Maybe I ate too much because I have nightmares late last night. I awake from one particular one that featured a particular location; I open my eyes and start wondering where I am. When the wood-panelled walls reveal my location aboard the Queen Mary, I instantly feel safe and calm down.
The same happens after I leave the room early in the morning for a Starbucks coffee (Yes, the only coffee to be found on the ship) and a cigarette. Being back among those wood panels is good for one's nerves ;-)
One thing I still want to see before checking out: The engine room. This ship was built before Diesel engines became viable or fashionable for ships; What propelled this ship are coal-fired steam turbines! The engine room opens at 10 am and the effort put into the displays is formidable!
Time to check out.
After this I have to take 2 different buses, but instead of hopping right on the next bus, I decide to walk parallel to the bus route along the beach. After all, it would be a shame of coming to Long Beach and never seeing The long beach, eh?
|Grandstands for the Grand Prix. Glad I wasn't here for that . Just imagine the NOISE!|
|My first glance of The Beach. But my bladder first directs me to the 'next building'. The washroom is inhabited by a homeless person and his bicycle.|
Both from afar and near, this is my least favourite beach. The lifeless water can't even manage any audible wave action and there is too much dirt and debris everywhere.
|The infamous black-footed California Seagull !|
|I can still see the Queen Mary from here (Surprisingly I did not turn into a salt pillar ;-)|
|By now I have taken my hoodie off. It's tanning time ;-)|
|Yes that is a green well-watered lawn. What drought?|
|Mystery Island with waterfall gate|
|Belmont Pier, which means I'm almost out of Long Beach!|
|The immaculately paved and cleaned bicycle path|
Again, people pay try to vacation by the sea, but there is never actually anyone on the beach. Not that I mind ;-) From all of LA's beaches, Long Beach is so far the one that seems the most polluted and devoid of life.
After more than one hour of walking, I hit Belmont. Belmont does no longer have the Long Beach feeling. Thank God!
The woman in the first shop I enter happily provides me with change for the bus from a $10 bill. She even asks whether I'd like quarters, but I decline. Slight mistake, but when the bus arrives and I learn that the fare is $1.25 and I start shoving the 2nd dollar bill into the slot (buses do NOT give change), the driver waves me away with the words "That's OK". WOW.
I take the 121 to the exchange station and am faced with a dilemma. According to Google, my last bus is supposed to leave at 14:27. I arrived at the bus stop at 14:26 and at 14:40 there is still no bus. The bus runs every 60 minutes. According to Google Maps, it would take me 57 minutes to walk the 3 miles to my motel. What to do?
I start walking.
I walk a while and have a tomato soup and a glass of Chardonnay at Mimi's Café (sounds cute, but it's a chain !)
|I have WALKED to Orange County!|
I walk some more and at a random bus stop take a break and just for fun check when the next bus should arrive. 2 minutes! It actually arrives after 7 minutes; better than in the first attempt.
I check into Oceanview Motel in Sunset Beach. Run by an East-Indian family; the rooms have fridge, coffee maker (!), microwave (mine wasn't working ;-( and a basket with 2 energy bars as welcome food. All the fancy hotels up to now (with the exception of Hotel Hermosa) couldn't even manage a coffee maker.
Then it's beach time (5 minute walk from the hotel).
From its location and the way it's situated, Sunset Beach could be my favourite beach.
If only it did not have those black dirt deposits ;-(
I wonder where those could come from ;-(
Then I'm entering yet another death zone.
|close-up: definitely a mammal; sea-lion or big seal?|
|This one on the other hand looks like a seal|
|The sky is looking angry|
Panda Palace on the main road is closed . So was the gas station/food market 2 blocks back. I mention this to the owner of another small grocery store across the road. In return he offers me a second bottle of the cheap stuff I buy for $2 off.. I explain that I am travelling with a backpack and my feet and that a second bottle would exceed the allowed weight limit.
"So how much time have you spent on the road and how far have you travelled ?" he asks. Do I have that weathered look already? Do I look like the guy on the island in the Canadian Expedia ad already ?