It’s my dream, really.
Category Archives: Travel
We’re up early and shake the bedbugs from our bad selves (oh god we hoped not…) and leave the Beverly for the airport.
I was excited about the drive. If you Google-Map (is that a verb?) a route from the Beverly to LAX you might get a route that goes through Century City or if you’re adventurous enough, through Culvert City. I chose that purely because I’m playing Grand Theft Auto V right now and there’s some good dirt biking there. Virtually.
Thankfully at 6am the traffic was light and we made good time. At one of the lights we stopped and met with one of LA’s finest landmarks:
We hit the check in desk for Hawaiian Air. Our first Hawaiian helped us with our boarding pass and if her sweetness was any indication of what was in store for us, we were going to have an incredible time.
The fight was uneventful. For me.
Much like an 80s stand up comedy routine, poor SharkBoy had a baby kicking his seat for 5 hours. A few words were exchanged even before we hit the tarmac and while the mother was embarrassed, she did little to stop the runt from kicking. She was the kind of “hands off” mom that apologized for the kid’s behaviour yet did nothing about it. Hate that. The Dad was worse. He tried to get us to switch with his parents so they could all sit together – give up seats we chose 8 months ago for something in the middle section? I think not.
Anyhoo… other than that the flight was ok. I’m getting better at suppressing panic attacks when I fly over water!
We land and pick up our rental car. Pro Tip: Never take a black car in a tropical location. Ugh. So hot.
What was our first Hawaiian destination, you ask? A temple? A surf shop? Shaved Ice? No. Costco. We grab some cheap beach towels and crap-load of macadamia nuts. Seriously. We need snacks!
One thing about driving in Oahu: signage is seriously lacking. I think we have it easy in Ontario where we have kilometres of warning before your exit. But in Waikiki/Honolulu, the exits explode upon you like a hyperactive kid on Halloween. Over the 11 days we were in Oahu there was a lot of shouting and fuming as we cut off many drivers.
We hit the hotel. Check in was fast and as SharkBoy turned on his magical Check-in charm, we were upgraded from a King bedded room, lower floor overlooking the city to a 2 Dbl bedded room on the 29th floor. Yay! They also gave us a small paper bag to go into a candy boutique to fill up – FOR FREE! They knew us too well.
We dump the luggage and do some exploring. We walked along the beach, hit the gayest bar in all of Waikiki (Hula’s Bar and Lei Stand) and stumble home to eat some food. We’re in bed by 9pm because we had a full day ahead of us (plus it was also 3am, body time). I’m surprised I didn’t take a lot of pictures on this day. Mostly InstaGrams,
Next up… Diamond Head!
We wake early again, but not as early as 4am like the previous nights. The long power-park days are taking their toll!
We check out of the Disneyland Hotel (Goodbye! Goodbye!!) and jump in the car, headed towards Glendale to visit Forest Lawn Memorial Park. We’re on a mission to pay respects to Walter Elias Disney.
Arriving at the cemetery, we ask the security guard at the front gate if he can direct us to Disney’s grave.
“Sorry, out of respect for the families, I can’t.” he deadpans.
SharkBoy’s face becomes a study in dejection and horror – he hadn’t reviewed the internet enough to remember where the site was exactly. Thankfully I had reviewed a site before leaving the warm embrace of the hotel’s WiFi and had a vague idea where it was. Enough to give it a try. The guard tells us we are allowed to visit through the cemetery and we turn to go back to the car to try to decide what to do next.
“I can give you a map,” offers the guard.
We take it.
After a hilly drive through the warrens and trails that run through the Park, we find a perfect replica of Michelangelo’s David. Seriously. Only in LA, I guess. In fact all of the artwork and statuary in the park were amazing. I could have spent the day just looking at the statues.
After a while we come across a building I remember from findagrave.com (seriously) explaining that Disney is buried somewhere on the side of an entrance to this building that is surrounded with garden walls, juts and secret gardens. We get out of the car and start looking around. The morning fog was still sticking to the hills and the air was chilled. We found it after a good 30 min hunting around the complex building. SharkBoy took pictures and I stood and said my silent thanks. We both wiped a tear away from our cheeks as we climbed back into the car. Weird how that can happen.
Onward to our next destination: the carrousel where Disney watched his grandchildren play while he dreamed up Disneyland.
We got lost. It really wasn’t our fault, the street we had to turn up was closed to traffic and trying to find an alternative route turned out to be difficult. We gave up on that when we realized we were super close to the Observatory. We head there instead.
I thought it weird there was a bust of James Dean at Griffith Observatory just because of Rebel Without a Cause. Why not have a bust of Mark Hamill at Redwood forest? Shrug. The view was stupendous and we snagged a shitload of great city pics.
Then we hit downtown for a succession of tourist stops that included The Bradbury Building (where Roy Batty’s apartment was filmed for Blade Runner), City Hall, the LAPD headquarters – which you can go up to the top observatory if you agree to a pat down – yay! As well as the canal where Grease was filmed, and to top it all off, Disney Concert Hall for some outside shots. Our cameras cried with exhaustion.
We head over to our flea bag hotel for the night. The Beverly Lauren Motor Inn has certainly seen better days. We looked at the carpet in our room and speculated that the patches were created to cover up the bullet holes and blood stains. God help anyone who sprays the place with Luminol.
