California Ho! (aka Day One)


Disney HallSo I’m here in El Lay.

The flight over was fairly uneventful, other than the fact that it left JFK 90 minutes late, due to

  1. a failed APU on the ground—in short, they had to call AAA and get someone to jumpstart the airplane
  2. having to de-ice the damn thing.

See, when I got up Saturday morning at 5 a.m., I didn’t bother to lookout the window—so when I actually left the building, I swore up a small storm on account of the entirely unexpected snow. Fortunately, my cabbie seem’d experienced in the ways of inclement weather and we got to the former Idlewild International Airport with plenty of time to spare. Thankfully, there were no traffic jams on the Van Wyck at 5:45 in the morning on a Saturday (this time).

As a side note, Jet Blue is perfectly acceptable. The plane went up, it came down, I watched TV. Not sure what all the hoopla is, but I wouldn’t mind flying it again.

So I landed at Long Beach Airport, which is rather amusing. The terminal area is tiny, and one ‘deplanes’ by getting out on those old-fashioned stairways that are trucked up to the plane. The airport itself is the old Douglas Aircraft (later McDonnell Douglas and now Boeing) field, where generations of exotic military aircraft first saw the sky; it’s still used by Boeing and various military planes can be seen parked opposite the passenger terminal (I spotted at least 3 C-17s and a B-1B).

Then I got in my brand-new rental car (Taurus—odometer reading when I got in was 26.3 miles) and drove a gazillion miles to Disney Hall in downtown LA, where I parked at a parking meter, took a chance on there not being any meter-maids in downtown LA on a Saturday afternoon, and bought a ticket for that afternoon’s performance of the LA Philharmonic.

After waiting forever to buy the (very expensive) ticket (something about how the ticketing computer was down so I they were doing everything manually), I went back up the hill to find one of LA’s finest in the process of preparing to issue a ticket to the only car on the block that didn’t have money in the meter.

As a side note, what kind of idiot flies all the way across the country and promptly goes to go see a symphony concert? I mean, 5.5 hours in a small narrow seat clearly wasn’t enough…

After explaining my situation (i.e. I had just flown in had just parked there to buy a ticket and was only in town for a couple of days and yes, the ticket was really really expensive), the officer told me to spend the money that I would have spent on the parking ticket on refreshments and drove away. Score one for common decency!

After that, I drove around downtown LA (yes, I got lost) looking for a place to eat. Clearly the lack of sleep was affecting my judgement.

The hall itself is visually spectacular, as you can probably tell from the photos. The concert was pretty good—the LA Phil ran through Beethoven’s 4th, Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto #2 and excerpts from The Three-Cornered Hat by de Falla with verve and brio. The sound inside the hall is superb—I was sitting right next to a wall and had no issues with it whatsoever. My main complaint was that I had been sold the single narrowest seat in the entire hall…

Then I drove up to Topanga, nearly got lost in the (spectacular) mountains, said hello to the friends I’m staying with and passed out fell asleep.

FYI: you might want to keep an eye on my Flickr stream [xml feed].


Glad you caught that symphony performance. Don't forget to gorge yourself on fish tacos and Cobb salads whilst in butt-town.

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