Kayakers on Bow Lake, in between Jasper and Banff, Alberta.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Nova Scotia on August 17th.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Next stop, San Francisco, and then Singapore!

We called our Uber driver  from our AirBnb in Calgary at 3:30am yesterday morning. Yes, silly o'clock!

I was a little worried that there wouldn't be many Uber drivers around at that hour of the day (or night!), but it turned out that we only had to wait about 8 minutes and there he was, ready to bring us to Calgary airport for our 6:05am flight to Los Angeles.

I made a bit of a mistake in asking him to bring us right to the terminal. Uber taxis pay an airport transit fee... or at least you do, as part of your fare. But if you book the drop off at just outside the airport and walk the extra five minutes, you can save that fee. And get some exercise in the process. Something I'll keep in mind for the future.

The guy was friendly and talkative... even at 3:30 in the morning!

We got ourselves through security, and then through U.S. customs and border protection pre-clearance. You actually go through U.S. customs while in the Calgary airport so that you don't have to do it when you get off the plane at LAX.

Everything went smoothly, and we were on the plane when the pilot came on saying there was frost on the wings and he wanted to have them de-iced.

Being de-iced at sunrise.

The plane was probably only half full... and nobody in the first class section at all. Nice to have some extra space though with only the two of us in a three seat row.

Looking down on downtown Calgary. 

Lots of snow in the mountains.

Arriving in Los Angeles.
I's a big city!

Downtown L.A. from the air.

We got on the ground and made our way outside to the beautiful blue sky and sunshine. Oh, how we have been missing that! 

We had 22 hours before out next flight, so I booked us an AirBnb less than 5 kms (3 miles) from the airport. It was such a nice day we decided to walk it.

At 8:45am in Los Angeles, walking with our Chester Luggage to the AirBnb.

Arrived at the AirBnb and let ourselves in using a lock code sent by our hosts. Ginger the dog was there to greet us... everything else is pretty much self serve. 

We had a nap for an hour, and then decided to take the local bus to Santa Monica. It was going to involve a lot of walking as well, but what better way to enjoy the beautiful day.

Santa Monica Pier.

Here was are!

I was in Santa Monica in 1986... the year our son was born. I was at a work conference with a co-worker friend and he and I rented a car and drove from San Francisco to L.A., stopping in Santa Monica to walk to Venice Beach.

So Ruth and I decided to do the same walk.

Going by memory, Santa Monica is now nicer than it was 30 years ago... and Venice Beach is now worse than it was 30 years ago!

Santa Monica Beach.

The Amusement Park on Santa Monica Pier.

Ruth, on Santa Monica Pier. 

It was busy, with lots of people.

We think it was extra busy because the Los Angeles area just finished up with a week or so of rain and miserable weather. Yesterday was the first nice day in about a week, so people were outside enjoying it... despite the fact that it as a little windy. The blue sky and sunshine made up for it.

We walked another 5 kms (3 miles) or so.

We needed some food, so we looked for an ethnic restaurant. I found a Caribbean place with good reviews just south of Santa Monica. The "Cha Cha Chicken". It's a counter serve place that's been there for 22 years.

And it's easy to see why. Great food at reasonable prices.

Ruth, with our meals at Cha Cha Chicken.

Not cheap by our standards, but cheap by Santa Monica standards. Total bill was $23.95 USD ($32.50 CAD) for the two of us. But, that was in the middle of the afternoon and we were stuffed for the rest of the day and wouldn't need any more food.

Carrying on towards Venice Beach it was still busy with people. An "eclectic" crowd, for sure. Lots of interesting people to watch. But, a bit trashy too, in my opinion, with too many homeless people. Not something I could really recommend. Between the homeless people camped out at one side of the walking path, and the t-shirt vendors on the other side... it's really not that attractive to us.

Venice Beach scenery.

We took the local bus (actually, three different ones) back to the AirBnb. Bought a bottle of wine, and relaxed for the evening.

