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Friday, January 29, 2016

The Shingletons arrive in Los Angeles!

My parents and Rachel flew from Atlanta into LAX which is about ten miles away from my home in Los Angeles. They would then be going to Long Beach to spend the night at the Marriott Residence Inn before the cruise. When I lived in South Carolina, I would describe distance in time – “Oh, it’s just a two hour drive.” “About 40 minutes away.” This doesn’t work in LA because ten miles could take 15 minutes or an hour and a half depending on time of day and traffic. Since their plane was scheduled to land at 3:30, that would put them in LA right before rush hour, so ten miles would mean about an hour.

I don’t think my dad initially realized how complicated it was going to be for me to meet up with them. He was contemplating two scenarios – one in which I take an Uber from my house to their hotel in Long Beach. In the other, I go to the airport and pick them up and take them to my house… but because of all of their luggage, I wouldn’t be able to take them all in my sedan in one trip, so it would be two trips to and from the airport. In rush hour.

Then, the day before the cruise, he texted me to bring two cases of water. And I lost it. I was NOT going to take two cases of water, along with my two suitcases and backpack, in an Uber. Had he ever even taken an Uber before?? Did he understand that it was just normal people driving their cars which may or may not have room for all of my crap? And that first I would have to haul it all out onto a curb by myself to wait for the Uber? And that I’m a tiny person, and this is a lot of stuff for me to keep up with by myself??? No. No. No!

So I stopped responding to his text messages until he told me to forget the water, and I thought of a third scenario in which I meet them at the airport and ride with them to Long Beach. My best friend gave me a ride to LAX, so I avoided awkwardly cramming a bunch of luggage into an Uber, as well as the surge rush hour fees, with the added benefit of familiarity and great conversation. And I even brought one case of water.

We roll up to Southwest baggage claim and there is Mom, Dad, and Rachel with about eight suitcases. “The next time someone asks us if we’re moving, just say yes!”

Dad had arranged for a limo service to pick us up from the airport (but I think limos might be out of fashion because everyone rolls around in black Suburbans in LA nowadays). We timed it perfectly to hit rush hour. The drive to the hotel took over an hour, and it was rather miserable. The windows on the ‘burb were heavily tinted, so I couldn’t really see out of them and felt completely disoriented as we sat in stop-and-go traffic the entire way.

We were quite excited to finally arrive at the Marriott Residence Inn, and we were hungry. It was food truck night, so we were able to get tacos without even leaving the hotel. And they were serving complementary beer and wine in the lobby. So we really lucked out.

Residence Inn - Long Beach

Our room at the Residence Inn was spacious and nicely furnished.

I've stayed at several Residence Inns lately since Dad is a Marriott Rewards member, and I'm really impressed with the quality. The rooms are meant for long-term stay, so they are a suite set-up with a kitchenette, king bed, and living room with a pull-out couch. Marriott also provides really nice soaps - travel-sized Paul Mitchell - I'm very picky about shampoo and conditioner, so it's nice to know that I can stay at a Marriott hotel and be able to rely on using the provided soaps. I traveled to Arizona for the National Championship (Clemson played a good game; congrats, Bama) with just a backpack because I knew the Marriott would have good shampoo.

Residence Inn - Long Beach

Residence Inn - Long Beach

Residence Inn - Long Beach

Dad is a big Survivor fan (I was surprised to learn that the show is still running… I watched it as a kid), so we watched the three hour Survivor finale. In the beginning of the third hour, I happened to look under the television where I had placed my camera and realized that I had forgotten to pack my camera battery charger.


It was already 10:00, so nowhere in Long Beach was open. I didn’t want to have to deal with the stress of finding a store to sell me a Nikon D7100 camera battery charger before boarding the ship in the morning. And I would not go on a cruise without a charger for my camera. Taking photos is something that I enjoy. It’s my hobby… my fun. I had packed all of my gear (minus the charger), and it was not going to be for nothing.

So I made a big fuss, swore loudly, then left my jet-lagged family at the Residence Inn and took an hour long roundtrip Uber to my apartment in Westwood to retrieve my battery charger (I grabbed a few other things while I was there) for $95. My dad, of course, wasn’t too happy with me, but my mom was quick to point out that at least this mistake was $900 cheaper than last year’s.

NEXT: All Aboard Pacific Princess!

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