Business Travel to California

My company sent me out to Garden Grove California to train one of our clients on administering their new system. While I love the idea of seeing new places, as a fussy eater, I’m always kind of nervous about the food. That was definitely the case traveling to southern California. Sure, if you like Mexican food, there is plenty of it – and not that pseudo-Mexican Taco Bell stuff either. Unfortunately, I don’t care for Mexican food.

The trip out was relatively uneventful. I had a short layover in Baltimore (just long enough for a restroom break) and then I was off to LA. Thankfully, I still managed to get an exit row. I’m 6’4″ so I need all the legroom I can get. I got to LA around 11AM and I wasn’t seeing the client until 9AM the next day. That gave me plenty of time for some sight seeing.

My first order of business was to see the ocean. I headed out to Santa Monica and noticed Malibu was only another 6 miles, so I figured I might as well see Malibu. I got out there and walked out on the pier and then decided to walk down by the beach itself. When I went down the steps by the pier, I saw a pelican just chilling out. He didn’t seem to mind that I was there either.

After that I headed out to the see the Hollywood sign. I had done a little research and found that Lake Hollywood Drive offers one of the better views, not only of the sign, but also LA if you look the other direction.

I then went down into Hollywood and walked along Hollywood Blvd for a bit. I was going to eat at the Hard Rock Cafe, but it was way too crowded. Instead I grabbed a plain cheeseburger at Hooters which was right across the street from the Chinese Theater.

The next morning, I treated myself to a nice breakfast. Well, I suppose, technically, the company treated me to a nice breakfast. When I travel, I like to start the morning with a good breakfast, preferably at IHOP. Nothing beats a few chocolate chip pancakes and a coffee when your away from home. It satisfies my sweet tooth and fills me up in case the next few meals suck.

That turned out to be a pretty good idea. The client ordered sandwiches in for us all. Unfortunately, they had tomatoes, and lettuce on them. At least they had the mayo and mustard on the side so I could avoid them. I can’t stand lettuce, so I had little choice but to open the sandwich and pull out everything but the turkey. At home, this isn’t a big deal, but in front of a client, it is at least slightly embarrassing.

After the training session I went down to Huntington Beach and then Long Beach. It was getting a little late so I headed back towards the hotel to find some food. Unfortunately, I didn’t really see anything that I wanted so I just went back to the hotel and downed a few granola bars I brought with me for just such an occasion.

The next morning I headed back to LAX very early because I was told that I could end up stuck in traffic for a long time. It actually wasn’t bad. I went up 405 which isn’t as busy. It also goes relatively close to Manhattan Beach. I so made it to the beach around 9AM and there were already surfers out catching some waves.

I got to the airport around 11AM and my flight didn’t leave until 2PM so I figured I should eat since they don’t serve food on Southwest Airlines, just snacks. I walked all over the terminal and found that there really weren’t many options for a fussy eater. I ended up getting Chicken Selects at McDonald’s and found a nice quiet gate to eat them.

The flight itself was pretty good. Despite getting B42 as my check in number, I still managed to get an exit row. We were overbooked and they waited a while till they found someone willing to take a voucher. That delayed us a bit. I only had a 35 minute layover in Chicago. Needless to say I was a bit concerned. As we approached Chicago, they told us about connecting gates. My plane was to leave on B23 and we were coming in on B3. Not too close, but reasonable. Well, when we landed they told us the gate wasn’t ready and we were being moved to A17.  We were coming in late and on a whole different terminal! As it turns out I wasn’t the only one running from A17 to B23. That was good to know. They are much more likely to hold a flight for multiple passengers. We were all a bit out of breath from running, but made the flight.

My wife was waiting for me when I arrived. I was so glad to see her and to be home again, where I know I can find a good meal.


A 15 Year Grudge

I can’t remember the exact year, but I was still in High School at the time. My family went out to McDonald’s for dinner. This was back when they first started to prepare burgers without all the fixings. Yes, some of you probably don’t realize that McDonald’s used to make everything their way. That’s why Burger King’s slogan was “Have it your way”. So naturally, I ordered a plain cheeseburger like I still do when dining out.

When I started eating my burger, it didn’t take long for me to find a piece of onion. Apparently, back then they just scrapped off whatever you didn’t want on your burger – and they missed some. I spit it out and refused to finish my burger. In fact, I refused to eat another McDonald’s burger for at least 15 years.

Even now I am very careful to make sure they understand my order and I check it before I take a bite. This is especially true for drive-thru orders from any fast food establishment.

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