Getting out of LA was nowhere near as simple as one might expect. First off there was the problem of buying gas for the rental car. I drove into a nice looking gas station, swiped my credit card, and it asked to authorize a 75c charge – weird, but I thought OK, said yes, and it asked me for a PIN. I don’t have a PIN for my credit card so I went inside and asked, and was told that they only took cash or bank card. I told the attendant I would pay cash then, and she agreed, and reset the pump. I walked back outside, pushed the cash option, and was told I had to go inside (where I had just been, saying I would pay cash), and prepay. Dumfounded, wondering why she let me walk back out without mentioning this, I said “F*** this place” drove to the station across the street which took credit cards, and swiped my card.
It asked for a zipcode – not a trivial question for a Canuck, and I didn’t see letters on the keypad.
I walked inside, and was told that without a zipcode she had to hold onto my credit card while I filled the car – faced with that or the prospect of paying $8/gallon at the car rental I gave her the card.
The next step was LAX. LAX is always an interesting experience. It has a reputation as being the most unfriendly, bureaucratic, unnavigable airport in the US. So I decided this was the perfect opportunity to experiment with using a boarding pass on my iPhone – Alaska Airlines said I could do it, and if I could navigate LAX with the iPhone I could navigate anywhere. So I took it, got the mobile pass, and presented it to the lady that was scanning whether I had permission to enter the security lineup – she looked at me and said “Honey, if I was you, I’d go back and print one out, because they wont take that upstairs.” Okay, so I failed on the pre-check before the check. I said ok, and pulled out the boarding pass that I had printed as a backup and she let me through.
While we were in the lineup upstairs, we had another classic LA moment – paparazzi running through, taking pictures of the guy walking through the VIP line of our security checkpoint! Not only that but the paparazzi was carrying a Nikon with, I swear, a 3 foot long lens. It was impressive. What wasn’t impressive was that the guy in front of us had to ask the photographer who he was shooting. The answer, and i quote “That’s Michael Bolton, man!” I had no idea Michael Bolton still rated paparazzi attention – but I guess that’s why there were only 3 of them.
Finally, as we were boarding the plane, there were two famous actors sitting in the first row, first class chatting. Ling and I both recognized them. The problem is we are really good with faces, horrible with names. But they were big enough that we both recognized the faces. We’ve tried to look it up but we hit an impass – I’m saying Joshua Jackson, Ling’s saying Neil Patrick Harris (I disagree, because Neil Patrick Harris can’t grow a beard as thick as that).
So we saw, but we’re 0 for 3 on the identifying. I guess we’re not cut out for the celebrity watch game.