We wake up on the last day of the Cruise, struggle to get ready in time and down to breakfast in Animator's Palate by 8am. The bigger struggle though was actually leaving the ship, so sad to think this trip is over. On to the dock we wait an hour for our transfer, no hurry though our flight out of Orlando isn't until 7:20 tonight :(
At Orlando you can check your luggage right on the kerbside, straight out of the cab, real impressive. But you can't check your bags until 4 hours ahead of the flight. SO we now have a whole caravan of luggage we need to tow around with us in the airport for the next 4 hours. I still have a jarred back from my slip yesterday, and did I mention I'm not on the fantasy anymore.
I'm not sure how it happened but all of a sudden it's time to board the plane, airport timewarp. We get to LA at the equivalent of 1am Orlando time, the kids are a little flakey by now. I call up the transfer company, they haven't got our booking. I call Australia, the booking has been changed. I call the new company, they had our booking for 12 hours ago. An hour ago Gab checked out a direct cab, I heard it as $150 so I kept up with trying to get the transfer working. When I realised it was actually only a $50 ride I was a little frustrated. I punched the luggage trolly, my hand no longer closes. My back still hurts, I'm not on the fantasy anymore.
The Beverly hills hotel is like the rest of the hotels we've stayed at this holiday, I'm not on the Fantasy anymore :(
Next morning the kids and I walk up along Wilshire past Pretty Woman's Beverly Wilshire, Rodeo Drive, Sacks, Neiman Marcus, then into Starbucks before Budget. Full LA Cliche with the guy behind the counter at Starbucks, talking to a customer about his last audition.
We hire a car and head out to an outlet mall. On the way we pass Crenshaw Blvd, I've got some vague memory that this was a gang area, was it in Colors? Gab has the same memory, but there aren't any gangs here, as we keep following the GPS we jsut seem to get closer and closer to Tijuana. Even the Verizon billboards are in spanish. Last time I was in LA I relied on Too Short, Ice-T and NWA to let me know where to stay away from, I realise my LA knowledge is decades out of date.
The outlet shopping is great - I get a Columbia ski outfit for $90, $500 retail. I start feeling harsh, weak, squirmish, i need a bathroom. My hand hurts, my back is angry with me, my bowels wish to leave, I'm not on the Fantasy anymore.
We head back to Beverly Hills, I'm impressed with my abilty to keep the car on the road, Gab keeps reminding me its important to keep it within your own lane too, never satisfied. We drive around Beverly Hills a little before finding a place for dinner, then heading back to the Hotel for an early night, I still don't feel well.
The Hispanic population of this city is increadible, I don't remember it being this prolific when I was a kid. Equally the gardens in this city are amazing, everywhere is a garden and they're all blooming. Even the Budget rental place had a rose garden bursting with flowers. From looking around I'd say you're most likely to be Hispanic in this town, if not Hispanic then you're probably Jewish. The temples, schools, hebrew signs everywhere, we're in the middle of a film and TV Kibbutz. Fun to explain to the kids.
Next day we head out again to Rodeo drive this time we go for a shop, Emerson gets a jacket from Ralph Lauren and I get a Polo shirt. We talk Max out of a suit. We're onthe drive and Via Rodeo for a good hour before we head to Best Buy to return our non-functioning Kodak underwater camera. Gabb works some magic and emerges with a new one 5 minutes later. No receipt, box, charger, just a bricked piece of hardware, my wife is impressive.
To the Beverly Center where we look around for a few hours, you could go nuts if you didn't have to lug it all home. We go for a drive to The Farmer's Market, the only outdoor Apple store is in the Grove here, but we're running out of time to return the car so head back.
Car returned we take a walk along Wilshire back to the hotel. We drop into Saks, I avoid buying some shoes, Gab surcumbs to an impressive handbag. We drop into a Chinese cafe and a starbucks on the way home.
After a day of traveling and two days to recover we're feeling a bit more alive. We're all booked in for some proper sightseeing tomorrow, an all day tour of Hollywood and LA. Night!