It’s not every day you’re met at LAX by friends on Twitter. Laura and Mihael, my longtime tweeps, whisked me out of the airport labyrinth. Seated between me and their daughter in their SUV was a giant swag bag. Laura said, “Welcome to So Cal!” I peaked in and spied two bottles of wine, fruit, water, fancy crackers, granola bars, kettle pop corn, Old Navy flip flops for my sister and me (in our sizes, even), trail mix, and plenty of chocolate. “I called the front desk of your hotel,” Laura explained. “They have a corkscrew you can borrow.”
“I like you,” I said. “You’re a logistics woman.”
Michael drove us to In-n-Out Burger, an American institution that keeps potato farmers and ranchers happy. I was amazed at the frenetic put almost graceful movements of the twenty workers in the open kitchen. “It’s a stereotype,” I said, “but Americans know systems.”
“Yes,” Mihael said, laughing. “They understand the concept of work flow.”
Next up, coffee, where we met a songwriter who had tomes of both Langston Hughes and Bob Dylan. “I’m in a slump,” she said, “I need some inspiration.” She’s in good hands.
After returning to LAX to pick up my sister, Patti, we headed to the Observatory, a gorgeous lookout point in the Hollywood Hills. It provides a panoramic view of L.A., including the Hollywood sign and downtown L.A. The light rainfall heralded a full arc rainbow, before snow overtook it. We were told that the Canadians brought the snow pellets, a rarity up there. The weather shifted yet again, and we watched a pink sunset.
By early evening, we had checked in to our hotel, only a few blocks from the Kodak Theater. We dropped our bags and hiked to the theater. I swear we passed Liam Neeson, but he looked too happy. We started talking to everyone we met, but most of our information came from the bouncer outside a burlesque show. He told us that of street closures, good restaurants, and of the heightened security.
We looked at the red carpet and at larger-than-life Oscar statues. While walking in the outdoor corridors of the Hollywood & Highland Center, which is attached to the Kodak, we ran into four screaming girls who shrieked, “Justin Bieber’s in the coffee shop!” We shrugged and entered a buzzing pizza joint that seemed to be the restaurant of choice for everyone with an “Oscars All-Access Pass.” The three men that we chatted with were in charge of the 365 degree cameras you’ll see backstage at the Academy Awards.
We ate. We drank. We returned to our hotel. We dug into the swag that Laura and Mihael had given us. We slept.
Sounds like an amazing journey so far, Leanne! If my daughter Hope had been there, she would have dragged me into that coffee shop to see The Bieb…
Enjoy my friends Pam and Jackie. Have the time of your life!!!
So glad to hear you encountering our American institutions. I can just imagine you pulling out Thing 1 & 2 at various points and the looks you must get. I hope you show Oprah.