Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Sam gets us there

After a brief but refreshing nap, we’re up and (kind of) ready for the actual Hollywood part of our adventure to begin!

At ten till three, our room phone rings. The voice on the other end says his name is Sam and he’s our driver. He tells me that he’s on time for our 3:00 pickup in front of the hotel. And then he warns us that sometimes unoccupied drivers will camp out in front of the hotel and claim to be our prearranged car – but then at the destination they won’t take the voucher. Nice bit of info, that. Sam describes his shirt and tie so that we’ll know it’s him.

We step out of the front door of the hotel just as Sam pulls to the curb, straight up at 3:00. Nice. We climb in (another black Lincoln Town Car), and we’re on our way to Hollywood.

Sam is another friendly, talkative, and outgoing guy. He describes himself as a rarity among local limo drivers – a native Angelino who speaks English! I also like his choice of music: he has a CD of Chopin playing. It’s a classy touch.

Sam asks if we have a car arranged for our return to the hotel later that evening. We do not – that’s the one leg that is not pre-arranged, since no one knows when the premiere event will be over. We’re just supposed to call the company, and they’ll have a car to us in an hour or so after we call.

Sam hands me his business card and says to call him directly – he can be there in less than thirty minutes, maybe faster the later in the evening it gets. Sounds like a plan to us!

We get on Interstate 10 and head west. I point out to Becky that I-10 is the same highway that eventually goes through Beaumont, Texas, where we lived the first ten years of our marriage and our kids were born. Along the way, I catch occasional glimpses of the Hollywood sign, way off in the distance.

I’ve been to L.A. several times, but almost always with a group and never with my own car, so I’ve never been exploring. I’ve never been to Hollywood proper, and my only previous time seeing the Hollywood sign was from a Continental Singers bus traveling east on this same stretch of highway – in 1981, thirty years ago.

At one point on the interstate, traffic briefly slows to about 20 miles per hour. It’s not exactly a traffic jam, but I’ll take it as the second item on my “I’m really in L.A.” checklist. Now we just need to see a celebrity.

Sam exits at La Brea Avenue and we turn north. The Hollywood sign is still in the distance, but we’re getting closer!

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