Los Angeles, CA 2020

Wednesday, October 21

Well, this is certainly turning into one giant clusterfuck, but if anyone can power through on a vacation, it is us! The long of it is that during the Covid pandemic, New York State keeps a running list of other state’s daily testing positivity rates and if certain thresholds are surpassed, our state requires a mandatory quarantine period of 14 days upon reentry to New York. That said, I declared months ago that as soon as the state of Nevada came off the list, we would take a long weekend to head to Las Vegas for a dinner at our favorite place, Restaurant Guy Savoy. Well, in September El and I were driving and she was checking her emails reading aloud her daily digest from Gov. Cuomo that declared Nevada was at an “acceptable” rate of Covid positivity and had been removed from the list, which allowed New Yorkers to travel to the state without having to quarantine upon return! Within 24 hours we had made our dinner reservations, booked plane tickets and found a room in Vegas for the long weekend at the end of October. Our mouths were already watering. Then, not four, count ‘em, four days later, Nevada got readded to the list putting our entire trip in jeopardy. Having been to Las Vegas several times already, we opted to brainstorm rather than cancel everything and let this experience slip through our fingers that easily. We consulted the updated list and decided to pivot our trip to the state of Arizona. We moved our dinner reservation from Saturday night to Sunday and reserved a rental car that we could drive from Las Vegas to Phoenix where we would spend three days before driving back to Vegas for our dinner and flight home on Monday morning. Over the next few weeks I did as much research as I could to find stuff to do, soliciting ideas from friends who had been there and consulting my usual websites. We were only going to be there for three days, so we didn’t need all that much in the way of options...just enough to keep us busy. We were golden. Bags packed. Itineraries printed. In fact, we checked into our flights for tonight. Our Albany > Philadelphia > Las Vegas flight was on time and we were confirmed. At work today, I checked my messages at break time. El had sent me a note saying “Arizona has been added to the list! What should I do?” I told her not to do anything, yet. We need to move forward. Even though Nevada is still on the list we are still going on the trip (as far as I was concerned). With a 7:00pm flight, it was now noon, so we had some time to consider our options. I thought about things while I worked and called El. I told her to grab our passports and if she had some time, to price out flights from Las Vegas to some city in a state that is not on the list and if that fails, I think Mexico is allowing American tourists and maybe we could use that to our advantage. I called her two hours later to learn that she was able to divert us from Vegas to Los Angeles. I was frankly shocked to learn that California, at some point had been removed from the list. But, we now needed to undo most of our reservations between Las Vegas and Phoenix and start booking accommodations in Los Angeles. If anyone can make this work, it is us, so we are moving full steam ahead…with our dinner reservation on Sunday remaining unchanged. I tried to do some quick searches for things to do, but between arranging hotels and alerting a couple of friends that we were coming to town, time was not on our side. Additionally, some tourist attractions seem to be closed for Covid. Having been to Los Angeles a few times, we are not particularly concerned about seeing first tier tourist spots, so we are going to wing it the best we can. Our flight from Albany to Philadelphia was uneventful and our flight to Los Angeles took off on time, set to land around midnight.

Thursday, October 22

Getting in after midnight with our body clocks out of whack, we wake around 8:30 and get started with our day. I send a text to my second cousin, Dave, who lives out here and ask to see if he is available to meet in the next couple of days. We grab a breakfast at the hotel, though the quality is not too good. It is a Marriott and we were offered a “complimentary” breakfast, but when we showed up we were surprised to see a menu with prices like you would expect to see at a Marriott (ie. $14 for plate of scrambled eggs). We asked where the complimentary food was and were issued a paper bag with a single bagel, a packet of cream cheese, cup of yogurt, and an apple inside. I couldn’t hide my disappointment as we were pointed to the toaster should we prefer a warm bagel. Even the coffee was terrible. We ate what we could and checked out, making the first stop a place called the “sunken city” on the coast in San Pedro. In 1929 a landslide on the Pacific coast took several houses, a stretch of road, as well as a section of streetcar track. The site still exists and you can view the remains of foundations, concrete slab and steel materials jumbled together as the land meets the water. We found the spot with no problem, but we were looking at it from street level (as opposed to the beach level looking up). The area is posted a no trespassing zone and you can only view the site from a distance and through a fence. We could certainly make out what we expected to see in terms of concrete- albeit graffiti covered, metal, and foundation, but with this distance from the site, we didn’t need to spend a lot of time here. We took our photos and moved on.

