Saturday, August 28th, 2010.
On Saturday morning I arose at the normally shocking hour of 5am PST. However, I had been sleeping since 8pm the night before, and seeing as I had gotten up at 2am the day before, 5am was sort of sleeping in! As I woke, I looked out my window for a while at the still dark skies, with a somewhat quiet LAX beneath me. A few cargo movements, but nothing much to note at that hour. After a shower I headed downstairs to the Palmira Restaurant in the Radisson for breakfast. I loaded up on a great Belgian waffle and assorted pastries. They serve some very good coffee there I might add. Around 6:30 I wandered back up to my room, and grabbed my camera for a little stroll through the terminal complex drive (World Way). The grey skies and cool air didn't make for the best pictures, but I got a couple decent shots.
It was however after snapping this third picture of the control tower that out of the corner of my eye I noticed an LAPD motercycle flying towards me. The officer pulled right up in front of me and beckoned me over. Usually not a good sign of anything. "Whatcha doing??", asked the officer, sort of playfully. "Taking some pictures." How else was I supposed to respond?! He proceeded to question me for about 5-10 minutes, occassionally re-asking certain questions to check for story consistancy, looking at my ID and looking at the pictures on my camera. I was slightly worried he's delete everything I took from the past 24 hours! In the end, he obviously did not. He turned out to be a really cool guy, simply doing his job at a major international gateway. In this day in age, it is understandable (so long as you don't make tourists feel like criminals). We BS'd for a bit on everything from sports, to the economy before we went our separate ways. Looking back, I'm kicking myself for not getting a photo-op with him, as he bore a striking resemblance to one Erik Estrada (Ponch) from the classic show CHiPs.
I continued my wandering, and soon enough it was time to meet the folks I knew coming into town that morning at arrivals. After our hello's and some talking,they grabbed a rental car shuttle to get their vehicle (as they would be staying a whole week in Manhattan Beach). I wandered back to my room, packed my stuff and grabbed another Ocean Express ticket. The house they were renting was a mere half-block away from a stop along the route, so why not?
A half hour later, I met them at the house. By now to my great appreciation, the clouds were burning off and the sun was shining!
By now it was nearing 11am, and the day at the beach spread out before me! I threw my stuff inside the house, and with a few others, grabbed my camera again and headed back out to wander up and down "The Strand" as it is called, wander the shopping and commercial districts, eat and jump in what was a rather chilly Pacific Ocean.
We had a great dinner on the deck, grilled out of course. A few beers went with to wash down the amazing food in a beautiful place. Long periods of chatting, laughing and catching up were had. We headed back down to the beach to watch the sunset on what was an astounding day that went by far, far too quickly.
Sunday would be my departure day, and my trip back to reality. I really need to schedule these trips longer in the future. Perhaps though a longer trip would make it harder to go home? Either way, I plan to return next year. I will leave you with a poiniant parting shot from Saturday night, and pick up Sunday as part four of this report.