A Night in La La Land

The flight from Rarotonga to Los Angeles took 9 hours. Sue managed to sleep about 5 hours; I did not. Air New Zealand is a pretty good airline, but after this, our third leg, flying with them, I have to say their food is TERRIBLE. I think we’ve had CHOICES of meals on each flight — curry chicken or ‘something’ beef — and they stewardess talks it up pretty good, makes it sound like fine dining, and the airline crew is all cheerful passing out the trays and filling up your glass with your choice of pinot noir or merlot, etc, etc, but still, MAN! that airplane food SUCKS!

We left at midnight, and with the time change, landed in LA at noon. After clearing customs, which went surprisingly quick, we had a coffee and logged onto airport wifi so I could order an UBER taxi to take us to our AirBnB.

All went well until we got to the AirBnB. Or ALMOST got. The taxi circled the block a number of times, looking for number 7103, but there was no such number. There was a big complex of condos with a prominent 7101 address on it. Finally he dropped us off, assuring us we’d find the right building within the complex. We didn’t. And now we were standing on the sidewalk with 2 suitcases, one big VERY heavy golf bag, and 2 backpacks — and a phone without a phone card and no wifi. LOSERS!

An hour later, helped by a passerby who used her phone to text the host, and several residents who came OUT of the building and after hearing our story had NO idea who would be running a ‘hotel’ in their fancy condo building, our new host showed up and let us into the elevator that went up to their apartment. Not a great start to our last AirBnB night on this trip. After AirBnB-ing for much of the last 3 months without a hitch, this was a bit of an unwelcome surprise.

In the end the ‘mix-up’ wasn’t their fault, nor ours. Our hosts (a young couple with a 3-year-old child) had sent us an email with clear instructions on how to let ourselves in, but Sue’s Gmail account had somehow diverted that email so it didn’t appear in her inbox. 

It was 3 o’clock by the time we were in our room. We logged onto the wifi (and THAT felt good after a week of crappy internet on the island) and connected with the world again.

After catching up with our emails, we left our place a little after 5pm and walked about 25 minutes to an area with quite a few restaurants, bars, and shops. The ‘Hopdoddy Burger Bar’ looked like a great choice for a ‘burger-starved’ guy like me. And Sue found an interesting salad with a glass of wine on the menu. Perfect.

We are staying in an area called ‘Playa Vista’. There’s a university and LOTS of condos in the area, and the people living here look to be upscale urban ‘stay fit and shop at Whole Foods’ kind of folks. The neighbourhood is clean, and modern, and safe, with lots of families out walking or cycling. Quite a contrast to where we’ve been hanging out for the past week. 

After our dinner we bought a bottle to take home with us and walked back to our AirBnB. We had a Nature Valley granola ‘healthy’ chocolate bar with our glass of wine in our room. And we watched PGA golf on our large Samsung TV. It felt great to ‘veg’ and relax and watch American television and read American news and be in a time zone only a few hours different than our ‘home’ time zone. 

Sue sent Alex an email with details about our flights tomorrow, and if all goes well again, by this time tomorrow night we’ll be pulling back the sheets on our own bed.