One of the down sides to living in a different country to your family is that holidays tend to be spent returning to the home in which you grew up and revisiting your old friends and haunts. Rarely do you manage to get away somewhere else on the limited holiday time which most jobs offer.
A few years back, Gilly Jr. (really that should be Dr. Gilly Jr.) and I decided to break this trend by travelling to Turkey together. We did the same the following year only this time in Spain. Then I got married and a third country came into the picture - the Grandparents in the US. And now that we're in the US we have a UK, USA, Israel triangle so what are the chances of taking a holiday without causing a broiges?
Anyhow, having made the obligatory (but very welcome) trip home for Pesach this year, coinciding with a visit from my Mother, Mrs G was very keen to get away for a few days at the end of the summer after she quit her job and things quietened down in my office. A few restrictions needed to be overcome; a beach, no hurricanes, warm forecast and not too expensive - which looked a formidable obstacle in hurricane season with flights to the West Coast sky high (excuse the pun).
Then Mrs G found a very wonderful site called www.lastminute.com - basically the US equivalent of Daka90 - flights, hotel for 4 nights and rental of a car in Los Angeles came in at a steal and with the only down side being the possibility of running into the Beckhams we decided to book.
Last month my credit card had a charge on it which looked dodgy so I queried it. After a couple of weeks I got a reasonable explanation - and an additional charge for not paying the bill (it was the only charge on a card I don't use much) - in other words, the only way to avoid this additional charge would have been to pay the charge that I was disputing and then to reclaim the money if it turned out to be bogus. Anyhow - I wanted to use this same credit card to pay for the holiday - the card got turned down as (on top of the charge) they'd put a block on my using the card again until the bill was paid because I hadn't paid because I was disputing. How's that for insult to injury? This was a credit card that I'd held for 15 years, never made a late payment on, have a credit line of over 6000 pounds a month (yes a British, not an Israeli card) and they've frozen it over a charge of 40 lousy quid!
End of intermission.
So we were to have 5 lovely days in LA. Landing at the airport we went to pick up the rental car and I came up with the smart idea of renting a GPS - my friends - if you want to promote Shalom Bayit this is a wonderful ideal. For $8 a day, we managed to get through the trip without one argument over directions - normally we'd have been at it hammer and tongs after 30 seconds! LA is big - huge actually and without a car you're lost - we covered a lot of ground.
We hit up a different beach every day: Venice, Huntingdon, Malibu, Balboa and Laguna - and I managed to avoid burning myself, returning a wonderful shade of brown. The Hollywood sign, Walk of Fame, Chinese Theatre, Mulholland Drive, Sunset Boulevard, Rodeo Drive (window!) shopping, Beverley Hills, Getty Center, Balboa Island Jeff's Gourmet, Open Air Cinema, free Jazz at Hollywood and Highland - what an amazing blast.
Even the weather was great - hot but not humid.
For all my grousing about the US I have to admit that I really loved LA and hope to visit the West Coast again at some point whilst we were here!