Our hotel starting blasting dance music from the lobby at 8am. It would’ve been way more painful had it not been for the time change that made it feel like 10am, and the vacation adrenaline. I get up way earlier on vacation than I ever voluntarily do at home!
I went to get coffee and a giant croissant in the lobby while Matt finished showering, and then we headed out to see more of LA. Stop one satisfied the geology nerd in both of us: the La Brea Tar Pits.
(It’s always bizarre and confusing that that exists right on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles. Before the first time I visited, I assumed it was in the middle of nowhere.)
From there, we drove up to Hollywood Boulevard for the obligatory super-touristy stop.
It was gorgeous outside, but apparently not gorgeous enough for all the impersonators to be out hassling people for photos. We were pretty glad about that.
Matt and Bally picked their favorite stars on the Walk of Fame. Shortly thereafter, we named our rental car ‘Ponch’.
We stopped at Jack in the Box for a quick lunch (we’d still been unable to find In-n-Out or Del Taco, even though California ads led us to believe they were on every street corner). Matt visited the restroom on the way out, and said he’d seen a guy enter the stall with his hamburger and heard him continue eating on the toilet. CLASSY.
We hopped on I-10 and drove to Santa Monica, where we sat in the same insane traffic as the two other times I’ve visited Santa Monica. What the hell? We finally found a parking spot and walked down to the Promenade so Matt could check out the dinosaur topiaries and awesome street performers, the best of whom was Biggie Smalls painted completely silver.
From there, we walked down to the pier. Though these pictures make it look really overcast, I don’t recall it being that dark at all! It was just the typical Pacific coast fog.
I’d told Matt that the first time I visited the Santa Monica pier was on my three-week solo roadtrip, and it was one of the only places I was sad to be alone, because it was kind of romantic. I wanted to fix that, so we did.
The pier was as crazy as I’d remembered. There were buskers (including Mongolia’s only pro contortionist), the amusement park, and vendors selling things like unflattering caricatures and your name on a grain of rice. It’s basically exactly what you want from that kind of spectacle. We walked down to the end of the pier, saw the fishermen and the end of Route 66, then headed down to see the beach, which had a different kind of spectacle:
(The crosses represented the number of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Horrible.)
We went down and dipped our feet in the ocean. It was freezing, so we were pretty excited to be heading to Hawaii very shortly…
…or so we thought.
As we climbed the steps back up to the pier, I got a phone call from Delta. I missed it and called right back, knowing what it would inevitably mean. The agent said our 6pm flight was delayed 2 hours, but that we would still have to be at the airport at the correct time, ‘just in case’. AARGH.
We still had some time to kill before heading there, so we did some shopping at an awesome British grocery (the snacks we got there made it through the entire trip with us, on various flights), then stopped at the TNB BBQ truck for Korean tofu tacos. We may not have made it to In-n-Out, but we did get to experience one of LA’s finer taco trucks!
We took highway 1 down the coast toward the airport, passing through Venice (which was awesome) and Marina del Ray. By the time we arrived at the car rental place, Delta had called again to notify me (via friendly robot) that the flight was now delayed 3.5 hours. That would put it into Honolulu dangerously close to midnight, and I knew we were starting to run the risk that it wouldn’t leave at all that night. While I’d have loved an extra night in LA, I’d prefer it to not come at the expense of our trip to Hawaii (and also missing the next day’s flight to Kauai).
We checked in, and the Delta machines spit out a couple of $6 meal vouchers as apology. (Nice work, guys.) We decided to turn them into drinks, and headed to Malibu Al’s Beach Bar, to attempt to pretend we were somewhere tropical already. Also, it was right by our gate. We ordered long islands, played cribbage and canasta, and later ordered pizzas from CPK (located across the way… they just carried them over).
We eventually got sick of Malibu Al’s and crossed over to the Cantina just for a change of scenery. There, we ordered margaritas and watched the Giants game. We were so tired and punchy that everything I saw was the funniest thing ever. Finally, after 5+ hours at LAX, they announced the boarding of our flight.
We were glad to be in row 19 near the front, and to have already been supplied with blankets and pillows. I was also really glad to have the window seat this time. I napped on and off for 4 1/2 hours or so, then spent some time staring out the window at the stars and ignoring the reruns of stupid comedies on the overhead screens. We landed in Honolulu around 12:15, and the passengers on our flight were the only people left in the airport.
We grabbed our bags and headed to the shuttle bus, which of course had to wait around for a long time for other passengers. We finally headed off into Waikiki. Matt and I were dying of exhaustion, and kept ourselves awake by counting the number of ABC stores we saw on the way to our hotel (11 of them!). We arrived at the Castle Ocean Resort, close to 2am. They’d roped off the lobby and were cleaning the floors, but there was still someone waiting at the desk to check us in.
When we got up to the room and found that our keys didn’t work in the door, I thought Matt was going to die. I left him with the bags and ran back to the lobby, and thankfully everything worked the second time. We barely took time to plug in our phones and brush our teeth before collapsing in bed. This time, with air conditioning!