"sunken city" from afar

The next stop was in downtown Los Angeles. A spot called The Last Bookstore, which is, as you would expect, a bookstore, both used and new, but also a record store and a collective where artists of several mediums can work and display their art for browsing or purchase. On the way, David calls to welcome us to Los Angeles and tells us that he is free Saturday and will text us a meeting place. We find The Last Bookstore and head upstairs where one of the stalls was a knitting shop, so El spent some time there while I browsed books, but quickly found a couch to sit and look up our next stop. There is, a few blocks away, something called the Angel’s Flight which is said to be the world’s shortest railway. I start looking up directions to the station, alas, the line is closed for repairs today and will reopen tomorrow. I guess I may never know the significance of this transport. Instead, getting a bit hungry, we walked around the corner to the Grand Central Market, which is like the Reading Terminal Market (in Philadelphia) a collection of food vendors offering many different cuisines from tacos to BBQ to vegan ramen. I order a pastrami sandwich at Wexlers Deli. With food in hand, we are immediately presented with a challenge as due to Covid, all seating must be outside with all indoor seating partitioned off. This is a problem at lunchtime since there are many people buying their lunch and not enough seats, a lot of people hovering over seats they hope will empty soon. Frustrated with this situation, we decide to head to our hotel, get checked in and eat our lunch there. While eating lunch I reached out to a longtime friend who lives nearby and he was available this afternoon. We went to pick him up in Burbank and then to a local bakery/coffee shop called Movses near him to reconnect since I haven’t seen him in so many years. We spend about two hours at the shop with him and then head out, dropping him off at home. Our next stop is called Cilantro Mexican Grill. We hear that this is a classically trained chef whose restaurant is located inside a Chevron gas station in North Hollywood. We find the station and the offerings look good, we place our orders that are only available to take out, then head back to the hotel to enjoy the very decent dinner. Just after dinner, El falls asleep, exhausted from the lack of sleep over the past days, and decides to call it a night. Meanwhile, I head over to my friend, Mike’s house for a socially distanced reunion of college friends. It turns out that coincidentally, Mike only lives less than a half mile from our hotel, so the ride takes less than two minutes. Ian is already there. We sit and chat for a couple of hours while respecting Mike’s measures to keep his family safe by hanging in the backyard with much distance between each of us. As it gets on 11:00pm, Mike needs to get Ian home and I return to the room, journal for a few minutes and turn in for a good night’s sleep. Dave texts the name of a place in Venice that we can meet him at on Saturday.

Friday, October 23

Waking up before 6:00am, we shower and head out before 7:00. Our only commitment today is dinner with our friends Dave and Val tonight at 7:30. Our first stop is to try to find Bronson Cave in Griffith Park. This is the actual bat cave from the 1960’s television show.

na-na na-na na-na na-na na-na na-na na-na na-na...batcave

We park as close as we can and make the short walk up to the cave. Once there, I wouldn’t say I was disappointed, but I guess I expected it to look a little more iconic. It didn’t help that 1) there was a photographer and two models actively doing a photo shoot in and around the entrance to the cave, making it tricky to even get a shot without them in the frame. And 2) there is a couple walking their dogs in the area without leashes and when two of the rambunctious dogs approach me I get tense, but when I feel a wet dog nose on my leg, I protest and demand they leash their dogs as I do not want to hear about how “they don’t bite” and “they are just glad to see me”. They leash the dogs and move along, though my interest in this site is quickly fading. Following the nearby trail, we then walk up towards the “Hollywood” sign. It is not a terrible hike and just about as difficult as I would want to undertake. At some point the trail splits and you can take a more difficult hike to the top and actually stand behind the iconic sign. We chose the easier trail and opt to enjoy the closer view of the sign from below. We take our pictures and head back down.