Later that night we met up with David Cobb and his boyfriend. Awesome chatty guys with a kinetic energy that was infectious. I wish we could have spend much, much more time with them. We had a typical tourist dinner at Hamburger Marys and they treated us to ice cream in a hole-in-the-wall place somewhere super east of where we were. Meaning: I had no clue where we were. David drove like a mad man through the streets of LA in his convertible Mini Cooper. The ice cream was delicious, regardless.
The dropped us off at a bar where a couple post-Ru Paul Drag Race celebrities were performing and after seeing one number from Chad Michaels we were beat. Back home to the Beverly where I dreamt of drug busts gone wrong and failed illicit trysts. Or maybe that actually happened in the room next to us. Too tired to tell.
Apologies, last post should have been titled “California Adventure”… THIS is the day we did Disneyland!
Again, we wake well before the dawn. After some iPadding (is that a verb now? Can it be?) and an early morning swim (nobody swims at 7am in LA) we cleaned up and hoofed it over to Ted’s Burgers, just outside the gates. Delicious! the Breakfast Burritos were the size of a rogue South American country and dictated my colon the same way. Boom!
Ah Disneyland. The start of it all. Every time we visit we always wander around slack jawed and oogly eyed because it’s so familiar yet… not. Small and just as comforting like Magic Kingdom in Florida, but on Jenny Craig.
Pretty much all the rides were ridden except a few that had crazy wicked long lines. We re-rode the Haunted Mansion and got slightly wet on Splash Mountain while we sang along to the vaguely racist songs – you know… traditional fun rides.
I forced SharkBoy into the ASIMO robot demo inside the World of Tomorrow pavilion. I nearly wept with joy seeing that little guy run across the stage. Seriously. I’ve been watching Honda create prototypes since the birth of the internet and to finally see him in “person” was kind of emotional for me. Expect video!
The park closed early with no fireworks but that was ok, we had seen them the day we arrived.
Back at the hotel we collapsed again. Another long day. The next day would lead us into parts… unknown!
We’re awake at 4am. We’re East Coasters in a West Coast world. Our time shifting bodies gave us a slight advantage over most of the crowds at California Adventure (also we had no kids in tow so there’s that) and we were one of the first people in line.
Rope drop, gates open and we run to Carsland, which we have not seen since it was opened a year and a half ago (give or take a few weeks). I have to say Carsland was amazing. We had been hearing hype since it was opened (and jealously watched digital friends on Instagram and Twiiter go experience it) and I can say it doesn’t disappoint. People say it’s like walking into the set of Cars and they’re right. The colours, the sight lines, the layout are all incredible. Favourite ride? The re-mixing and return of the UFO ride into “Luigi’s Flying Tires” was a blast (and could have been 3 min longer, but hey).
I was surprised at how… unfast? …Radiator Springs Racers was, compared to it’s sister ride, Test Track, in Florida. But fun, nonetheless!
We wandered, we took hundreds of pictures, we ate at Carthay Circle restaurant so we could get a FastPass ticket to good seats for World of Colour. Probably not the best move since you’re only allowed a set menu and not any of the “good stuff”. Still, we did get good seats for the show.
We packed in as many rides as we could: Tower of Terror, Soarin’ (SharkBoy beat me to my “open Soarin'” joke… bastard), Grizzly River Run, Toy Story Mania, Monsters Inc. and around 5 our batteries died. We went back to the hotel for a disco nap, swim and a quick nosh before heading back into California Adventure for the World of Colour show. Still awesome after all these years!
After the show, we hit Ariel’s Undersea Ride to wait for the crowds to thin out. Midway through the ride, right around where Ariel and the Prince nearly kiss (“KISS HER!!”) I can see SharkBoy’s eyes closing. I grab his hand and say “Time to go home…” We stumble back to our room.
Our flight into LAX was uneventful, so was the car collection. All good and nothing to complain about, except for the quiet talker at the car rental agency, who, in an inaudible whisper, told me I could takethatgreyvehiclethankyou. Super quiet. I took the first one I saw. Hope it was right…
We arrive at the Disneyland Hotel. Before going in I gravely look at SharkBoy and say “Look, I need you to be super charming. Remember when you got us that great room at Riverside? You did that dance and chant until the frond desk clerk gave in?”
“All-i-gator Bay-ouuuu!” SharkBoy sings and does a little butt-dance in his car seat.
“That’s the one. I need you to be that charming if we’re to get the Adventure Tower.” He was the “good cop” I was the “bad agent”. In the end we got the Adventure Tower, King size bed. I love my husband.
We drop our luggage (after squealing like Japanese school girls when we opened the door to the ample room) and run out to Disneyland. We cram in as much as we can before we meet up with the InstaGram friends we invited along. We hit the train around the park, Haunted Mansion (with the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay), and the Monorail.
We hit Trader Sams and meet up with Smithersocal (Aaron), MrStevers (David) and Taric (Christian) who had us laughing. Especially after a few Mai Tais. Free poured Mai Tais. Super STRONG Mai Tais.
As it got dark, we said goodbye to our new IRL friends and hit Disneyland again for the fireworks. Wiiiishes!
Back to the hotel room to pass out. We had been going for 16+ hours and the MAI TAIS didn’t help. We pass out with the “Kiss Goodnight” playing over our heads. ZZZZzzzzz