Becoming a California Girl

OK, so lets catch up on things so far. Not that there was really much to report for the first couple of days, but after today, there’s more than enough lol.

Wednesday: Flights were smooth enough, the bit in between was entertaining though. Now I knew that when I got to Atlanta, I could go to the automated machines to pass through Immigration, and that was the plan. Only…I ran into Miss Jobsworth, who insisted I had to go join the lengthy queue to go through Immigration in the old fashioned way. So, 15 minutes took an hour and a half, only to be told by the guy on the desk that I neednt be doing this. When I told him I knew that, and told him what had happened, his comment was something akin to “You must have run into…”, and he passed me through very quickly. Then when I finally got to security, something set the machine off (I have no idea what?), which slowed me even more. Eventually a 2.5 hour gap before boarding for the LA plan, ended up being just under 20 minutes!

Oh, and the shuttle. Now, whether the guy had given the right address or not (I think we ended up dropping him at the East address, and he’d given it as West), but the sat-nav didnt want to go in the right direction. Eventually the guy sorted out where he wanted to be, and we dropped him off. Finally (3rd drop in van), we got to me, but despite telling her we were at the right place, she sailed by, and in a narrow road, it took her a while to find somewhere to turn round. But finally, about 9.30, I arrived.

The apartment is cute, and I love it, but the bed really is something else. I knew I had to climb up (literally) to get into it, but its even better than the picture suggested. I will have to move the cases, and take a picture sometime! That was it, grabbed nightwear, and to bed. Bed is very comfortable, btw.

Yesterday, really little happened.I got unpacked, and settled in. Did some shopping, caught up on the net, and…not a lot else. I did go down to the Boulevard in the afternoon, but principally for a very nice ice cream, and that was it. I did go and visit Jean’s prints at the Chinese Theatre, and her star across the road, but that really was it.

So to today. The one main place I wanted to visit last time, and didnt get to, was Long Beach. Mainly to see the Queen Mary, but it looked an interesting trip anyway. Oh, right, for those with a memory, the metro line goes through Watts, and Compton. Made for an interesting crowd on the train, shall we say? Yes, I survived, and got to see an English lady, far older than me, the Queen Mary! No, I didnt go on board, I am trying to be sensible with money, and $27 minimum to get on board (for not that long) seemed a bit daft to me. But I paid my respects.

The weekend should be relatively calm, though I will have to go shopping for bread, if nothing else tomorrow. Beyond that, a little college football on TV is quite likely. Hopefully, my team (Kansas State) against Kate’s team (Oklahoma State), but not sure if I will get that here? Sunday, a mix of NFL on TV (there is a game in London, which kicks off 6.30 am, my time), and meeting up with someone I met in April early afternoon, is promising me a tour, which I suspect is either going to be going up near the sign, or more likely something Jean related. More on that on Monday or Tuesday, I’m sure. I may, or may not get to the Dodgers baseball tomorrow night, we shall see.

Fine, the video. Well, I could cheekily say this is about me!

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The Start Of The Holiday

Right, firstly, as is tradition now, when on holiday, the 2 blogs align, this time for 10 days or so, so no point reading both, as a message to the few who know both!

Secondly, and I think this an age thing, as like me, this laptop is getting old, and so its not working as well. As far as I can tell (and I am not an expert, it seems to be a card issue, mainly graphics, but the sound doesnt seem too bright either), its had enough, and I will replace it with the one I bought 18 months ago off Dave, when I get back. I hate change, mainly because of all the log ins I have to suddenly write down, or remember, and aargh!

So if things stop completely, do not panic, its more likely the computer than me. Especially as the shutdown button no longer works, along with the image thing that appears in the right hand corner when new emails arrive. But enough of my woes…

Fine, the holiday!

Yesterday was travel day, and I reminded myself why I’ve cut right back on West Coast trips, the body (like this computer) really isnt up to it anymore. Even travelling in relative luxury for me (not basic economy), my knees were screaming for relief at the end of the flights, though my back was surviving better. Ah well, swings and roundabouts, as they say.

As to Virgin Atlantic, cant say enough in praise, good staff all around, and more than enough food to feed me for quite a while. Then we got to Atlanta!

Last time, I got through immigration, customs, and security there in a whir, about 15 minutes. Yesterday, when I had less time to spare, 80!I literally ran half the length of terminal A at Atlanta (and it felt a long way, with a laptop bag in hand), expecting to have just missed the plane to LA, but instead, the last couple were boarding, and I, along with another very delayed lady, just about got on.

To be honest, thats the end of the bad news, apart from a misdirection at baggage claim here in LA, where I rashly assumed the people in front of me knew where they were going, but they didnt! Soon in the right place, soon got the bags, and the shuttle was an absolute stroll! Good staff at the airport, good driver, and…Oh, the hotel room is seriously large!

Therefore today, I decided I was going to get the knees loose, with a nice long walk along, and then back along Hollywood Boulevard. It seems to have worked, though the back is complaining a bit more, so…

Ah, the camera, when I switched it on here this morning, 2 bars out of 3, so I left the batteries in. Snag was, after 1 photo, it was down to 1 bar, and after a couple more, it stopped working altogether…just as I was trying to get a photo of Jean’s star! So fine, I will go back and get it, even if my friend, April had already sent me one, but to have one, I took…

I did the tour of the wax museum, but most of them were modern names, not really what I was hoping for, especially as Monroe was featured everywhere in the entrance, I was hoping for more older stars, but…

It says it all, it hit 80 today, and I wilted. Mainly because I was out in the sun a lot, and being April, things havent really warmed up at home yet. So about 2.30, I called it quits, and came back to the hotel for a while. Beyond going out for dinner, thats it.

