Friday, October 2, 2015

business, with a little vacay mixed in

Last week I went on my first business trip, which was a full week in Huntington Beach, CA.  (Well, I've been on one other, but it was in the next state and it was only one night, so I don't really count that.)  I attended a user conference for software we use at the bank.  The conference was Tuesday through Thursday, but we stayed until Saturday so we could have some down time.

We flew to LAX last Monday.  Our flight took off from JFK in New York at 9:00 am Eastern time and arrived at LAX in California at noon.  Due to the early flight, living further from JFK, having to pick up my niece and sister, the inevitable NY traffic, and the long security lines, I had to get up at 2:45 am so I could get to my sister's house by 4:30 am and leave there by 5 am.  It worked out perfectly--we had only a half hour to wait around before boarding the flight.  It was six hours of flying time, but with the three-hour time difference it looked like three hours.  It was a smooth flight with almost no turbulence, which is good because turbulence makes me really nervous; I'm always conscious of the fact that I'm 37,000 feet up with no control over anything.  We checked into the hotel, the Hyatt Regency Resort & Spa (!), around 1:30 pm.  We promptly dropped all our bags on the floor and relaxed for a bit. We then took the hotel shuttle to the pier, had dinner, and then walked Main Street, which is kind of the main drag in HB with surf shops, restaurants, and other small stores.  We got back around 7:00 pm, just in time for the sunset, and were pretty much all in bed by 9 pm; we were exhausted!

Front of the hotel.

At the pier.  It was an overcast day.

Sunset in front of the hotel, Huntington Beach.

Tuesday and Wednesday were extremely busy for me, as the conference ran from about 8:45 am until about 5:30 pm each day with very little time for anything more than a very fast bathroom break and a quick lunch. Afterwards we drove to Long Beach.  Lots of oil rigs out in that direction.  The ones close to shore are hidden behind a man-made island.

Long Beach, close to sunset.  There's a oil rig behind that "island." Yes, the island is fake.

Long Beach sunset.

Thursday was better, as the conference ended at noon.  When I got out of the conference, we took a cruise to Laguna Beach in a 2015 red Camero convertible (we rented it for two days), then back to Newport Beach for a whale watching cruise.  We didn't see any whales, but we saw lots of dolphins and sea lions, which is a novelty for someone from CT.  The cruise was 2.5 hours and it only cost us each $11.00 (I got a Travel Zoo deal!).  I felt it was the best $11.00 I spent all week; it was very relaxing. The only gripe I have is that the snack bar was basically all candy, plus a popcorn machine. I was starving so I had to settle for popcorn and a lot of bottled water.  We then stopped at Peninsula Park for the sunset.

Laguna Beach.

Laguna Beach.  Gorgeous!


Dolphins! Cruise from Newport Beach.

Isn't this beautiful and so relaxing?

The sea lions are so lazy!

On the pier at Peninsula Park.

Sunset at Peninsula Park.

Friday we took a Hollywood tour to see the stars homes and Rodeo Drive.  It was very interesting to see how close together the stars' homes are to other houses.  One would expect them to have a ton of property with rolling hills, but in reality it reminds me of some of the suburbs around here where the houses are really close together, or close to the street, and without much property.  It's all house, pretty much.  But what gorgeous houses they are!  And the amount of money out there is just obscene!  I was hoping some stars would be spotted, but we didn't see anyone. I enjoyed it anyway, though.

View of the famous Hollywood sign from Mulholland Drive.  Did you know this sign was originally an outdoor ad campaign for a housing development?  Check it out here.

Kat Von D's house.

Whiskey a Go Go.

Richard Gere's house.  I wonder if he's home?

Remember this from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air?

Rodeo Drive.

Rodeo Drive.

Saturday was spent packing up and flying home.  Another smooth flight.  We took off at 1:15 pm from LAX and got into JFK around 9:45 pm.  (Welcome back to East coast time!) I got in around 2 am I believe and it was straight to bed after greeting my husband and the kitties, most of which were happy to see me; a few cats took off, but came around the next day.

So, this week I'm struggling to readjust to Eastern time, and it's rough.  I've been late for work everyday this week. And I feel like I need a vacation from the vacation!

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