El tries to get a grip on the place

We discuss our next stop on the walk down and decide to call a place called the Hollywood Sculpture Garden. As with most attractions these days, it is a good idea to call ahead to see if any hours are different than the website lists. Appointments are required and we make one for the next slot, at 1pm. We arrive at the home in the Hollywood Hills a bit early and take a rest in the car before going in for our time slot. The owner, Robby Gordon, approaches our car and tells us that the last group was a no show, so we are welcome to start now. Due to Covid, he is not allowing anyone inside the house which is supposed to be full of art. We walk around the property, taking our photos of things like mufflers that are made to look like robots or rocks tied together with wire that look like a scorpion. Lots of mannequins painted and adorned with reclaimed trash. We understand that several artists converge on the house to create and install their work on the grounds. We also hear that several of the pieces are electric and light up after dark, giving the garden a bit of a different dimension. At the end of our walk through, we speak with the artist/owner who admits he has watched us on camera from inside the house as we made our way through the path- making our meeting him in his garage a little less of a coincidence. As we exit the stairs, he comes out to greet us and talk a little bit about our visit to Los Angeles. He is a nice man, but we didn’t understand about the Covid restriction of going inside the house until this point, which made the experience a little anticlimactic (we understood the garden walk was the prelude to the inside of the house)- though an interesting way to spend a half hour in the Hollywood Hills. We are now hungry and head to Pink’s Hotdogs at the corner of Melrose and La Brea. The line is not too long and does move along, giving us time to choose our dogs. Unable to decide on two, I order three. First is the “Rosie O'Donnell Long Island Dog” [stretch dog, mustard, onions, chili, sauerkraut] which is decent. I also get the house signature chili dog [hot dog, cheese, and chili]. Again decent, but the chili is nothing to write home about. However, my spicy Chicago Polish sausage [topped with tomato, onion, mustard] was the star of the meal. Much spicier than I expected, but very good. In fact, El helps herself to about half of the sandwich.

L-R: house signature chili dog, El's dog with only sauerkraut, spicy Chicago Polish sausage, “Rosie O'Donnell Long Island Dog”

My second cousin Dave called me today to tell me that someone he had come in contact with earlier in the week has tested positive for Covid and out of an abundance of caution, felt it best to postpone our in person meeting. After thinking about it, we suggest a Zoom meeting on Saturday just to catch up and say hello in a somewhat more personal way than a phone call. It turned out to be the next best thing to the café we were going to meet at. It was great chatting with him for a time and only wish I could have heard more stories from his past. You see, Dave has lived a life full of a who’s who of musical celebrity and I could listen to him tell those kinds of stories for hours (or longer). After Pink’s, and in the area, we head to The Hollywood Forever Cemetery. It is located on Santa Monica Blvd. and we know there are some famous people interred here. We park nearby and walk to the entrance. You buy a map at the gift shop for $5 and it lists all of the graves people may want to see, all pinpointed on the map. I ask if this is more of a drive through or walk through cemetery (we have been to both kinds) and she tells me to drive to the sections and then walk from there. El sits and reviews that list of a couple hundred names while I go get the car to pick her up. There are some big names that we don’t necessarily need to see, but we whittle it down to about ten to find. I am a little surprised at how unremarkable most of the sites are. One of the lures to many cemeteries for us is the incredible sculpture work that can be seen in the headstones of (usually people with money). Ironically, many of those people, you have never heard their names, but then here you have some internationally recognizable names under remarkably unremarkable headstones or gravesites. Judy Garland is one of our first stops and she is in a mausoleum and has a crypt flanked by many smaller crypts (little bigger than urn-sized) that, from the looks of it, people can pay to be interred themselves in the vicinity of their idol. For me, the main points of interest were Chris Cornell, Johnny and Dee Dee Ramone, and Bugsy Siegel. Of the four, Johnny had the most elaborate grave marker with a life size statue of the man himself.


