Our flight had a very short layover in Chicago and the connection landed at LAX ahed of schedule. Alice was stuck in traffic but arrived withing 20 minutes. It was still morning in California so we decided to meet her boyfriend, Zack for breakfast at a place in the neighborhood where we would be staying. Alice had her dog, Harvey with her so we chose sidewalk seating at Millies Cafe. Wonderful food and friendly service with great coffee; we were off to a great start.
Since we arrived on a Thursday, we were intersecting with Alice's work week and she recommended that rather than staying at a hotel, we try Airbnb; an Internet service where people share a room in their home like a Bed &Breakfast. This way we could have an interesting place exactly located in a good, walkable neighborhood near both Alice and Zack. We chose Sunset Junction with a second floor room with s huge private balcony. Check in time wasn't until 3:00pm so we asked our host, Chris, if it would be alright to leave our bags there while we explored the neighborhood. He graciously let us check in early and gave us a tour of the house and a set of keys.
By this time it was noonish and the day was warming up. Alice had suggested that we check out this cool, restored theater in the neighborhood called The Vista which had matinee showings of first run movies. When we arrived, it was just in time to see "Gone Girl", which was a long movie that would take us up to our check in time. The Theater was beautiful with comfortable seats and great leg room. It was nice to just chill after our flight.
We walked back to our room afterwards, had something to eat and napped before our first Alice-planned activity: a comedy show in the back of a comic book store that featured young comedians including Zack and several of their friends. We had a blast but it had been a long day with the time change and by midnight, we were getting pretty droopy.
After a great night's sleep, we went back to Millies for breakfast on our own and spent Friday exploring the neighborhood of Silver Lake. We were quite excited about the planned, uniquely LA experience of attending the broadcast taping of Mulaney, a new Fox sitcom that features Zack as character called Andre. We took a Lyft car (more on that later) to Alice's work where we met her wonderful boss, Barbara,at the casting agency. It is clear that Alice is loved and appreciated there and I felt great pride that she had landed so well.
|That's Zack as Andre with the orange hat|
Saturday we had Alice for the whole day and we started by checking out of the Airbnb and "Lyfting" over to Zack's house where we got to know Harvey the dog. He loves Alice and was suspicious of us out of town strangers. But he has great charm and we played fetch and watched all his tricks. We launched from there in Zack's electric car and ended up at the Museum of Jurassic Technology. This place defies explanation. The exhibits are not well interpreted and contain many bizarre artifacts by misguided but interesting people. Mary loved it. I was a bit frustrated by the dark and confusion. From there we went to Alice's apartment where we would stay for the remaining two nights. Alice and Zack went back to Zack's place to organize a bonfire gathering in the evening while Mary and I napped. It was so cozy that we considered skipping the bonfire but ultimately we relented and took a Lyft to the party where we met lots of new friends and some of the old ones while eating s'mores and drinking margaritas. We "Lyfted" back to Alice's apartment after midnight.
Lyft was an amazing new paradigm for me. We had looked into renting a car while in LA when Alice suggested using ride sharing apps instead. It turned out to be a huge savings and great convenience; no buying gas, no parking hassles, no uncomfortable conversation with rental car employees about insurance. After putting in our destination address, the application on our phones automatically detected our location and the location of a nearby driver, along with the driver's name, photo, and color, make &model of the car. It told us how much the ride would cost and how soon the driver would be there. The longest wait we had was four minutes. Every ride we purchased was in a clean car with a very friendly driver. Often they would offer us candy or bottled water. Every ride (except the final one to the airport) was under $10. And the app takes care of the payment. You simply get in the car when it arrives and get out when it reaches your destination. You can add a tip through the phone app after your ride. So easy and so cheap, compared to renting a car in the big city. Of course we had Alice and Zack drive us around for our longer adventures.
Sunday was our last day to squeeze in everything else with Alice. We met her after morning coffee and scones at a local coffee shop. We planned to hit Alice's favorite Los Angeles spots: The Farmers Market, the Flea Market and the Dog Park. Mary had a compulsion to see the sea so we added a beach visit to the itinerary and forwent the Dog Park.
|I love looking at old stuff|
|Santa Monica Beach Couple|
Alice does her weekly shopping for fresh produce at the Sunday Farmers Market. It was great to look at, smell and taste all the offerings. There were lots of folks offering free samples. We swung back to her apartment afterward for Alice to drop off her groceries and for me to change into shorts; something you will rarely see in Michigan... my legs. Mary tells me you are not supposed to wear socks with shorts but I like the comfort.
We kept encountering an AIDS Walk in progress on our way to the Flea Market and had to continuously change our route to circle around the thousands of walkers. When we finally got there, the sun was out in full and I was glad I had shorts. And now I have an October suntan. Lots of cool stuff to look at. I generally do not buy things except when I have to but both Alice and Mary do not share this quirk. They found stuff too cool not to buy.
It was a longish drive to Santa Monica Beach and we settled for a shady view of the beach rather than than risk getting sunburned and sand in my socks.
When we had had enough of napping under a shady tree, we B-lined back to the car to make it back in time for the evening portion of our Sunday.
We scooped up Zack and his car at his place and headed out to their favorite sushi place. When we got there it was packed with a 45 minute wait for a table. Fortunately there was a bar across the street with happy hour drink specials that made the interim zip by. The sushi dinner was worth waiting for. Everything was delicious. I wish I had a picture.
Afterward, we went back to Zack's to participate in a new Sunday ritual: watching "Mulaney" at 9:30 with a bunch of friends. It was a very funny episode (The Doula) made more enjoyable with the company of rabid supporters cheering all of Zack's appearances.
After the credits, Mary and I bowed out since we had an early flight Monday morning. We took a Lyft ride back to Alice's Apartment and set our alarms for 4:45am.
We were a bit worried that there may not be Lyft drivers so early in the morning but we were pleasantly surprised to get one one in just one minute. This longer ride cost $35 but Alice estimated that a cab would be about $100. Our flight back was smooth with great connections and Marlee was there waiting for us in her new car when we arrived at the Gerald R Ford International Airport.