Los Angeles – week 2

Read about the supermarket strike, Graham’s issues with his flight ticket, and getting Donna Summer’s autograph.

Well, week2 has just ended and things are beginning to feel like home! Staff at MTA, which run the Greater Los Angeles train & bus services have been on strike since Tuesday so there are no trains or buses except those run by local firms. And since last weekend supermarket workers have been on strike over medical benefits. This has meant some 70,000 workers across 900 stores & three chains of supermarket.

The supermarkets have managed to remain open, using newly hired temps & management, but things are beginning to get a bit ugly at times with fights breaking out on picket lines and temporary workers getting their car tyres slashed. Nevertheless, I managed to get Graham to along with me last Sunday to Vons, one of the supermarkets affected. We crossed the picket-line, manned by about six people, to get in the store then walked quickly out with our shopping without looking back! This weekend I’ve done my shopping at Wal-Mart, but I’ve got a Vons loyalty card so can’t keep away forever.

Some of locals are beginning to get restless with all this strike action, with some people picketing the picket-lines, urging them to go back to work. Sunday also saw us visiting the Fashion Island shopping mall down at Newport. Another classy shopping area, although this one is mostly outdoors rather than an indoor mall. The weather has been glorious this past week, with temperatures in the mid-80’s, although hitting 90 for the last 2 days, and due to reach 100 by next Tuesday. Just to make you even more sick, I filled up with ‘gas’ the other day, $1.68 a gallon – that’s approximately £1.05 a gallon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It’s been a busy week at work so it’s been a much quieter week outside of work, just going out to the local Mexican restaurant at the South Coast Mall on Thursday evening as it was Graham’s final evening before returning to the UK on Friday.

It’s been a stressful time for Graham trying to get his flight home sorted out. As he had originally flown to Seattle for a week before coming down to John Wayne (Orange County) Airport to stay in LA, his return flight back to the UK had been arranged via Seattle. But it seemed a bit daft having to go all the way up to Seattle to get back to London rather than go from Los Angeles, so the ticket was altered. Indeed, as John Wayne Airport is only 10 minutes from the apartment, his flight was re-arranged so that he would fly from John Wayne to LAX, only a 24 minute flight, before getting the onward flight to Heathrow to save me the hassle of getting to LAX and back to drop him off.

So we went to John Wayne Airport on Tuesday evening so that Graham could pick-up the tickets beforehand so save any last minute problems. Well, it was a good job he did, as he was told that he would have to go to LAX to pick-up the tickets so that he could fly from John Wayne to LAX!!!!!!! Er, but doesn’t that defeat the object? The tickets could only be issued by British Airways even though Alaskan Airlines and United Airlines (both involved in the fiasco) had code-share agreements with BA.

Anyway, to cut a long story, after numerous communications between the US and the UK and with the UK organising for United to re-issue the ticket but for United still refusing to when we made a return journey back to John Wayne on Thursday, Graham ended-up getting a cab to LAX on Friday. United Airlines insisted the only way around the issue was to purchase a brand new ticket from John Wayne to LAX – a ridiculous state of affairs when all the airlines are connected to the same Sabre ticketing system.

On Saturday I went to see Donna Summer do a book signing at the local Barnes & Noble store. She was almost an hour late turning up, and that, together with me being near the rear of a very long queue, meant that just before I got to see her the last 50 people, or so, were told that she would be signing only one item, whereas everyone previously had been having all sorts autographed, including old vinyl records they had brought. So I ended up just getting a poster autographed that I had nabbed from the local radio station, who were covering the event, meaning that I was left with a book & cd that I had bought from the store to get signed being a waste of money !! (OK, I probably would have bought the cd anyway, so someone look out for a Donna Summer autobiography as a Christmas present!).

Oh, I forgot to mention, got up at 06:00 to listen to the match commentary for Sheffield United. Wish I’d stayed in bed 🙁 Fox Sports showed the Leeds -v- Man Utd match live, but that kicked-off at 4am over here and I wasn’t getting up at that time. In the evening I went down to Newport Beach, had a walk along the pier & beach and took some photos, which you can see by clicking here.

Before I sign off for another week, I’ll just mention the California Lottery. Last Wednesday the jackpot was $60million – I won $1 for having the bonus ball selected. The jackpot wasn’t won, so rolled-over to last night when the jackpot reached $76m. The news this morning is that it still hasn’t been won and Wednesday night’s rollover jackpot has now reached $92m – approximately £57.5 million!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So I’m on my own for the next week until Andrew joins me next Saturday. If I win the lottery on Wednesday night this web-site may not be updated again for sometime 🙂