Today we were supposed to head down to The Getty and see what that was all about. A museum, or gallery, or – some building of great culture – however this was not to be. The Getty is claimed to be an all day event. We no longer had all day, on account of waking late, and getting ready to leave even later. But that was alright. It was near Santa Monica, and that's where we'd be off to tomorrow -
Today we set our giant pirate X on the city of Laguna Beach. Off we drove. I'm told there's a tv show about this place. Now that I think about it, I think it was a spin off from The Hills. But I can't be sure. I have not ever watched either of them. Stepping out of our car onto the streets of Laguna beach, I figured I might look up an episode or two when I get the chance and see what it's all about.
I will tell you this much - aw no rich people, and no fancy anythings. What I did see was mile after mile of art gallery. If I was an artist and I wanted to see my terrible pieces I would go where the money is, and the intellect is not. This seemed to make sense – some of the work wasn't bad, but one gallery just made me feel like I really do need to create my “How to Make Art.” spoof site. The entire gallery was just pictures of women terribly out of focus with high contrast. Clearly that is art worth spending hundreds of dollars on.
We started our experience at an outdoor restaurant where older, cosmetically enhanced, women gossiped three tables over from unwashed, deadlocked teenagers lost to their own deep thoughts and heavy concentration. The ruben sandwich? Put sauerkraut on anything and I'll be happy. Serve it with some bottomless, and well supplied root beer and it's golden.
After eating we left the main roads and headed, predictably enough, to the beach. This was not the beach the locals go to – of that I'm pretty sure. Everyone seemed to be travelling through, like we were. The beach itself was marked as a “no fun” zone. “Absolutely no shell collecting,” was signed everywhere. There was no body boarding, or surfing either. Those who attempted to break this rule were met with red swimsuit wearing baywatchers running – always running – to stop them an let them know what's wrong wth their current behaviour. Once modifications were made, the life guards ran back to their towers. Return jogs would be made by those who refused to learn.
Katherine found her fun by flipping over rocks with young children on a grand adventure to find tiny little crabs scuttling around in tidal pools. This, of course, would have been cracked down on – as there is no disturbing the rocks or bothering the local critters. This area was, as luck would have it, around the cliff edge, free from the red suited guardians of despair.
Despite only allowing sunbathing and reading, the beach was a beautiful sight. Still – it was one that couldn't entertain forever. After walking Laguna Beach we headed off for the mall at Laguna Hills hoping to find fancy stores. Once more we failed. The locals of Laguna Beach do not hang at the Main Beach, nor shop at the local mall. Stores were disappearing, the food court was nearly empty. The only thing of note was the Disney Store stocked with ever helpful staff giving us a complete breakdown of the Beauty and the Beast script, explaining the reason the teacup, Chip, had a chip in it (reason: he was once a little boy before being cursed, and this wee little boy had a chipped tooth.) What type of jerk curses a little child into a cup because they're mad at a prince – or whatever that monster was.
From the mall we headed back into the city, and made our way to Knott's Farm. Now don't be fooled into thinking this is where your groceries are grown, oh no – this place claims to be America's first theme park. But that's not why we were there. Roller coasters are a dime a dozen. What is far more rare is a good tube steak. The perfect hot dog. That's something that I've been on the lookout for – shall we say, all my life? As I've travelled the world I've eaten one hot dog after the next. Iceland had a good one, but few other countries measured up to what I had thought of as the best hot dog in the world: Toronto street meat. Here was the last challenger – Pink's Hot dogs.
Pink's is said to be the best dog in America, which isn't that large a hill to clamor up, but still. I've been told that if you're at the Hollywood location it takes over an hour in line to get in the door. Here, far away from the masses, we were able to grab a Pink's dog without any lines.
My choice? The twelve inch monster dog – sour cream, cheese, chili. The dog itself had bits of jalapeños stuffed right into the casing. The hot dog? Well, I was terrified to bite into it, for if anything was going to topple my hometown treat, it would be this one. With the first bite my fears were confirmed. This was the greatest dog of all time. The greatest hot dog in the, yes – I'll say it – world, nay universe. My lord – how could anything sold from the streets compete with something that has jalapeños built right into the casing? It wasn't a fair fight – and to be truthful, it was three and a half times the price of what I'd get back home – but good tasting is good tasting. The crown has been passed.
Slightly delighted by the nom, an slightly upset that I'll have to modify my term claiming Toronto has the best “street dog” rather than hot dog, I headed back home.
I crashed, we finished watching Penn and Teller's Bullshit, and were almost out when the floodgates (front door) opened, ushering in a flock of people. No longer was the night for kicking back to an early sleep. This night was one spent staying up taking for hours, about – whatever you'll have. Four hours in, I was met with a very American experience.
One of the guys collected guns, and was talking about how he had a pump action, 8 in the something 1 in the something, flash light fixed, laser sighted shot gun. I don't know much about guns – I don't know anything about guns – but I do know abount nonsense. And a laser sighted shotgun? Really? At some point I decide to say something that could have turned terribly bad, were we not dealing with professionals. “It's easy to make up any sort of gun if you don't have to prove it.”
And that's when the gun collection came out. A smaller automatic piece, and then the laser sighted shot gun which was straight out of Terminator. All unloaded of course, I was shocked by how light they were. And the feel? They ha the same texture and colour of a video game controller. It was easy to understand how some people can view them as toys. I've held toy guns that felt more, “real,” than these did.
I don't want to say they were 'cool' because that would be, I don't know, wrong? Being a Canadian the word gun rings as an evil to me. In the great white north we demonize guns more than we do drugs. Ohh Bobby was caught with an eight ball of coke? That crazy kid, always pushing. That we can shrug about. Bobby being caught with a shotgun? There is no hope for him! How could he have such a thing?!
To an American this is ridiculous. To me, well it should be ridiculous too, but it's hard to push aside all those years of forced thought.
As a final note? Guns- terrifying and creepy... and kind of cool.
BUT – you should probably always leave them locked up, and not on the kitchen table. Even if they are unloaded, and thus less harmful than a kitchen knife. You see, that Canadian thinking: guns are bad, wrong, wrong, bad, wrong, bad, bad, wrong, bad. I do believe that second amendment allows you to store them wherever you want, even in the umbrella holder near your front door – though not a good idea, as these are for home defense only. You'd need faster access.
And with those confusing thoughts, I slipped off to bed.
Financial Travel Tip #131: “Rentable” Onward Tickets
11 hours ago