Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas in LA

This year we decided to decamp from Portland to LA for the holidays. Snowpocalypse was approaching and we wanted to spend a week with our son and his girlfriend in LA. We left Portland just as the snow was beginning to fall in earnest. As it turns out we were lucky to get out when we did as said Snowpocalypse was the most snow since 1940 or 1840 or something.

The "interesting" part of our trip was that we decided to let my son establish the terms of our stay and mode of transportation...


First off, it was established that we would only use public transportation during our stay in LA. You heard me, Public Transportation. We arrived at LAX and picked up a bus called the Fly Away to Union Central Station in downtown LA. Price was $4.00. It was quite comfortable riding along in the bus. I didn't have to drive on the LA freeway! I did not have to find a parking place! I did however, have to spend seemingly endless hours waiting on the curb with the other 3rd world residents of LA waiting for buses, trains, subways etc. Compared to driving a car getting around was significantly less stressful (for the most part) and Cheap!

Here's 10 good things about mass transit in LA:
1. Low prices.
2. Free lessons in Spanish, Korean, and other less identifiable languages.
3. Free fitness program walking for bus stops, subway stations and train stations.
4. Unlike driving, it is not necessary to look in the direction of travel.
5. Including buses, subways, trains and feet you can travel to most all parts of the city.
6. You actually get to meet people outside of your immediate cohort (family in my case).
7. As for the subways and trains, riders are free from traffic jams.
8. No parking required.
9. Pronounced feeling of "green" superiority.
10. It is perfectly OK to have a few beers and ride (as opposed to drive).


Here's 10 less attractive things we encountered on mass transit:
1. Waiting. God, I missed my car...
2. Waiting. Actually the weather was rather cold.
3. Crazy people. On a number of occasions I thought they had cell phones but no, they were talking, yelling, sometimes screaming at people apparently only visible to them. I have never seen so many people who have lost touch. LA is fricking crazy...
4. The knowledge that probably half the people on the Metro are ripping off their fellow riders by not purchasing tickets. Apparently the city of LA is on the "Honor System".
5. The combination of the horrific condition of LA city streets and the apparent installation of shock "enhancers" in lieu of the more traditional shock abosorbers on the Metro buses results in a condition I will refer to as "instant hemmoroids". A trip through the heart of Beverly Hills on the renowned Wilshire Blvd. resulted in posible kidney damage. We were however able to meet the folks who actually work in Beverly Hills.
6. Native Los Angelenos look at you funny when you admit that you are riding Mass Transit to the exclusion of driving a car.
7. There is a significant loss of spontaneity when you are not at the wheel.
8. Exposure, apparently the City of LA has recently recommended that all citizens by vacinated against hepatitus A. Makes you not want to touch Mass Transit surfaces...
9. General grotty feeling.
10. Huge feeling of disappointment when, train, bus, subway pulls out just as you arrive.

So, fair reader, where do we stand? LA by bus and train, or get on the freeways with everyone else. As for myself, and I can safely say the rest of my family (wife, daughter, son, son's girlfriend) our vacation in LA without a car was on balance a great experience! I would do it again!


  1. "9. Pronounced feeling of "green" superiority."

    I lol'd.

    I agree that the waiting is a significant drawback to the mass transit experience, and a big part of why I'm too lazy to do it very often.

    It was so good to see you! :)

  2. Great post Dean. What's next?


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