Tomorrow, I’ll do the guided tour thing, just to get all my bearings, before I set out on my own. But again, it will mainly be the modern stars, so, I’ll just live with it. Plan, if I can get there, is Dodgers baseball tomorrow night, so you might either get an early one tomorrow, or nothing until Saturday, before the big event.

Well, thats let you catch up on things, so for now, I’ll leave you in peace! The video, what I nearly didnt have enough of, yesterday

Flying, then and now

One of the endearing images we have of early passenger flights is the luxury of the planes involved. Of course, back then, only the wealthy could afford to fly, which may well have something to do with it. Its really only since the 70’s, and 80’s that we even started to have what could be called flight prices that the general masses could afford to pay.

So for those who complain about the lack of comfort nowadays, just remember, 50 years ago, you wouldnt have been able to afford long distance flights, in all honesty. If you consider that flights now between popular cities are no more expensive than they were in the 30’s, and 40’s…you get my drift? Of course, you were treated to a whole different level of treatment back then.

The thing is, despite the comfort, those early flights were a pretty dangerous experience. Navigation was extremely basic, especially at night, and many lost their lives in incidents, and accidents. And to even cross America, let alone the Atlantic, took 4 or 5 stops. Whereas nowadays, flights go from coast to coast, non stop, without any problems. As for crossing the Atlantic, by passenger plane, this wasnt even seriously tackled until the 1950’s!

Mind, I remember a story my late mother told me, of flying home from Bermuda (my father was in the navy) in the early 50’s, and the plane had an upstairs luxury bar, and the works! Now, they prefer you to stay in your seat, whenever possible.

My first flight would have been in the late 70’s, a short hop from Gatwick, to Jersey, and back. My first Transatlantic flight was in 1987, when I flew out from Heathrow, to Boston, and back from New York. After that, I began to fly more regularly, but always in economy.

And since then, apart from the Toronto trip, when I supposedly flew First Class with Air Trans (I would say it equated more to premium economy, than first), I’ve always flown economy class, until now. Yes, this week, and next week, when I return from LA, I will be flying premium economy (Virgin), and economy comfort (Delta) for pretty much the first time.

No, it wont truly be luxury, but a step up for me. If I’d had a job to come back to, post redundancy, I might have flown business class, but for now, better safe than sorry. Maybe if I’ve got one, in September, I might treat myself again, and maybe more?

I’ve been told by Kate, that maybe, just maybe, by flying on a Wednesday, I might get a reasonably priced upgrade on Delta to first class, and that would be a real Jean Harlow type landing into LA. But I wont hold my breath. Mind, I say that, all evidence I’ve seen, Jean stuck with the trains, rather than trusting the planes, but…

So, if anyone from Delta sees this, the 4.20 pm Atlanta to LA flight on Wednesday, look for Ms Nicholls if you start offering upgrades to first class, pretty please!

OK, so this is all about flying, so lets have some Gerry Rafferty. Not a live performance (cant find one, despite single release), so I’ve gone for something involving the brave boys of the military, and Alaska.

How long before its not just passports that are chipped?

I’ve actually had one of those passports, with a chip in it for a while, but this holiday has been the time where I’ve really noticed the difference it makes.

At Atlanta, last Saturday, because I had one of those, and because I had an ESTA thing for entering the US, I did pretty much all my immigration stuff by machine. Finger prints, photo, the works. I did still spend a few moments of ‘interrogation’, though I suspect that was as much to check I’d done everything correctly, than anything else.

But yes, it speeds things up, and I hope Philadelphia is set up in the same way, to be honest, its much easier.

Today, flying back through Manchester, there werent just 2 options to pass through passport control, but 3. Yes, the standard ones (EU and non-EU for simplicity sake), but a third one for those of us with chipped passports. Again, slide the passport into a reader, have the image checked, and through!

Of course, the question you have to ask, in this age of technology, is how long will it be before its not just the passport thats chipped, but the passenger as well! Strictly I suppose, as long as it only identified you, and nothing more…?

Fine, I enjoy the reduced waiting time, but there are limits! Didnt entirely help, as my case was one of the last to appear on the baggage carousel, ah well…

Personally, I suspect ‘personal chipping’ is still some way off, and given that I suspect that in 10-15 years time, my long distance travelling will pretty much be over, due to age and health, but who knows? By then I might be a chipped ‘robot’ with a stunning new body lol!

The video, well, I guess this might be how female air travellers could be defined, sometime in the future

Jean and Louise get together again

Alright, fine, me and Kate get together again, or did last night at least. Sadly her bob isnt quite as good as it was a fortnight ago, and fine, my curls have been a bit beaten up by 2 nights of sleep, but all the same…

The journey across was smooth, and pretty much on time, and customs and immigration was pretty easy too. Well, fine, they have an automated system now at Atlanta, which a 30’s girl like me had ‘fun’ with, but otherwise…very much easier than I’m sure Philadelphia will be in a couple of months time! Heck, even security was smooth and pretty fast, scary stuff.

OK, the fun stuff starts today, with the baseball game, more on that later, I’m sure.

But for now, the most entertaining thing, the driver was aiming at West 105th street, and the hotel is on East 105th. Apart from that, nothing much…yet.

At present, its still me in my mind, not Jean, but for how much longer lol?

Oh, my hotel bed, it might not be quite as big as this, but its not far off it. No, I havent yet got that nightwear, sadly

Harlow reclining

The video, a real oldie, the clue in the blog title. One rare thing here, a 70’s group actually performing live in a studio!