Our car arrives at our hotel, The Huntley Hotel, a luxury place just a couple of blocks off of the beach in Santa Monica.
I provide our driver with the voucher sent to us by Demand Media (owners of Cracked.com and the suppliers of our prize) and we head inside to the front desk. Wow, this is a pretty nice place – modern décor, but very dimly lit. (On purpose, apparently. Not just the lobby, but even the hallways upstairs have “mood lighting” and little more.) Check-in goes smoothly, and the desk clerk informs us that we’ve been upgraded to a deluxe King room. Hey, we’re not paying for any of it – it’s all an “upgrade” for us!
We take an elevator to the ninth floor and find our room just around the corner. And… wow. It’s a large, spacious room, bright and airy, and decorated mostly in white and chrome, in a dramatic contrast to the dark woods and mood lighting of the public spaces.
I head to the large, south-facing windows, draw back the curtain, and… oh, man, this view is gorgeous. We can see downtown L.A. in the distance to our left, but the real draw is the ocean to our right. We have a clear view of a good section of the beach with the Pacific Ocean stretching off to the horizon.
I could stand here and soak in this view for… oh, ten or fifteen seconds, max. Because we’re hungry. We can always come back to the view.
The prize I won includes airfare, hotel, car service, and tickets to tonight’s premiere, but it does not include meals. It’s almost 1:00, but that’s Pacific time, and our stomachs think it’s closer to 3:00. And our McDonald’s breakfast at D/FW Airport seems a long time ago!
Becky & I head back down to the lobby and go into the gift shop / snack bar. Our Anaheim hotel in 2009 had a wonderful snack bar with a large variety of hot and cold offerings, but no such luck here – there are a couple of cold sandwiches in a display case, but otherwise no real meal offerings.
All is not lost, as Becky recalls that we passed a California Pizza Kitchen just before arriving here, only a block or so away. We have CPK’s at home, but it’s not a place we frequent – in fact, I’m trying to recall if I’ve ever been to one – so it’s “new” enough that we can pretend we’re getting local cuisine. Hey, it does have “California” in its name!
The walk down 2nd Street and onto Wilshire Boulevard is refreshing – the temperature is in the low 70’s, and there’s a warm breeze off of the ocean. It’s wonderful!
We’re steps away from the California Pizza Kitchen when Becky lets out a yelp and pulls away from me. I immediately go into protection mode and try to figure out what has attacked her, but even though there are people around on the streets, no one is within ten feet of us. Becky’s swatting at her face, and something brown falls to the ground.
It’s a dried leaf from a palm tree, that fell off and hit her on the forehead. Thankfully, it wasn’t anywhere near heavy or solid enough to hurt, but it did startle her.
I do what any loving and compassionate husband would do in such a situation. I text Brandon that “Mom just got attacked by a palm tree!”