Tuesday, April 22, 2008

We're Back from LA

We left for our superfantastic sweepstakes trip to LA on Wednesday. This is the trip that Todd won -- four days and three nights in LA, free airfare and hotel, plus Todd got to spend the day with the stunt coordinator from the movie Diehard IV. Here's a rundown of our festivities:

We got to LA Wednesday afternoon (I got to miss report card pickup!!!). We were met at the airport by a driver (which was so fun). We got to our hotel and got settled. The hotel was super fancy. We then walked around the Hollywood and Highland Center for a bit and got a snack, since we were going to have dinner with my friend Tera in a few hours.

Then as we were getting ready for dinner, Emiko threw up in our hotel room. We thought she was just tired, but then she threw up more in the rental car on the way to see Tera. So we had to cancel dinner. Of course, being LA, getting back to our hotel took forever! Poor Emiko was getting more miserable by the minute. We finally got back and just ordered room service, which I always think is super decadent and fun.

On Thursday, Todd has his Stunt Day at Fox Studios. All the stunt doubles from Diehard IV were there, as well as the stunt coordinator. They reenacted scenes from the movie, then showed the sweepstakes winners how the stunts were performed. Todd said it was really fun. He got back to the hotel with fake blood on him and everything -- that's how close he was to the action.

While he was playing stunt man, Emiko and I got to see Tera after all. She came and picked us up and took us to lunch. Tera and I have been friends for many, many years. She's a fellow Arkansas gal. She's been a vegan for the last few years, but she's very laid back about it -- in that she doesn't proselytize or get mad when I eat meat around her.

She took us to lunch at a vegan cafe called Pure Luck -- it was really good. They use jackfruit, which is an Asian fruit, as a meat substitute. I had the pulled pork bbq sandwich, which used jackfruit instead of pork. It was super good. I was amazed, to be honest. Then we went to Scoops afterwards, which is a famous ice cream place across the street. I had an horchata scoop and a vegan chocolate jasmine scoop. The vegan ice cream was yummy -- I'd never have imagined I would say such a thing!

Friday we hung out with my friend Kris -- another Arkansas gal living in SoCal. She met us at the hotel and we walked to Doughboys, which has what Oprah considers to be the best red velvet cake in America. I don't often agree with Oprah, but she was right on the money on this one. My breakfast was good, but my red velvet cake was heavenly. I had to make myself share some of it with Todd. I really wanted to eat the whole thing by myself!

After brunch, we walked around a bit, and then we went back to the hotel to meet Gary, our driver, for our limo tour of the stars homes! I would never have paid for this sort of thing, but it was super fun. Gary was a great tour guide -- he was really funny and engaging. And I was impressed at his ability to navigate those narrow streets in the Hollywood Hills and Beverly Hills. Most of the houses were shrouded in shrubbery, so you just had to take Gary's word for it that someone famous lived there. We saw David and Victoria Beckham's driveway. We did see Keanu Reeves's house -- it was not covered in shrubbery. And he was home -- his Porsche was in the drive. He had some friends over, judging from the cars out front. He didn't invite us in, though.

We took a break on Rodeo Drive. We walked up the street a bit, and then realized that Emiko had dropped her favorite bunny, so we had to back track and find it. Thank goodness it was still there -- it had been trampled upon by very expensive shoes, but we found it.

That night we got to go to my very favorite superfantastic tiki restaurant, The Bahooka! I love love love the Bahooka. Tera met up with us (and didn't mind that I was eating ribs!). The Bahooka has booths that are lined with fish tanks. So Emiko loved watching the fish. I ate my ribs and drank most of a Flaming Monkey Business -- a rum based drink made for two that comes in a huge bowl and arrives at your table on fire. Awesome!!!

Saturday we drove to Redondo Beach to meet some of Todd's relatives for lunch. His brother and his wife were there. They are expecting their first baby, so they are excited about that. Lunch was good, and then we walked around the pier a bit.

Then Todd wanted to go to his grandparents' grave site and place flowers. Which was very sweet, but he didn't remember where the gravestone actually was. So it took about two hours to find it. Find it we did, however. We placed the flowers and got back in the car.

By now, traffic was getting crazy. It was about 5 when we got back in the car, and we had to be back at the hotel by 7:55 to meet our driver to take us back to the airport. As we were making our way on the 405, Emiko threw up again. A lot! We had checked out of the hotel -- we had no place to go. And traffic was a nightmare.

Finally Todd exited on a side street and drove as fast as he could. Poor baby girl was very unhappy. We got back to the hotel at 7:35! So I rushed Emiko into the lobby bathroom and tried to get her cleaned up as best I could. Luckily I always bring backup clothes.

We got outside and our driver was already there. Todd was still returning the rental car, then he had to try to get the car seat cleaned up. So the driver was a bit impatient, but he was just going to have to wait.

We get to the airport and the American terminal is blocked off. Apparently there had been a bomb threat. So there were a billion police cars and bomb squad trucks. Our driver had to let us off at the Delta terminal and we had to make our way to the American International terminal. Nightmare. We finally made it to the counter and got checked in.

We got back from Los Angeles Sunday morning at 5:30. We took the redeye home, which meant we left LA at 11:55 pm. I don't recommend flying this way -- poor Emiko slept the whole time pretty much, but I had to hold her and we were all scrunched up in those tiny airplane seats, so it wasn't comfortable. But we had a really great time overall.

I'm glad we had Sunday to recover -- we all got in bed together and slept til about 11:30. Then we took another nap later. We are all still pretty worn out, but it was worth it.

But it's nice to be home!


Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm a Keanu Reeves fan as well as some of the others mentioned on the tour. Do you know which tour company it was you went with? There are a few in LA but I want to pick the one you toured with. Thanks.


Shop Girl said...

Your trips sounds like it was fun! I wish I was there to try all of the food!

AMY said...

I'm not sure what the name of the tour company was -- it was all scheduled by the travel agents. But I will try to find out. I'll also post of pic of Keanu's house when we get our pics downloaded.

foxxychica said...

I'm glad you had a ball. Too bad Emiko wasn't feeling well. The first time I took Nia on the airplane she threw up as well. I was going to Florida.

You should have gotten off the tour bus and walked up to Mr. Reeves house and asked him why he didn't invite you over!!

Rabbit said...

Yes Amy.. pls post pix of Keanu's house.. or anything of Keanu.. i'm sure his fans (and me!) will be absolutely thrilled :)