Dee Dee had a nice headstone that includes a Ramones logo. Bugsy was an unremarkable crypt in the Jewish section of the cemetery, and Chris Cornell has a mostly plain plot adorned with some flowers and a single photo of the man. We don’t spend more than an hour here. We head back to the hotel to nap until we leave to meet Dave and Val for dinner in Woodland Hills- about a half hour drive. The reservation is for 7:30 and we are on our way a bit before 7:00. On the way to meet Dave and Val, Dave calls to tell us that he screwed up and only made the reservations for two people instead of four and that the restaurant tells him that they cannot accommodate the change at this time. We instead pivot and head to Dave and Val’s house in Chatsworth and get Indian food delivered, catching up and visiting while we wait for it to come. The food is very decent and the company excellent. Dave has an early commitment for work tomorrow, so we try not to make it too late of a night and we are back at the hotel before 11pm. Calling it a night.

Saturday, October 24

El read about a local breakfast spot that gets high marks. It is called Foxy’s in Glendale and we head out around 8:00 to check it out. Unlike New York which has limited inside seating at restaurants and bars, Los Angeles has zero indoor options and all seating options are of the outdoor variety. This means patio and sidewalk only. We find the place easily and there is a 30 minute wait for a seat. The breakfast I order is chicken fajita omelette with home fries and a chocolate milkshake. It is a very good breakfast and big enough that we will not need to eat for a while. We have about three hours before our noontime appointment (we set up a Zoom meeting with David for noon), so on the way back to the hotel, we stop at Forest Lawn Cemetery. Unlike Hollywood Forever, Forest Lawn does not exactly publicize their interments. If you know what/who you are looking for, they will help you find it, but they do not sell pinpointed maps or list people on their grounds. Of course with the internet, you can pretty much find anything you need to about the place. We choose to visit Lemmy’s memorial and see what we can on the way. I pull up to the information booth and ask if he can help me find the memorial of “Ian Fraser Kilmister”. He looks at me and says “oh, ‘Lemmy’, sure” handing me a map to get me to the vicinity- “if you find Ronnie James Dio, ‘Lemmy’ is directly across from him”, he tells us. We found Dio easily as it is a rather large monument. Even with the guard’s directions, we were having trouble finding “Lemmy” so we used the internet to get the more specific direction we needed.

me, Lem, and El

It was getting close enough to noon that we made our way back to the room for our Zoom call. After we were done on Zoom, El and I reached out to (my college friend) Mike and went to do another backyard meetup with he and (girlfriend) Cat until 4:00pm when Cat had other commitments she needed to attend to. Again, nice to see and speak with Mike. After we leave Mike’s, we head down to Hollywood to a spot that El read about: “The Redd Foxx Walk of Fame”. Not actually part of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but outside of the building that used to be Redd Foxx’s office(?), is a sidewalk section that, when the concrete was poured many years ago, several of Redd’s circle of friends wrote messages in the wet cement with a stick and are now immortalized in the 10’x10’ section. We find it without much difficulty, though once we arrive, we are pretty sure we know why we never heard of it…besides Redd Foxx, we don’t know any of the other people- hell, Grady isn’t even among them!

