I think I have an internal clock that no matter what goes off at 6:15am. This morning I was again awake at 6:15am. I did some emails, wrote the Reception blog and tried to see whether Stephen was awake (he was staying with my parents). Nothing I did raised him so at just before 9am I gave up and went to breakfast. Most the rest of my family were there including my parents who had somehow managed to get up and leave without waking Stephen up (and he was sleeping in the lounge). Waffles for breakfast for the 3rd consecutive day. When else will I eat waffles for breakfast? Probably next year when we are back in the US again. (Photo is of the hotel room I was in – top floor – they are like townhouse units. If you want to see more the hotel was Residence Inn by Marriott – http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/snapl-residence-inn-anaheim-placentia-fullerton/)
Our flight is only at 9:30pm so we had the whole day to kill. All the family were leaving at different times. Some had already left on an early flight to fly back to Tennessee, my parents & Jason (nephew) were leaving at midday to go to Tennessee and San Francisco respectively, my brother and rest of his family were staying on until Tuesday, my sister and her family were going to Hawaii. As it turns out, the honeymooners are also going to Hawaii to the same island (I believe). Hope they aren’t in the same hotel!
We stayed in the hotel until check out time (12pm). We started watching the USA v Germany soccer game on TV. After 18 minutes the US were 2 – 0 up (!) after a shocking piece of goalkeeping (the keeper basically watched the ball roll into his net from a back pass). We had to leave before finishing watching the whole game but the US finally went on to win 4-3 which is a big upset.
We had decided to go and watch a movie and we found a large shopping/entertainment complex nearby. Watching a movie in LA seems the right thing to do. We watched After Earth which stars both Will Smith and his son (as his son in the movie too). The quality of the movie was superb – best I have seen outside an iMax theater. After that we went for a late lunch (it was about 3pm already) and we had that at a seafood restaurant. I haven’t really eaten in a proper restaurant (if you exclude the reception yesterday) and so it seemed fitting to do that today. Broiled Mexican shrimp and more importantly vegetables (I felt vegetable starved – always eat too much starch in the US). Daniel had fried Catfish and Stephen had a pizza (and is still complaining about the coriander taste in his mouth (@Helen – son after your own taste).
Even after lunch was completed we had plenty of time to kill so we walked around the mall. (@Michael – the mall had all the brands and tried to get them to agree on buying something from Polo for you but they weren’t helping.) We also went to a sports store and messed around inside there on the tread mill (which had Google Maps built in!), threw a football around, bounced a basketball and swung a golf club or two (@Michael – Odyssey putters for $39.99 – discounted by $90!). If I had space in my luggage (only traveling with hand luggage as usual) I would have bought some golf balls which were about half the price of what we would pay in SA. We also did a tour of the Bose store – I need to get some of those mini Bose speakers for our house (@Helen – you will like how small and unobtrusive they are). After all of this messing around it was still only 4pm and so we went to the car and decided to drive around aimlessly.
Our aimless driving took us right past the Crystal Cathedral. I have been there before with my parents and immediately recognized it. Total fluke we drove past it. But I figured it would be a good educational experience for the Stephen & Daniel. This is the Church founded by Robert Schuller who is a proponent of the power of positive thinking. While I like to think good thoughts I clearly don’t think as big as this guy (or as clearly). The place (because I seriously can’t see it as a Church) is over-the-top as it gets. The organ inside is the 3rd largest in the world, contains 16000 individual pipers. Yes – not kidding – 16000! The building is 415 ft in length, 207 ft in width and 128ft in height. The outside is all-glass and it costs $5m a year to keep the glass clean. It has two 90ft tall doors/windows that can open (see photo). It seats 2700 people. Schuller senior is a proponent of the health, wealth and prosperity movement. The problem is that Crystal Cathedral Ministries went bankrupt in 2012 and Schuller senior has sued Schuller junior and the Crystal Cathedral Ministries for copyright infringement and royalties. Seems like the wealth part didn’t work out that well. They have sold the property for $56m to the Catholic Church. They are moving out to smaller premises which they are renting and which only seat 1200 people. Seems like they are attracting less people. And to top it off, Schuller senior’s wife has had a stroke. Seems like the health side also isn’t working out. I think it might be worth them re-thinking their theology.
After wandering around the extensive complex we had worked up a thirst so we found a Starbucks. I hadn’t had a Starbucks coffee since being here and so that’s another US must ticked off. It was around 5pm and so we figured we would make our way to the airport given that it took my about an hour and half when I arrived. Of course it was Sunday so traffic should be less (which it was). But LA traffic still staggers me. At one stage we were on a 7 lane (that is 14 lanes in total) highway. And it was packed full of traffic. We found the Hertz drop off reasonably easy (after one wrong turn), dropped the car off and caught the courtesy bus to the Terminal (and said goodbye to Daniel who is leaving from a different terminal).
It took an age to get through security. They really are pedantically slow. Currently we are sitting in the BA lounge waiting for the flight. Unfortunately we already know it is delayed. Current departure time is now listed at 10pm. It is because the incoming flight is arriving late from Heathrow. It just means our waiting time is transferred from Heathrow to LA instead. Assuming we are not delayed anymore I will probably blog briefly from the lounge at Heathrow.