An exciting thing happened a few months ago. I learned that a college friend would be getting married in Los Angeles. Weddings usually mean drinking, eating, socializing, and dancing, right? What’s not to love? Listen, a few years ago I panicked my way out of attending a dear college friend’s wedding. I hadn’t been on a plane in a lot of years and my anxiety got the better of me. I still deeply regret it. So, this was a chance to redeem myself in the smallest of ways. And? we could take the train and ease my way back into out-of-state travel. So, over the next few days, I plan to take you with us on our Flagstaff to L.A. first-ever Hindu wedding experience. Hope you enjoy!
We began our adventure boarding the train in Flagstaff at about 9 PM, arriving in L.A. about 7 AM. So generally my experience with Amtrak has been so-so, but the main selling points continue to be that, 1., I am not on a plane 2., the cost and regulation hassles are much less than the plane, and 3., my family and I are not driving long distances together. The worst thing, really, is sleeping awkwardly in the seats because I am too cheap to spring for a sleeper car that I know won’t compare to a European train’s equivalent. (I estimated clocking about 3 hours of interrupted sleep.) Luckily the negative experiences we had this go ’round were so funny that they make good stories.
Train douche #1: Sassy cell phone diva
This woman shared more than I ever wanted to know about her and her family between 9 and 10 PM on her loud cell phone conversations. The best rundown I can remember:
- She loves to smoke pot
- She bought various articles of clothing for her family member that may or may not fit
- She keeps her family in “good” toiletry products, such as expensive toilet paper and body wash
- Cursing often and loudly on a train into your cell phone is a WAY OF LIFE
Best quote: “I buy Charmin, bitches!”
Train douche #2: The Rap Mogul
Grand Master Douchebag needed to have a conversation at midnight about mixing his latest record. Well, I guess it wasn’t really a conversation so much as it was him leaving multiple cell phone messages. They had to be loud and involve cursing because we’re on the train, yo, and I am IMPORTANT! (I semi-forgave him later as his loud in-person conversations with his travel companions earlier in the morning revealed that he had served in Afghanistan, which doesn’t forgive his train douchery entirely, but I’m willing to cut him some slack.)
After arriving in L.A., generally making ourselves semi-human, we needed to kill a bit of time before we could pick up our rental car. Making it the optimal time for my dorky excitement of trying to recreate a picture of me and Monkey from 8 years earlier. Not bad, if I do say so myself.
I know I’m his mom, but I get choked up comparing his 20-month-old and nine-year-old legs.
Oh, and we also engaged in general photographic silliness (faux falling in the fountain and failing at capturing throwing flowers on Hubby).
Driving in L.A. or The GPS Almost Killed Us
Hubby was not especially excited about the prospect of driving in L.A. I rarely drive making him the sometimes reluctant default driver. In order to aid our ignorance of getting around L.A., we got a GPS with the car. Never having used one, it took some getting used to, making leaving the train station a bit of an ordeal. Did you know that GPSs can’t account for detours? Or at least ours seemingly couldn’t, and as we tried to scramble to figure out how to leave downtown L.A. and head toward the beach, Hubby turned on to a one-way street. EEEK! Fortunately the panic was short-lived as a kind bus driver waved us in front of him to complete the U-turn. Thank you, bus driver! (And, probably because of the sleep deprivation, all I could picture as we turned into oncoming traffic was the episode of The Office where Michael thinks the GPS wants him to turn into the lake, and so he does. Also, in a wonderful and annoying way, Sheryl Crow’s “All I Wanna Do” was playing a loop in my head. I mean, she says, “This is L.A.” right at the beginning of the song…)
After the initially rocky start, some time around 11 we made it to Zuma Beach and proceeded to beach it up! We enjoyed the sand, waves, water, sun, collecting seashells, burying the boys, and just soaked up the surreal beauty that we rarely get to take in.
Dinner and Henna
Post beach adventure, we wandered toward The Valley on a recommended scenic road (Kanan Dume) where the hotel and wedding were. We stocked up at Trader Joe’s, rested for a bit at the hotel and then it was time for dinner and henna at The Bride’s parents’ house. Oh, before we get to that I have to relay what created just sleep-deprived, slap-happy laughter in all of us. Not being well-acquainted with car GPS systems nearly everything it did was foreign to us. By the time we were heading to The Bride’s parents’ house, we were more familiar with how to use the system, but it still made us giggle for days. Why? The way it would computer crazily announce the streets to turn on. Hubby described it as dropping hot oil on yourself as you are saying the street name (loud and oddly inflected). The best way I can describe it is the voice sounded like the woman Cheri Oteri played in early 2000s SNL who took a ton of prescription medicine. Eh, it probably doesn’t translate well, but the boys and I will be laughing for days if any of us shouts, “TO-panGA CAnYon BOULeVARD!”
OK, back to dinner and henna…We were so lucky to have this experience. Monkey easily fell in to playing with the other children there. Hubby and I had fun talking to The Bride’s most dear college friends. We ate amazing Indian food, not knowing what anything was (as we did the majority of the weekend) and LOVED it. And, of course, the ladies and I were lucky enough to have beautiful henna applied. *sigh*
So, rest up for tomorrow. If I can get it together I’ll post the DAY LONG WEDDING SPECTACULAR!