I know it’s based on stereotypes, but I usually say on arriving in L.A. that I don’t fully believe I’m there until I’ve seen three things: palm trees, traffic jams, and a celebrity. The first two are always the easiest, and indeed I spot palm-tree-lined streets on our final approach. (From the air, the traffic seems to be flowing on the highway, though.)
On our last trip (actually to Anaheim) in 2009 for my Vocal Majority chorus to compete and perform at the Honda Center, the celebrity-spotting took a day, until I came across Conan O’Brien interviewing Dick Van Dyke. This trip shouldn’t make me wait that long to see a celebrity, since we’ll be at the movie premiere tonight.
Movie premiere. Hollywood. Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.
It’s still surreal, no matter how many times we say it.
We haven’t checked any bags, so after we deplane (with me smacking my head on one of the overhead video monitors over the aisles) and take a quick freshen-up break, we head down to the arrivals level. At the base of the elevator, several drivers are lined up, each holding a card with their passenger’s name. Hey, one of them has my name! I feel like such a celebrity.
Our driver has a luggage cart for us – which is great service, but a bit of a waste with our two small bags. We are led out to the car, a very nice older model black Lincoln Town Car. Not a stretch limo, but we’re not complaining.
Once we’re rolling and heading out of the airport for our hotel in Santa Monica, I text my parents and older son Brandon to let them know we’ve arrived safely. (Becky takes care of notifying her parents, and our younger son has a texting limit which he’s close to exceeding and will just have to hear second-hand!)
We enjoy the scenery along the way, and the complete insanity of it all. It still feels like a dream.
Brandon texts back to acknowledge our message, and instructs us to “send pictures.” I know what he means, but I can’t help but have a little fun with him. We’re passing through Marina Del Rey at the moment, with nothing very photogenic in sight, but I snap a pic of a couple of palm trees and send them to him in a multimedia message.
He shoots back pretty quickly, “I’ve seen palm trees before,” to which I reply “Not those particular ones.” He concedes the point. (We have unlimited texting!)
I then send him a pic of something else that shows we’re here: a truck with a California license plate. Suddenly he’s less enthusiastic about me sending him pictures. Pity – I was just about to take a snapshot of some pretty California girls crossing the street in front of us and send it to him.