oh right, Al Scott, now there is a household name

It doesn’t take us more than a couple of minutes before we are on our way to what used to be Grumman’s Chinese Theater, but it is now officially called TLC Chinese Theater. Due to Covid, in order to ensure social distancing they have barricaded the once roamable area off and now you can pay $5 to go in and walk among the footprints and put your hands in the handprints of the stars who were there before you. We don’t need a closer look, having been there years ago. We take a couple of pictures and move on. I need to pee, so we duck into a Starbucks, fully prepared to buy a coffee if required for the use of the facilities. Sadly, as we have found several times on this trip, the restrooms are closed and we are pointed to the closest place that will allow public use of theirs. We jump back in the car and head off to our dinner plan. A recent episode of “Taste The Nation” featured the Iranian cuisine of an area of Los Angeles affectionately known as “Tehrangeles”, considering L.A. has the largest Iranian population outside of Iran. A restaurant called Shamshiri Grill was featured and we search it out to experience Persian food, a cuisine that well versed in. It is located on Westwood Blvd. and in an area of town not too busy at this hour on a Saturday night. We start off by splitting an appetizer of tahdig, which is a house specialty. It is a plate of baked rice with your choice of stew ladled on top of it. We choose the beef and lentil stew and the plate is very good and plenty for the two of us to share. For entrée, I got a chicken shawarma plate, while El looks for something a little more foreign in preparation and taste. She winds up with albalou polo, a sour cherry and rice dish. All of the food is very good and we would definitely come back here the next time we are in town. While we are dining, we reach out to the Rainbow Bar and Grill to see if they take reservations- they do and we sign up for 8:30. After dinner we drive up to Sunset Blvd. and are seated immediately. We are looking for a drink only, but, like in New York, we are required to purchase a food item. A little pricey, but the Italian menu does look good. However, having just come from dinner, we don’t need more appetizers and go for the dessert. A hot fudge sundae fits the bill. El orders a beer while I order a “Lemmy” in one of the only bars that takes the order without asking me the ingredients [Put Jack Daniels and Coca Cola in an ice filled shaker and add some dashes of bitters. Shake and strain into a whiskey glass and garnish with a lemon wedge]. We drink, raising a glass to the rocker who is immortalized in his own lounge with a lifesize statue.

me, Lem, and El

We drink our drinks, eat our ice cream, all while running outside every 18 minutes to feed the meter. After an hour we are ready to head back and call it a night.

Sunday, October 25

We are up and out this morning to head to Las Vegas. Our first stop is another breakfast place El read about in the town of Glendora called the Donut Man. It is just a few minutes off the highway and is a small building with no seating at all. You can see their offerings in the window and choose at the takeout window before grabbing your order to go. At this point I really need to pee before diving into the pastry. I also need gas, so I fill the tank while El goes in to check the restroom situation. Sadly, theirs is closed. There is no way I will make it to Vegas without a pee break so we start back to the highway to try to find some other option. We spot a McDonald’s and they do have bathrooms we can use. Once we are done and washed up, we sit in the parking lot eating our donut purchase before moving on. The drive to Las Vegas is around 4 hours. At this rate we should be there around 1:00pm. At some point, though, El figures out that there is a casino called Whiskey Pete’s in Primm, NV (near the California/Nevada border) that is known for owning and displaying the actual Bonnie and Clyde death car. A 1934 Ford V8 riddled with bullet holes during the infamous ambush that took down the notorious gangsters Bonnie & Clyde. They also display the actual shirt that Clyde Barrow was wearing when killed as well as another bullet riddled car once owned by gangster ‘Dutch’ Schultz and later, Al Capone. I was just interested in Bonnie and Clyde’s car.

some say this site is haunted, getting unusual sensations or odd images in their photos, but we didn't experience anything weird

