LA wrap-up

[On the flight from Los Angeles to Chicago, Oct. 7th, Fri. AM Pacific time]

Tried to wake my brain up with a grande latte from Starbucks at LAX airport, but failed sadly. Brain is still sluggish, the impact of the coffee being mainly on my stomach, which was already struggling to cope with the insanely early morning – we left the hotel at 3:30am – and the rare ribeye steak I dumped on it last night at Ruth’s. The steak was awesome, and the shiraz with it – most probably the most expensive wine I’ve ever had – delicious. All in all, the dinner last night was a perfect ending for a great week. The conference was good, and the freetime activities quality time.

Being in Anaheim, Downtown Disney was only a short walk from our hotel. On Monday we had dinner there, at some Mex restaurant where they made delicious guacamole fresh at the table side. Unfortunately that was about the best part of the dinner; my ceasar salad with fried shrimp was ok, but nothing out of ordinary. We checked out the big lego shop and headed back to our hotel, the shorter way as we were instructed by our dinner company, but as it went, we took a wrong turn at some point and the short way became a darn long way. The best part of which I walked barefoot, for the pumps I was wearing had already given me nasty blisters. They didn’t stop me from taking a couple tentative climb steps up the steep arc wall of the Convention Center on the way, tho 😀

Tuesday evening we got to go to the actual Disneyland, as we had the SharePoint 10years party there. The weather had turned rainy and cool that day, and I was afraid it was my destiny to see all Disneylands in rain – it was raining all day when I visited Tokyo Disneyland 23 years ago – but the rain stopped by the evening. Still, the air was cool, around 15C, and I had packed nothing warm with me except for a vest, and that didn’t seem good enough for being outside for hours. So I got myself a fluffy Mickey sweater from the Disney shop at the hotel lobby, and was warm enough for the evening. Probably I’ll give it to my daughter, if she wants it, but it’s actually a very swell thing to wear on these flights too, what with the air conditioning being set quite low in the planes.

Disneyland was not such an awe as it was back then as a kid, but sure it was fun. Plastic and glamorous in Disney fashion, and the show that ended in fireworks was pretty fab with all the visual effects etc. We were maybe 8000 visitors there (just an educated guess), most rides had long lines, so we were lazy and just walked around, trying out only the Indiana Jones adventure – which was great! We had some strange snacks and blue drinks on the house, left Disneyland just about when it was closing time anyway, and got brushed aside by Goofy who was apparently in too much of a hurry to be out of work to be bothered by another photo-shoot.

Wednesday evening we went for another walk in Downtown Disney, to scout the Disney shop that we hadn’t yet checked out on Monday. My girls have pretty much grown out of the stuff, and there was no Hannah Montana or Wizards of Waverly things there. I almost bought Perry the Platypus fluff toys for the kids and myself (it’s so cute 😀 ), but came to my senses 😉 We did some more shop-hopping, with very little actual shopping and finally strated looking for a suitable diner there, but ended up walking down the street outside Disney. We ended up at Tony Roma, a rib place. The ribs were the most amazing ribs ever! The ribs you get in stores back home are like the basic Nokia phone compared to a sleek smartphone. (Leave it to the nerd to make the comparison in gadgets…)

Walking back to the hotel, it was already quite late and we were all a bit giddy, mainly from being so tired after the jetlags and intensive seminar days and late evenings dining out and having some drinks, but I suppose the Merlot at Tony’s had something to do with it too. We giggled at the hotel named Jolly Roger’s, and envisioned some wild business ideas and innovations, laughed at the idea of dressing up in a Microsoft Gold Partner cape and then bursting into the customers’ offices in true Superman style. We had a jolly time, all week long.

Thursday was only a half day of conference, and unlike the couple previous days, it was a sunny day again. I sneaked out of the conference one session early, to catch an hour in the sun before we went to Hertz to get a rental car and go shopping. Sun batteries charged a bit and tan slightly boosted, I was ready to hit the shops again. We checked out Fry’s and came out empty handed, I got some more M&M’s from the Wal-Mart and then we drove to the Citadel Outlet center to do some serious shopping. Altogether we made an about 1000$ additional contribution to the US economy. Quite a bit cheaper to shop there than in Helsinki.

Despite the great shopping and all the cool places we visited, LA’s not a place I’d miss. It’s way too big, the traffic is horrid – how cool is it to crawl on the crisscrossing freeways for hours and again, everytime you want to go someplace (unless you’re driving at 4am like we were today)? Food was great, in more ways than one, when you found the right places, but most of it seemed to be diners that don’t fall far from MacDonald’s. The service was good almost everywhere, that must be said, and the people friendly – I quite like eg. greeting the other people on the elevator instead of avoiding all contact. But what amazed me was the wasteful culture here. Disposable everything! A new towel in the hotel everyday. And when I opened the box with the rather big bar of soap, the next day I had a new one at my disposal.

So anyway, we left sunny LA this morning with our suitcases full of new clothes and things to give the kids at home, our stomachs still working on the steaks from the previous evening, and our minds satisfied by the seminar sessions and the good times outside the conference. It was a good week, but it’s good to get home too.

[On the flight from Chicago to Helsinki, overnight Oct. 7-8th, Helsinki time]

Stuck in between time zones I have little idea of the current time in where-ever and thus I’ve no idea how long we’ve already been flying, how much there’s to go. The tab probably still shows the Pacific time, cellphone updated its time zone to Chicago while there and my laptop never changed time zones at all so it would still be in Helsinki time, but I’m not about to boot that up anymore. And my brain? It’s clueless, barely out of jetlag from the trip the other way, tired from too little sleep during the week and all the traveling and confused by all this time travel.

If there ever really was glamour for me in flying, it’s long gone. My first flight ever, when I was 12, was a 13 hour flight to Tokyo and the next one obviuosly back from there. It pretty much did it for me. I don’t exactly hate flying in smaller doses – I much rather fly for one hour between places (almost said cities, but that’s basically impossible in Finland 😉 ) in Finland than spend multiple hours in a train, but these 6-9-? hour stretches are a strain. Cramped in a small space unable to sit properly for several hours, let alone stretch legs, or get any decent sleep. I did drift off and again for hours on this flight too after having a glass of cooled Cabernet Sauvignon – a mock of a wine, especially after that awesome Shiraz on Thu night. But real sleep? Nah.

In a couple hours (good thing my travel companion is a little more on the map with these time zones; I suppose I could as well check my world time on these devices but it’s easier to ask 😉 ) we’ll arrive in Helsinki where it’s morning, and there’s a full day ahead again and the last time I slept for real was, unh, my brain can’t be bothered with counting right now, sufficient to say that by the time it would be ok to sleep again I would’ve had a full 4 hours of sleep in two days or so. But knowing myself I’m pretty sure I’ll be ok until evening Finland time. Besides, it’s so early in the morning when we arrive that I fully plan on crashing in bed for a couple hours with my boyfriend who probably won’t be up yet when I arrive. And without him if he is… Just a little nap to get me by.

How cool would it be if the airplanes would be like this aircraft in Fifth Element where passengers each had their own sleep compartment and they were all put to sleep for the flight? Or even better would ofcourse be these portals you simply walk through to get to the other place? Oh well, ’nuff complaining already! Traveling is fun and this trip too was great 🙂 it’s just that I seriously dislike this actual _traveling_ part.

[Pics from the trip]

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