Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Some notes on my trip

1. I fully intended to blog at you all from the same hotel room as before, but, um, never got around to it. Ah well.

2. My hopes of a rental car upgrade were answered! Instead of the Ford Focus, I wound up with a spiffy silver Chrysler PT Cruiser, which although I was initially sceptical, turned out to be quite fun to drive. As usual, the central locking and alarm systems baffled me a bit.

3. San Francisco was full of people complaining about how cold it was.

4. People will surf in Southern California even when the Pacific Ocean is clearly bloody freezing cold.

5. The drive up the Pacific Coast Highway from Newport Beach to Long Beach is about 50,000 times less picturesque than you might think, unless you like shabby liquor stores, dull-looking inland lagoons and signposts to military installations.

6. I drove through what I believe may be the only roundabout on the continental United States. And even took the right exit.

7. Oh yes, complaining about the second flight... actually, it wasn't that bad at all, just a little hour-plus hop from San Francisco to John Wayne airport in Orange County. They almost had to abort the landing though, as OC was socked in with fog. Southern California looked like the arctic from the sky, all covered in white courtesy of some strange weather phenomenon they call the "Marine Layer".

8. The third flight, home from LA, was tedious as a) we left over an hour late for some vaguely-specified reason involving cabin baggage; b) as usual, my headset didn't work and I couldn't hear the movie soundtrack; and c) the captain kept insisting that we were in imminent danger of turbulence, so that nobody was allowed to have laptop computers out and in operation. The turbulence, of course, never materialized.

9. There is excellent Japanese food to be had in a very boring part of a tech-park/industrial estate on Irvine Center Drive. Contact me for details if you're interested.

10. After a couple of days in California, I was despairing of seeing any interesting vehicles, but also relieved at not seeing the horrendous Scion xB like last time. Until two of them passed me, on the last day, on the way to the Los Angeles airport. But that was offset by a couple of nicely tricked-out Dodge Chargers, a handful of well-dressed Mustangs, and a fast-moving BMW M5. None of which is among the most beautiful vehicles ever, but fun nonetheless.

EDIT: I forgot to mention the Bentley Continental GT, another ugly but doubtless fun-to-drive car that whipped past me on Interstate 405.

11. Also as usual - I'm glad to be home.

12 comments:

Rik said...

Welcome Home

Did the BMW M5 have blacked out windows and a booming stereo? It should have, what with being in California.

qluoto: The number of Priii(? - plural of Prias) you see per head in California.

BK said...

Chrysler have not only kissed, but shagged and moved in with the ugly stick, haven't they?

Ricardipus said...

Rik - thanks. And no windows/stereo, unfortunately, but it was driving waaay more than the speed limit (65 mph on the San Diego freeway).

Bk - yes. The front grill is kind of stylish, the rest is just silly. But it was much peppier than expected and handled surprisingly well. Visibility was good too.

Brian said...

Hi Ricardipus,

Here in New England we have rotarys every two miles or so. You are right though, I don't think that they have them in the other parts of the country. I had a friend from OK who was very shaken after his first encounter with one.

Anna said...

Welcome back!

There is a place near Pier 39 in San Fransisco that has stretch hummers like

these.
And did you see Lombard Street?

uyzkas- it's greek for something.

Ricardipus said...

Stretch Hummers - bleuurgh(TM). There's a white one around here too.

Barely saw any of San Fran, just one evening and it was dark. But very picturesque, dinner on the 54th floor of a building as night falls and all the lights come on. Wow.

brian - welcome! There used to be one in my home town (just down Lake Ontario from here) but it's been gone for decades. I've encountered many in the UK though and it's always a bit traumatizing...

...oh yeah, there's also one in my neighbourhood, about 30 seconds from here, but I've gotten used to that one.

"maaautyn!!" - what one shouts as one shoots around a roundabout, madly looking for the right exit.

The Wrath of Dawn said...

There's a famous (read: insanely hard to figure out) intersection in my home town, called Simms' Corner. It's not so bad for the locals, but newcomers are very baffled (read: terrified) by it. Cars feed into it from 4 directions, BUT! they each can go 3 ways and the intersection is very, very big, so that cars that weren't there when you started into it are right in your face before know it and it can be much fun figuring out who has the right of way. They've tried traffic lights, but that just made it worse. I guess you just have to grow up surviving it to understand it.

rdhsstw - shorthand for 'road stew' which is what you can end up as when attempting to nagivate Simms' Corner.

Bob said...

Bah, here in Swindon you don't get anywhere without going through at least five roundabouts on the way. I can drive through one blindfolded now...

Oh, and to echo Dawn, there's a famous roundabout here called the Magic Roundabout which is five mini ones around a big one. It's great watching the terrified expressions on first-timers trying to drive though... *evil laugh*

Bob said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bob said...

And here's a piccy for everyone's enjoyment...

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/calyxpix/calyx%20mm/magic_roundabout/images/magic_029.jpg

Ricardipus said...

Bob - that is truly, truly horrible. I *never* want to drive there.

And in a weird coincidence, the contact person at calyxpix.com has the same first and surname as me. I've known about him (via Google) for a long time but have never "bumped into" him on the web in quite this way. Very odd.

"boyiernk" - the sound people make when bumping into each other in cyberspace

Rik said...

I found this for you. It's another "Magic Roundabout," but this time in Cardiff.

dexdt: What you need to be to get around all these roundabouts.