Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Back to NYC

Ah could there be anywhere better to be? I'm in SFO airport right now with 2 hours until my connecting flight to JFK. Things are just fantastic out here on the left side of the country, I'm having a Pete's coffee with soy milk and enjoying a free wifi connection, no strings attached, completely free. The rental car situation was about the least pleasant of the whole vacation experience, but still even that made me feel like a winner in the end. Do you believe that they try to get renters to take multiple insurance plans, and a pre-pay gas plan too? It all winds up totally to an extra one hundred dollars for the week. Fortunately I realized that the price quote they wanted me to leave the lot with was 299, versus the 191.82 I was quoted on the internet. That said, it was the most fantastic rental car I've had ever. They gave me a Chevy Aveo, which looks a lot like a Kia Rio (it is probably the same car). The spunky little puppy could really bob and weave through curves, and it had some real good brakes too. Everything was manual except for the transmission, and I just loved all of it. I couldn't help but feel sorry for everyone else on the road, because with all of their premium options in their mint cars, they couldn't possibly be having such a care free awesome driving experience. The car was quite hilarious too, eager to always rev it's engine to excruciating decibel levels, only to pull into just about the same speed as everyone else. Yeah it didn't have that much power, but its little size, and the loudness of the engine was just as good.

And the trip! oh the vacation was fantastic, not a day went by that wasn't filled to the brim with destinations, new people, and fantastic scenery. Yesterday I drove up and down Mullholland Drive and stopped at the top of Runyon Canyon National Park. It was a rare moment in my vacation that I had to myself and I just randomly found this park without any plans whatsoever. Seeing a bunch of cars parked on the side of the road, I followed suit and then proceeded to walk down a mountain trail with what seemed like the entire neighborhood, their dogs, and their friends, and their friends' friends. despite it being crowded, it was still so low key, so relaxed, so diverse, so perfect, that I wasn't bothered. The trail just kept going, down all the way to the bottom of one of the Hollywood Hills and then right back up to the top. The sun went found its way to the horizon by the time I got back to my car. Oh and the dogs, wow, I've never seen so many well behaved dogs in my life. The trail had on leash zones, and off leash zones, but the owners mostly kept them off leash through the whole trail, and not once were their dog altercations with people. once or twice a few dogs growled at each other, but even then they quickly mellowed out. The dogs weren't cute little fashion pieces either, I'm no dog expert, but I'd say a few of them may have been pit bulls, some of them were extremely tiny little pocketbook dogs. Anyway, the sunset over all of Los Angeles and I had optimal views. The red skies, blurred with the blue, and the white, so much so that I was willing to assume it was a smog related beauty, not as sharp as the contrasts of colors in an east coast sunset.

Later that day while I had a few minutes to kill before picking up a friend at some classes she was taking at the community college, I decided to walk to a nearby coffee shop, but of course I didn't know where I was going. It was an interesting walk. I went for maybe 2 miles and found nothing, in the city. There were Thai Restaurants and Mexican Restaurants, an "entertainment" place, but nothing hip and trendy. I apparently was in a bad neighborhood, but it didn't feel particularly bad, it was just un-gentrified. The only chain restaurant nearby was a McDonalds, which would've totally ruined the cool experience of just seeing brand new stuff everywhere I went. Lets see over the course of the week I'd been to Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, Westwood, Downtown, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Santa Monica, and Venice. There's more, there had to be more. I put massive miles on that little car.

To some extent I'm a little worried that I didn't really relax at all on my vacation, but then I thought that perhaps I just do everything backwards from the ordinary person. I think I try to relax as much as possible when I'm not on vacation, and so when it comes vacation time, I pick-up the pace and go gang busters. Or it could've been my friend who was nice enough to let me stay at her place with her parents, she's a little bit gung-ho. She was born and raised in Los Angeles, but doesn't believe in staying put, and when she walks it is at this frantic pace that I can't keep up with. I told her in oder to walk with her I have to imagine that I am 10 minutes late for a very important doctor's appointment.

Another friend of mine, oddly enough moved back to his hometown from L.A. back to Maine yesterday. So all week long while being a little stressed about packing stuff up and getting movers to take his boxes, he also had already quit his job and was basically free to hang out. One of my more memorable days was when we drove out to the desert on a whim. I looked at google maps and found national wildlife refuge called San Vicente, either that or it was Lake Perris. Now might be a good time to explain that when I am having the time of my life, really just being enthralled with all the fantastic scenery, the destination tends to be established only to get the ball rolling. In other words, we never really got to our destination, nor did we really know what our destination was. The pictures were fantastic, and I will post the shortly. They very well could have been the last pictures my Canon Rebel xti had taken. If I was a camera, I too would've wanted to end my life in such a place. Well sadly, the camera might have died at the Starbucks we went to later. You see, the desert was about 115 degrees, then the car was air conditioned, then I took the camera with me out of the car and into the Starbucks which attacked its customers with a hard wall of cold air at the door. My theory is that too many temperature changes might have totalled the camera.

I'll still be posting those Shift Shots as there are so many pics I haven't edited down, a little bit left from 2009, and then all of 2010 left, and then I'll find the best of those best and put portfolio posts up from those years. Well, NYC, I'll see you soon, and I hope you aren't having any rumbling downtown stomach problems caused by the controversy that shouldn't even be a controversy. I just can't believe that Americans are so stupid that they can't tolerate one more stupid religion. I really hope all that garbage is just stirred up in the media, because I just can't imagine most New Yorker's caring about how somebody else chooses to worship.


Julie said...

Oh I think I'm going to like this. Someone totally different from what I've read or seen before. Oh YEAH!!!! Really. I am going to do some reading and get to know you a bit, hope you don't mind. :o)
Thank you so much for stopping by. If one day you are just relaxing and want to check something out, go to my main blog and it's about a wife, mom, daycare mom, scout mom and so much more. That is if your interested.
I think this ugly blogger helped out so much. He made me leave my usual safe haven and explore and have met a few unique and cool people.
Take care and I love hearing about your vacation. Now to see what else is happening.
Have a safe trip home. God Bless!!

NYC taxi photo said...

Thanks! definitely, he was a good opportunity to look at more blogs. I'll keep stopping by.

King of New York Hacks said...

Safe travels bro, be sure have good timing coming back to perhaps Hurricane Earl and the nonsense of downtown...vacation sounded like a blast, look forward to seeing you pics out there...I would like to see a desert, never have...look forward to all the pics actually..welcome back.

Kalei's Best Friend said...

How did u like our freeway? (405 & 5)The area around Westwood is a biatch.. They're re doing the Sunset bridge which means u avoid it at night since they close the area down from midnight to 5 am... Did your friend go to LACC? that would be the only area that is sketchy...And at all cost avoid the extra insurance they tack onto rentals... As long as u have adequate insurance the rest is b.s.

NYC taxi photo said...

this time around your freeways were great!! I remember my last trip it sucked when i went from culver city to downtown i think. I had some tea at starbucks and then i had to pee only to be stuck on the freeway in one of the left lanes with no chance for escape.

but yeah this time around it was fantastic. yeah the 405 around sunset got slow, and it was a fun challenge each time to get through the merger around i guess what it the 110, but it all moved, always. now i s'pose if i was late to be somewhere it'd be different. and yes it was LACC