After the obligatory couple of hours stuck in traffic on the 5, we arrived in Los Angeles around 6:00 PM. After quickly finding our hotel, we discovered that the only parking was valet, and $30 a day. This is something that I think should have been noted when the reservations were made. I don't have a problem with the charge, but they weren't particularly upfront about it. We checked in and then pulled around and into the garage. Our car was completely full of not only our suitcases, including the extra bags of clothes we brough for the wedding and related events that has lived in the car the entire trip up to this point, but also the CDs we bought in Austin, all the tiki stuff we bought in San Diego and other assorted junk accumulated on the road.
I pulled in, Liz talked to the valets and I started ripping the car apart. I attempted to make it clear to the valets that we didn't need any "help," but they were slow in getting the hint. I did manage, in about three minutes, to pull all the suitcases and bags we'd need in L.A. out of the car and get all of the shopping we didn't need packed into the back of the car. This left us with a large stack of bags that normally we would have moved in a couple of trips to the room. Instead, we carried as many as we could (mostly shopping bags) and the bellhop person brought the rest a little later.
Anyone who knows me knows I'm a little weird. I'm very much a D.I.Y. type. I can carry my own bags, I can park my own car and I can open the door for myself without needing someone holding his hand out for a couple of dollars to do it for me. I realize that for some people, maybe most people for all I know, enjoy "luxury" hotels and places where there is someone to wipe your ass for you, but it only makes me angry. I can do for myself most of the time and I prefer to do so, thank you very much.
We were in the room one minute and the phone calls started coming in. Liz had to go meet the bride and some other people. Now. They were on their way out to the bachelorette party. Apparently, I was supposed to meet up with bachelor party. OK, no problem. If I wasn't, I would have just wandered around. This gave me somewhere to wander to. The only problem was we were still waiting for our clothes to be delivered. They turned up not too long after and we went out for the evening.
The evening is a bit of a blur. I wish I could remember the name of the Irish pub where we ate dinner and drank the first several rounds. The Guinness Beef stew was very good. We left there and headed to 7 Grand for Scotch and cigars. I'm not a big Scotch drinker, but this was my chance to try Laphroaig. About 150 years ago, back before any schmuck could sign up for internet access, I was on an online service owned by General Electric called GEnie (no, really). There were a couple of guys on there who swore by the stuff. I've wanted to try it ever since, but I usually drink in pubs; places with a much better beer selection than liquor selection. And I'm not one to buy a $65 bottle of liquor without ever having tried the stuff. Especially given, as I said, that I'm not much of a Scotch drinker. My whisky drinking is generally confined to Jameson in the winter when it's really cold. And given that I live in Florida, those days are few and far between. So, when we walked into the bar and were confronted with an enormous selection of whiskies, I knew what I was ordering.
After the initial shock (and the sensation that I was drinking lighter fluid wore off), I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the stuff. I understand what they say now when Laphroaig is described as "peaty." It tastes a bit like the swamp. And yes, that's a good thing. I would definitely have this again if given the opportunity, which may not be until we're in Los Angeles again.
After a couple of drinks and some interesting conversation (who knew architects were paid as poorly as librarians?), we set off to another bar, which turned out to have some terrifying club night going on, most likely due to the art walk. The place was packed with pretty people, the music was insanely loud and there was some sort of photography session happening in the back courtyard. We squeezed into the back, commandeered a table that someone was leaving and drank our one round before fleeing. We stopped for tacos on our way to the next place. I took a picture so I would remember the place.
We ended the night at a small cafe where several members of the group attempted to convince a group of drunk, underage girls not to attempt to drive back to the suburbs, but to instead call a cab. They wandered in so the driver could get a cup of coffee for the road. I don't think we were successful, but not for lack of trying. Quote of the night: "I hate art walk."
Friday, November 02, 2007