Ok, now that I have more time to write and divulge the details of my trip... here it goes:
My plane leaves DFW at 8:30am and arrives at Long Beach airport at 9:20 local time. Although the flight was 2.5 hours, the time difference only sets me back one hour in flight. Nice. My buddy Dan meets me at the gate and we head off to get some breakfast. We stop at a pier in Redondo Beach at eat at the "Redondo Beach Coffee Shop". While I stuff my face with a plate of 4 huge pancakes, Dan goes on to tell me about a scene from the new Fox TV show "OC" which was recently shot in the very coffee shop where we were eating at. Very interesting. From there it was off to his apartment to change clothes, unpack and relax for a bit. About an hour later, I was playing soccer with a group of guys from his office. Every monday and friday they get together on their lunch break and play soccer. That was a lot of fun! After soccer, it was back to his place to get cleaned up and chill for a bit longer. From there it was off to Hollywood! We saw a movie at the famous Mannes Chinese Theater, saw the sidewalk of stars and walked all over Hollywood Blvd and Vine. There were some VERY interesting people to be seen. Around 9pm, Dan and I headed down to Hermosa Beach, to a place called Paradise Sushi. The place was run by an amusing little Japanese guy, that insisted that Dan drink shots of Saki with him. Apparently, Dan and the guys are regulars there and normally drink saki with him. Anyhow, the sushi was excellent and it was a fun time.
Saturday started out very relaxing. Dan, his roomate Dustin and myself packed up our gear and headed down to the beach. Since he lives within walking distance of the beach, it was no big trip. The water was a little chilly but was very refreshing. Body surfing was a blast and I had forgotten how fun it was to crash thru the large surf waves. We chilled on the beach, sunbathing and taking pictures for a couple hours. Then Dan and I headed back to his place, got cleaned up and headed for Venice Beach. Now, those of you who have never been to Venice Beach have to at least know its a freak show! Ive never seen so many bums running so many money making scams for cash. If they worked half as hard at a real job as they do with these scams, they'd be very well off. So we walked around there for a couple hours taking pictures, then it was off to Santa Monica. Once there we grabbed an early dinner at Hooters. Mmmmm... wings. Then took a walk down to the amusment park pier. We were walking out onto the pier looking out over the beach when i noticed people were still swimming even when it was almost totally pitch black out. Right as I thought that, a beach patrol truck rolled up and yelled at them over the loud speaker, "You had 14 hours of daylight to swim. Get out!!". I thought that was pretty funny. After returning from Santa Monica, Dan and I headed over to one of his co-workers places to hang out at a poker night party. By the time we got back to his place, i was beat!
Sunday was our trip down to San Diego to visit our Navy friend and former college buddy, Zach. We arrived at his place and chatted awhile about his time spent on a destroyer during the recent Gulf War. Then it was off to the Naval ship yards and Port. It was cool to see the large war ships pulled into dock. And we also got to see the recently retired USS Constalation in port. This huge aircraft carrier made all other boats look tiny! Zach gave us a tour of San Diego, which I must say is one of the cleanest cities I saw in California. It also wasnt as crowded as the others. Around 7:30, it was time to head north back up to L.A. What we did not count on is a 3 hour, solid traffic jam the entire way! Not till we hit the toll road did we move more than 20 mph. It was a long, tiring trip to say the least. But at least I returned with a camera full of pictures.
Monday was really just a day to relax. We slept in and then got up to play more soccer with his coworkers. Of course while in town, Dan needed my services to fix his PC. (Note to Dan, get a new computer. Yours has had it.) Then the evening was spent with Dan, Dustin and Jason back at Paradise Sushi. More fun times and good sushi! We got home about 11 and all headed off to bed since it was a work day for them and I had an early flight.
Alas my final day was here. I was up and off the couch by 7am and by 7:30 we were headed to the airport. I had forgotten how thorough the security had become. They had take off my shoes and my belt for a search. Then they swabbed my laptop for explosives and checked out my digital camera. The 2.5 hour flight home was uneventful but tiring. I got home, took a nap then headed off to my Tuesday night soccer game. We lost by a goal. What an anti climatic ending to my great trip. Oh well.