Monday November 4, 2002
Roger and I made our way out to the Le Meridien at Beverly Hills to begin our trek out to LAX to begin our flight. We managed to grab a cab just outside the hotel, Roger parked the car and our trip was officially underway. Our Taxi driver was a Russian version of Peter Lorre. While waiting for Roger, he filled me in on the current state of the Taxi Driver in Los Angeles. He mentioned that business was down at least 30% since the events of September 11. He also mentioned that the constant stream of businessmen that used to come out of the Le Meridien had vanished.
Peter Lorre made it to LAX in pretty good time, despite the usual traffic in the area of the airport. We managed to arrive at Terminal 4 three hours ahead of departure to a ghost town of a terminal. Despite the relative lack of people, we did managed to find ourselves trapped in a line behind a group of 20 tourists returning home to London who were having bag trauma. Apparently, they were not allowed more than 2 carry-ons and they were making a fuss. We did manage to get checked in after a good 15-minute delay and then it was off to the one thing I had been dreading – the new federalized security checkpoints. Thankfully, there was not a line, but I can see just how bad things could get when I noticed queue lines weaving back and forth throughout the upper level. Upon arriving, I had to separate my laptop from the rest of my items as well as any metal or coins. I ended up with three different cartons: laptop, backpack, and jacket. Now out of the three which do you think took the most time to be inspected? That’s right, my nice new Abercrombie jacket that contained a pen, my keys, and my wallet. It took them a good five minutes to examine.
Once past the checkpoint, we made our way down the concourse to explore. We were both a bit peckish so we decided to dine at Chili’s Too – basically a mini Chili’s smack dab in the middle of the airport. The food was pretty decent and the service was actually a notch above regular Chili’s service. We then poked around a bit in the stores while we endured the two-hour wait. Finally, we hung out around our gate. One of the highlights while waiting at the gate was a nice Japanese family who were trying to tame their two kids with a DVD of Spiderman. Unfortunately, the kids got bored before I could really get into the movie.
Finally, it was time for the flight. I was very excited that we had the personal video monitors on the back of the seat as opposed to the one movie choice. The only bad part was that there was not a very good selection available. The choices on the return flight looked much better, so hopefully we will have the same screens on the plane back to the US. One of my observations on the flight was that if you ever travel on an American Airlines Boeing 777, pray that you do not get row 28. This row is directly across from the toilets on the plane. So when they open the door you get the light shining in your face and as an good whiff of the smell of chemically treated waste. Mmm Mmmm Good. Another observation? People talk really loud on planes. I had my earplugs in, and I could still hear the people talking next to me and behind me. They talked for all but the last two hours of the flight, and you can guess which two hours of the flight I finally was able to sleep.
Monday November 4, 2002