Friday, February 26, 2016

Day 1: LA (again)

Day 1: LA (again)

Yes, THB is back in LA, for a long weekend that includes visiting some favorite spots and sitting in J's LA Philharmonic seats at the Sunday matinee.

Best airport art anywhere

Just to make things more interesting, DB is along this time! We start out taking the exact same Southwest flight from the same gate that THB was on 2 weeks ago.

This time the LA airport car traffic is flowing briskly and we're out of the airport in no time.
Guess Obama is somewhere else today

Unfortunately, that means we're at Dollar rent-a-car where THB gets lobbied to use one of their fancy new video kiosks. So Agent Al starts leading THB through the check-in process. First up: please put in your credit card. No problema. Well, actually there is a problema: on the screen it shows the card sliding in vertically. On the machine, the card will only go in horizontally.

Is it a Nissan USB ports!

Hard to believe, Agent Al cannot see what THB's problem is (THB must the one thousandth person to get confused, and the agent is oblivious). Off-line, DB is doing some reconnoitering and finding out the locals are dealing with different versions of the kiosks....pretty slick implementation: fool everybody all the time!

After going through everything twice, Agent Al then tries to upsell THB by saying that they have a discount going on a more expensive car. Hmmmmm....the more expensive car plus the discount is still more expensive than the car THB has reserved. Maybe Agent Al can't see THB's face. 

THB and DB escape with the car we want, well almost: the guy trying to leave the lot in front of us appears to have decided to do his own upsell and is told to go back and get the size car he has paid for...THB has to now back up (and not, fortunately, over those spikes that are every car rental place).

I can see (cars) for miles and miles...

Off we go, it's about 1pm, and sure enough the 405 freeway (THB lived with a stone's throw of the 405 growing up, as did DB) is at pretty much a dead standstill. Well, it is to be expected, the thing probably only flows early in the morning on major holidays, even though they have upgraded it to have 6 or 7 lanes in each direction.
THB once actually pulled in to this gas station in Santa Monica and put in some gas (desperation). Note: in Phoenix gas is $1.50 a gallon now, so you can pay 4 times the rate here
Good news: Chris Martin (of Coldplay) is not hosting a teenager party today at the communal tables, so we get to sit down

Lunch at our fave Santa Monica spot when tending the parental units: Milo/Olive. Terrific Brussel sprouts salad, mushroom pizza with white sauce (bechamel?), toast (yes, THB ordered TOAST with lunch...$4 and a real treat, fresh from the wood burning oven), and ice tea, $55 total. 

Brussel sprouts salad, partly eated

What you get for $4...and it is excellent!

Do some random investigation of Santa Monica and the traffic isn't bad, the light rail construction appears to be calming down as they near the launch date in May. Phew, now the people in cars can get around!
A light rail station with public art in front

Stop off for a salad to-go and some vino to go with our leftover pizza: THB and DB have been staying out late too many nights in a row, we need a rest-up before dinner out tomorrow and the symphony on Sunday.

We're staying at the W in Westwood (for maybe the 7th or 8th time) and our room isn't ready. Rest up in a shaded cabana at the pool area, there are a lot of guys and no gals. 

We have a very nice set of rooms, one for blogging, one for dining, one for sleeping.

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