We were in and out of the casino in a matter of minutes and continuing on our way to Vegas. We pulled into downtown Las Vegas to a considerable amount of traffic (for a Sunday, I thought). Luckily, our hotel, Caesar’s Palace, is not too far off the highway exit. We know we have to return our rental car at the Cosmopolitan Hotel, but we want to check in at Caesar’s first, so we don't have to carry our luggage between the hotels. It is around 1:30 and after waiting in line to get to the reception desk we are informed that our room keys will not be available until 4:00. Our options are thus: pay a $50 early check in fee, pay an upgrade charge for a room that has key availability now, or drop our bags at the bell desk and they will text us when the room is ready for us. We have to go drop the car anyway, so it just made sense to go with the last option. On our way back to the garage, we see that Caesar’s actually has a Hertz location in it. I ask at the desk if we can drop our car here instead of Cosmopolitan? She tells me they would charge us a $100 change-of-dropoff-location fee. Forget it, we have to leave and fill up the gas anyway. We once again brave the traffic and find a gas station. While en route to get gas, El calls Hertz at Cosmopolitan to see if there are any directions for where to park the car before heading inside to process the paperwork. Well, when you call any Hertz location and it rings four times, you are automatically connected with the national customer service line. In speaking with them, they inform us that Cosmopolitan location closes on Sunday at noon and will reopen Monday! Apart from questioning why we would have been given a reservation appointment to drop the car at a location that is closed (and, by the way, does NOT have an after hours dropoff facility), we try to talk through our options. We tell her that we know Caesar’s has a Hertz location that we know is open and could we just drop it there? We can, for a $100 change-of-dropoff-location fee! El politely pleads with them to waive the fee considering the circumstances and they reluctantly agree to drop the fee to $10- why $10 we have no idea. Sadly, we have few other options and decide to head back to Caesar’s to drop the car. On the way we get a text that our room is now ready and we can head to the reception area to collect our key. We drop the car and head to reception only to realize that everyone must have gotten the same text blast and now there are hundreds of people in the reception area, making the very concept of social distancing a pipe dream. There are lines for reception as well as for the kiosks and it is a sea of people all in the same boat. Nonetheless, we get our key and get to our room. Our dinner reservation at Guy Savoy is at 5:30. This gives us plenty of time to get settled in and dressed up for our meal. Since the restaurant is located in Caesar’s we only have to figure out where. As with most Las Vegas hotels, though, this place is huge, so just walking from one side to the other can take some time. There are plenty of people to ask along the way to get directions.

We arrive on time and are seated immediately- coincidentally at the same table we sat at the last time we were here four years ago. There are no printed menus and each table has a two-sided card with QR codes, one for this evening’s menu and the other for the wine list. Not able to agree on the same menu, and since tasting menus must be ordered for the entire table, we opt for a la carte. The first person to welcome us is the champagne cart. Having been burned before by the incorrect assumption that the champagne was complimentary only to find out it was $50 per glass(!) once the bill arrived, we chose to politely decline. We each order a cocktail to start. A gin and tonic for me. Very fine, though I think I like my own better. The first food out is a single bite of foie gras atop a wafer of sour cherry toast topped with a champagne gelée. Next up is the bread cart. He arrives with about 10 offerings and in pre-Covid times you could pick and choose which breads you wanted- and they would be cut to order. Today, he only introduces us to the bread varieties and explains that we will each be given a sampler plate of all of the breads. We place our order and enjoy our drinks as the amuse arrives. Tonight, is a warm chestnut soup with a single arugula leaf. Served in a shot glass meant to be sipped in one or two portions. Alongside is a trio of bites: a single broccoli floret with crispy brown rice and jalapeno sauce; a small piece of salsify with bacon bits on top- a nice surprise since we have not seen salsify lately; last is a crispy parsnip round with a salmon mousse on top. All lovely. Though the broccoli was my favorite. We pass on any sommelier suggestions and opt for a bottle of Jen-Luc Colombo “les bartarelles” 2014 Chateauneuf Du Pape. I wind up getting an interesting lesson in wine as the bottle is opened and poured. Next out is our first course…the one we came for…the restaurant’s signature dish, artichoke soup with parmesan and black truffles served with a toasted mushroom brioche with truffle butter. The waiter recommends dunking the brioche in the soup. The flavor is bold and every bit as good as we remember it. Next up, we ordered a single portion of tonight’s only off the menu special, a white truffle risotto with parmesan and mascarpone finished with shaved white truffles on top. With those ingredients, you can imagine the taste was sublime. Then, the entrée is served. We each got a different option, El went with the Wagyu beef, while I got the poached lobster with carrot puree and tortelloni and coral foam. While excellent, it wasn’t as perfect of a combination as I had hoped for. It was visually pleasant and the lobster was decent but the carrots and foam were definitely a bit more on the visual side than the tasty side. After we wrap up our entrée, we are served a post meal palate cleanser of red wine poached pear sorbet on top of toasted pearl barley and baked pear and apple cubes. We each order a different dessert, mine called “coconut six ways,” a dessert I had last time. Basically, it is served in a large wine glass and as the name implies is six different preparations of coconut stratified in the one glass. The recommendation is to use a spoon to dig straight to the bottom and pull up some of each layer each time as some are more sweet than others. If you like coconut, as I do, it is a wonderful dessert. We each get a coffee to enjoy with our desserts and begin the digestion process. Though we are offered more sweets from a cart, we pass knowing that any more food will be overkill and leave us feeling uncomfortably full. We welcome the last palate cleanser to wrap up the meal, a melon-ball sized scoop of Earl Grey sorbet.

