Friday, March 3, revisited, and Saturday,
March 4, 2006 - LA to Knoxville
10:50 a.m. on March 3 we arrived in Los
Angeles half an hour late after the flight
from hell. You might note that it is March 3
again, just like it was yesterday. Due to
crossing the International Date Line, we have
arrived in LA well before we left Queenstown.
So why do I feel so tired?
It was sloooow getting through immigration
and took even longer to retrieve our luggage.
Tom's backpack must have literally been the
last bag to come down the carousel. At least
customs was a breeze. No matter. We were just
glad to be off the damned plane.
Tom's cousin J.J., thankfully, picked us
up at LAX. We had a 13-hour layover before
our 11:50 p.m. Delta flight to Cincinnati.
All we needed was some tacos and a place to
chill. J.J. took us by Del Taco and then to
Uncle Joe and Aunt Alice's Hollywood pad. We
told J.J. about our trip, she gave us public
transportation information, and then she left
us there to rest our weary bones.
We rested, but we didn't want to go to
sleep because we had another overnight flight
tonight, and if we can't sleep on the plane,
what's to do? We checked our email and then
for the first time in three weeks checked our
phone messages. I guess that marks an
official end to the vacation, even if we
weren't quite home yet.
Lights of LA
7:30 p.m. It was an interesting half mile
or so walk to the Metro Rail at Hollywood
Boulevard and Highlands. We saw all the stars
as we walked down Hollywood Boulevard, some
that we recognized, some we hardly even heard
of; people who worked and suffered and
struggled for fame. (**Paraphrased from
"Celluloid Heroes," written by Ray Davies.**)
In order for a person to get a star on the
Walk of Fame, he or she must be nominated to
a selection committee, must agree to attend a
presentation ceremony, and a $15,000 fee must
be paid to the committee. What an honor.
We passed by the famous Grauman's Chinese
Theatre, then had to negotiate a complex set
of pedestrian bypasses to reach the Metro
Rail station. The regular walkway was blocked
off near the station due to setup for the
Academy Awards, a/k/a Festival of
Narcissists, scheduled two days hence. Very
As always, there were interesting
characters on the public transport. The most
unusual I call "crazy bicycle guy," or "CBG."
CBG was wearing shorts, knee-high rubber
boots, several towels around his neck, a
construction helmet, and ski goggles. He was
also carrying the lid to a pizza box which he
held above his head, you know, as if blocking
the alien mind rays. CBG boarded the train,
leaned his bicycle against the door, and
stepped away from it. Not surprisingly, when
the train moved, the bicycle fell over. He
stood the bicycle back up, stepped away
again, but this time he held his hands out
toward it, using his psychokinetic powers to
hold the bike in place. It worked!
Metro Rail to LAX took longer than we
thought it would, but we still got there
almost two hours before our plane was
scheduled to leave. We ate at the airport
McDonald's (oh joy) and went to the gate at
boarding time, where we found out our plane
had a hydraulic leak and our flight would
probably be cancelled, but just hang tight in
case they got it fixed. A few minutes after
departure time came an announcement that
they'd "found" an unused aircraft over at the
next terminal we could use. Like, who "lost"
the airplane in the first place? Anyway, they
said it would be faster to bus us over to the
next terminal than for all of us to walk, and
after some more delay, the buses arrived and
took all would-be passengers one terminal
over, where no one seemed to be expecting us,
so we all milled around like idiots until our
gate crew finally arrived. They then had us
board the aircraft in the most haphazard
fashion I have ever seen, because the
cleaning crew was still preparing the plane.
It's air travel, things always go wrong,
whatever. We eventually left an hour and a
quarter late, around 1:15 a.m. March 4. Thank
goodness March 3 was finally over. We'd had
enough of that day, thank you.
In spite of the problems and delays on the
last three flights, we still managed to catch
our 8:50 a.m. flight from Cincinnati to
Knoxville just fine. I was impressed by our
commuter-flight flight attendant, who gave a
manual safety briefing like a pro, unlike the
high falootin' sky-waitresses on Air New
Zealand working the big ole 747s. This last
little flight was the only one to go without
9:50 a.m. As Bart Simpson would say:
Knoxville! Knoxville! Knoxville! Returning to
our house, I was relieved to find that Carlos
the Crazy Cat had hardly destroyed anything.
We gave Tom's folks, Jack and Linda, a quick
overview of our antics, then I was off to
rescue Spike-Dog from camp. He was almost as
glad to see me as I was to see him. THE
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