Every fun vacation always has its down side. In my case, the down side were the very last days of it. A week in LA is not enough for me. But it was all I had, and I lived all my days up like it was the very last time I’d be there. Even if I have plans on going back there for the 4th of July next year.
If you think I’ve written up the juicy parts of my vacation in the previous installments, well…you’re right. Kind of. Think of this last installment as the “leftovers” of my delicious trip that I didn’t chew on before, along with the ending that’s not sad, maybe not as juicy as the soap opera that is the SF Giants right now, but a simple finish…that’s also tough for me to write because it acknowledges that I left something good.
*In A Spa Daze*
It was one of the luxuries I wanted to have for this trip: a spa day. A massage-and-facial package just for me. The issue was that I was on a budget (dammit), and even the online deals like Groupon had deals that were either too expensive for me, or had a spa day package that didn’t give me what I really wanted. ($49 deal…for a 30-minute massage & mani-pedi? I’ll pass.) Then I came across a Travelzoo deal that gave me exactly what I wanted. So it wasn’t in Beverly Hills or in West Hollywood. The spa sounded swanky, even if I had to go to a meh casino for it. (It really was a meh casino; all they had were card tables, no colorful neon lights or slot machines, and out-of-shape middle-aged women desperately trying to be like the youth with their tights and Ugg boots. The place was even under construction, but there was no noticeable noise when I went there.)
My spa day was set to begin at 7PM, with my massage starting at 8PM. It was a Monday afternoon, and I was in Beverly Hills to pick up some lunch. Monday afternoon, 5PM, Los Angeles. That means one thing: rush fucking hour. Normally, it takes around 30 minutes to get to Commerce from where I was. Or should I say, abnormally, given where I was at the time. “Normal” if it’s 2 in the morning and no construction on the freeways; a godsend if you can make that drive in that time during rush fucking hour. Knowing all this, I did my best to re-route myself, without having to touch the freeways. Go south on LaBrea, until you hit Slauson in Ladera Heights, then go east from there until you hit Garfield Avenue way out in Commerce. It seemed like things were working…except shit was taking much longer than it should be. I think it was 6PM when I finally hit Slauson. (I will say that the southbound drive on LaBrea is quite picturesque when you drive through the Baldwin Hills.) I was thankful to have that lunch I bought at Beverly Hills, although I wasn’t too pleased to have noshed on a delicious French croissant sandwich while driving, that is better enjoyed in a sit-down no-worries environment.
On top of all this traffic mess? Girlie had to pee. And I still had less than an hour to get to that spa. And there was still traffic on the motherfucking roads! I called up the spa to tell them I was going to be late. They said that it was fine, and that they’ll start my massage a little later. The roads then started to free up, and I finally found a place to relieve myself: by a shaded dumpster in a dark, empty parking lot at some business center.
I finally got to the spa sometime around 7:25PM. (7:10PM if you count me pulling up to the parking lot of the casino where this spa was located.) Called the Meridian Day Spa, it is all luxury, at reasonable prices. Even without an online discount, where else would you get a 2 1/2-hour spa package funder $185? I got the $39 massage-and-spa-day deal, and it was only $20 extra to upgrade the 60-minute session to a 90-minute. All the touches of indulgence were present in the spa, from my own plush robe to quiet sitting areas with relaxing ambience, and even toothbrushes with toothpaste infused in the bristles. They seriously had this, and you bet I took plenty of them back home with me.
I forgot what was in that “stuff” jar.
And then there was the spa area. Two soaking tubs–one hot and cold (the latter of which was broken for the day; just my luck)–a dry sauna, a steam room, Vichy showers that are meant to be experienced, and private bathtubs for those wanting a mineral bath. (As if the soaks from the jacuzzis weren’t enough.) I had all this, surprisingly, on my own. The place was spacious as hell, and I had it all to myself. So that’s why the spa staff told me to come over on Monday night instead of Sunday–no crowds whatsoever. I didn’t expect, however, to be the one person using all these facilities at the time. I’ve gone to similar spas in the Bay Area, and even during times when it wasn’t busy, there was always going to be at least two or three other people around. But here, the soaks, the saunas, those toothbrushes, and the quiet rooms were all for me. Talk about sending me into a relaxed state of mind, after that stressful soul-fuck of a drive.
You know would have made that spa day all the more ideal? If Rafael Nadal rose up from the hot tub I was soaking in and had his way with me, that’s what.
*Autumn Time In The LBC*
The day before my spa day, I had my designated beach day on Sunday. Hung out at Manhattan Beach–possibly my favorite beach out of all the ones along the So-Cal coast that I’ve been to before. These pics prove why.
After that, I headed on out to my second favorite beach, Long Beach. I make an effort to pass by there, even if I end up going there when most of the stores are closed. (I went there Sunday night last year, and did the same this year.) There is one store to check out if you’re in the area: One Dollar Bookstore on Pine Street in downtown. Every book is literally just a buck. Even their magazines, and they have lots of them. They also open late on weekends and validate garage parking.
Again, this place is best described by pictures.
By the way, I’ve been going to the LBC for a while now, and never knew of their Performing Arts Center until this year. I find it interesting that they kept their waters going, even past midnight when I took these pics, while The Getty Center suspended all their water exhibits due to the state drought.
I am sad to report that I did not see 90s rappers Snoop Dogg and Warren G while in this fine city, both of whom proudly repped the LBC in some of their songs.
*Kiss My Bumper Stickers*
I had some interesting bumper stickers on my Prius that I taped onto the Camaro. Depending on your sense of humor and your personal tastes, my stickers have some choice words on them. Like “Stop Making Stupid People Famous” and “Blondes Tease, Brunettes Please”. I’ve driven all over the Bay Area with those messages, so it’s only fitting that I carry on the provocation into So-Cal. And while I was pumping gas at a station on Ventura Blvd. in Studio City, one of my stickers caught the eyes of someone. The message read “Forget World Peace, Visualize Using Your Turn Signal!” And this guy liked it a lot, saying “that’s so fucking true!” He went on to tell me a short story on how some guy didn’t signal on him while he was on the freeway and a little road rage between them ensued. He was also pleased that I was putting that kind of message on display for others to see. We may never see each other again, but I’ll be taking his kind words to the grave.
Yes, I also had my “Leggings Are Not Pants!” sticker in full view. I was subconscious of it when I was at my rental home, because my host was female and wore those things, and may have taken a look at my car. But I refused to take it down. There were so many chicks in LA wearing that shit, and I wasn’t going to counter it all with just my miniskirt and flared pants.
More after the jump…