But, there is not much relaxing to be done because we are up again at silly o'clock this morning for our 6:30am flight from Los Angeles to San Francisco, and then after a two and a half hour connection time we have the 17 hour flight from San Francisco to Singapore!

Not sure when you'll hear from us again!

Zero Gravity Camp Chairs are on sale today. Both the regular and the oversize versions.

And in Canada...


  1. The number of homeless people in this country is a national disgrace. If someone really wanted to make America great again, they could start there, for my money.

    1. Yes, it is a disgrace but to be honest most of the people we saw seem to want that kind of life. I don't think any of the help we could give would change their minds, for them it's a lifestyle. Not saying that about all homeless people but certainly about many of them.

  2. Wow! I haven't been to Venice Beach in 30 years and it sure has changed. I was a fun and quirky place to hang around. Glad you finally found some warm and sunny weather.

    1. I bet it has changed over the years, most places do and not always for the better. We definitely prefered Santa Monica better, although I do have to say the Venice Beach was not boring, just tashy.

  3. A lot of folks displaced by last year's wildfires still havent found permanent homes.

    1. These people did not look like they were displaced by the wildfires, many looked like they lived this way for a good long time.

  4. My butt hurts just thinking of how long your flight will be. Hope the plane isn't full so you can get some elbow room. Looking forward to your upcoming adventures. Australia is on our bucket list.

    1. Yeah, well my butt hurt after that flight for sure. It is a very long flight! It wasn't totally full but very close to it and we were getting really hopeful that we were going to have an empty seat beside us, but right at the very end someone sat down in it. :-(

      Just four more days and then we will be in Australia and ready for some adventure. I hope we don't let you down.

  5. Yep I walked from Venice Beach to Santa Monica Pier for exercise while working in L.A. No homeless people back in 2008. I too took a bus back to hotel cuz it got dark on me. I don't envy you the 17 hour flight...hope it's not crowded and can move around a bit. I usually stand up and do deep knee bends in isle every so often. It's why I prefer an isle seat. I've never been on a 17 hour flight...yikes!!

    1. Well there are lots of them now. Venice beach definitely didn't impress us.

      Yep, a 17 hour flight is a very long flight and it was made even longer when we had to sit in the plane for an extra hour and 15 minutes before taking off. I am glad that it isn't a flight that we have to do on a regular basis. We did get up a few times to stretch our legs and give them a good shake to keep the blood flowing.

  6. Ruth must be feeling better! So glad... have a great trip, and keep us posted.

    1. Definitely feeling better. I seem to be lacking in the energy department though. I still have to work on that, but the pain and the headache have finally gone away.

  7. I was at Venice beach about 20 years ago and I thought it was trashy then...couldn't see the attraction.

    1. Well I guess it hasn't changed much since then. Santa Monica was much nicer in our opinion.

  8. We were there in 1997. Venice was a dump. Looks like it hasn't changed. No solution to the homelessness. What a broken but "rich" country.

    1. Nope, sounds like it hasn't changed much. I don't know if the system is broken or if some people just prefer to live that type of lifestyle, I know that some people want to live this way even if you throw money at them, I not sure things would change.

  9. Never been to either of these beaches so it's good to see the "current state of affairs"....don't think I'll miss much if I didn't go. Nice to see your happy smiling faces; and Ruth looks like she's back to 100%. Take care on that 17 hour flight...I've done the 14 hours from SFO to MLA...t'was okay as long as you walk around and do exercises along the way and drink lots of water!Bon Voyage!

    1. Then you really haven't missed much. If you were to go, then we would suggest Santa Monica.

      I'm still not back to 100% but pretty close to it. I still find that my energy level is low and I need to work on that.

      We did get up every once in a while to stretch our legs and give them a good shake to keep the blood flowing. We were really happy to have a good selection of movies to choose from to help pass the time.


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