tonights bread cart

toasted mushroom brioche

artichoke soup with parmesan and black truffles. quite possibly the best thing I ever put in my mouth

white truffle risotto: decadence in a bowl

in our post Guy Savoy bliss

We pay and stop at the entrance where the hostess is happy to take our photos to remember the occasion. This meal was the single event that this entire trip was based on. It was worth every penny to relive the memories that we associate with it in our relationship, this being the fourth time at Guy Savoy (twice in Paris and now twice in Las Vegas). As we reflect just before leaving, we remember our parents, especially my mom who would have been incredibly excited to hear every detail of the meal upon our return. Since we are staying at Caesar’s Palace, we only have to walk back to our room, grabbing a nightcap to go just before getting the elevator up. We are mostly packed by the time we go to sleep. I wind up having one the absolute worst nights of sleep in recent memory. Between going to bed too full from dinner, an incredibly uncomfortable mattress, being given only a down comforter that is too hot when on and too cold when off, and a supremely annoying noise that I could not pinpoint- not sure if it was from the room fridge, inside the hotel or outside, but it was a constant beeping that sounded somewhat like a garbage truck backing up- all night long. It was quiet, but when you rest in silence, even faint sounding can be enough to act like an alarm clock…All. Night. Long! I hope I can sleep a little on the plane.

Monday, October 26

Our flight leaves at 9:00am and we Uber to the airport around 7:00. We know from past experience that the airport is relatively close by and are quite surprised at the $27 rate for the taxi. The Uber is just $15 and arrives in less than one minute. We have no issues at all with getting our flight on time.

In Conclusion

If there is one thing that the Covid pandemic has taught us, it is that we need to be able to adapt to new situations. I like to say I can let the virus change my life, but I don’t want it to ruin my life. While I believe that El and I are taking the proper measures during this time to keep ourselves and others safe, I see some people who are going to extraordinary measures to keep themselves safe. Their measures include limited time out of the house, let alone travel of any kind. But, for us, I am still comfortable with the vacation we took. We got thrown for a couple of loops along the way, but in the end a few days away together was just the thing we needed. And the dinner was the truffle butter on the toasted brioche, so to speak. Of course, I look forward to the days we can travel internationally again and if borders don’t open up in the near future, I may have to do some research on the places that already allow Americans to visit- I mean, that is what we just did, basically (found a place that is currently willing to let New Yorkers visit during the pandemic). Once those borders open though, be sure we will be eyeing our options and getting ourselves back to normal- and for us, that includes getting as far away from home as we can. We’ll get there, just later than sooner, I guess.

One last thought, our flight home connected through Baltimore. As we sat at the gate waiting for the boarding to start a gentleman announced that since our flight was bound for the state of New York, everyone had to scan the posted QR code that would bring you to the NY Dept. of Health website and to a questionnaire regarding your current and recent travels. The list was about 10 questions long and opened additional questions depending on how previous ones were answered. Once you finished the screen displayed your name and quarantine requirement (none or mandatory). You then had to take a screenshot of the display. Once we got off the plane in Albany, we were greeted by soldiers who checked everyone's screenshot and would wave you on or handle a quarantine case if there were any. We were waved on, as our travels did not qualify us for a mandatory quarantine upon arrival.