fleet, the well aged 737, the Boeing of choice in the 90s and now largely found seeking refuge among charter airlines or developing nations. Not that unusual to be seen, just a bit unexpected on such a long flight for such a well established airline.

Jet airways had operated one of these out of Nepal but it was newer and came with cinema entertainment systems and was generally quite nice.. Jet Airways were really very good actually, the flight back to Italy from India while all but empty was also a very new, very comfortable flight, with totally functional entertainment system and assorted movies to choose from – Jet Airways, Big Tick.

You could pay for some films on the credit card swipe system but given everything I wasn’t inclined, it may have been a fine collection of silent movies with a couple of talkies thrown in …that wasn’t it, the movies were new enough, some of them had even been sufficiently well resources to warrant a full cinema release, like WIFI at a remotely decent hotel you expect it (there was free wifi at the basic hotel we occasionally stayed at in Kathmandu) and paying for it seems somehow wrong.

Beneath the sky was very clear, large green fields sprawled out beneath, I napped, when I woke the same shapes were still there in every visible direction, I woke again some time later and similar shapes had become browner. It was quite the expanse down there, an expanse filled with apparently very little, an occasional hut, shack or house seemed to be present, it was hard to tell from this distance, little more.

I had another friendly person alongside me on this leg of the trip, this time a middle aged chap who lived somewhere north of LA up along the coast, probably somewhere we’d be driving past. He had a thing about artichokes, apparently they were a big thing in the area, he told me about how farming was a massive thing for California and about the lack of rains and massive droughts that recent years had brought that was one thing, that and the artichokes, the ski resorts and traffic issues surrounding driving into down town LA, these were the main topics of recollection.

Beneath there was what looked like dessert, red, orange, brown, the dry ground with cuts carved into it. I couldn’t really tell what was caverns and depth and what was just lines forged in the landscape but it made for quite fascinating viewing, there was even an unexpected river and lake at one point amongst the long dry apparent nothingness.

Flight LA

Dessert View Flight To LA

Dessert River USA

We arrived, Mitch’s bag arrived, mine did not.
A particularly unhelpful baggage area attendant proved particularly unhelpful.
I headed to the United desk.. rifling about for signs of my baggage receipts, finding a bunch of stuff and handing it over..
They were quite helpful and told me my bag was following along and had been loaded on the next flight, rather tired by this point I inquired how one had made it and the other not, when they’d been handed over together, she didn’t know but took no offense, none had been intended. I couldn’t get it and somewhat bye the bye without hope that they could really explain had just shared my bemusement at what had occurred. In the scheme of things this was pretty good, an hour or so and the flight would arrive, meant not too long to wait until the bag would make its appearance in LA.

LA LAX International Airport

We set of in search some Tea, an effort which proved greater and a tea that proved more elusive than you might reasonably expect. Into terminals we went, questions were asked of people but no coffee shop was seen.. one chap thought there was a workers café down the drop off road a way and across, we never found it. It was hard to fathom, this was the USA home of commercialising things how were they not set up to cash in the captive airport audiences even in the departure areas… by now we’d gone upstairs away from arrivals, still nothing.
The Terminal we’d arrived at was the last, all in a long straight line it seemed, it was grotty, the most grotty of each that we visited but the whole place was rather tired looking and grim. Somewhere three or four terminals later we found it… a Starbucks – UK tax avoiders, specialists and chiefs along with Amazon – you may take our money but you will never contribute to our freedom, well being and education and thus our broader economic prosperity and happiness – thanks for that.
They do though have tea, not good tea, but actually it was alright and the chicken sandwich thing actually seemed to have whole juicy pieces of chicken in it, it was really pleasant surprise, really very nice … the tax avoiding bastards … very nice

As I write this I am sat in departures at Zurich airport – and someone is cycling across the tarmac out there, across from Terminal B to Terminal A – gently slowly peddling their way across .. the weirdest thing, well perhaps not but on the scale of thing unexpected things to see while looking out the giant windows of Zurich its on there.

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