Our 2nd Honeymoon in Paradise – A Bad Start & a Few Hours in Los Angeles

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A Few Hours In LA

A Few Hours In LA

“Our 2nd Honeymoon in Paradise” Trip Report Index:

Emily Jablon:  Daraius and I planned to leave for our second honeymoon to Bora Bora & Moorea in French Polynesia on Friday evening.  We planned to reach Los Angeles later that evening and go exploring the next day until our late night flight to French Polynesia on Saturday.

I left work at 4:30 (right on time), and called Daraius on my way to the airport (he drove separately) only to learn that he was in standstill traffic due to an accident.  We still had over an hour to make our flight, so I was not too worried.

Daraius:  I always have a 30 minute buffer in the drive to the airport.  So instead of budgeting 1 hours for drive, I allocate 1 hour & 30 minutes.  Except that this time I ate into that buffer by doing trivial things.  I really didn’t need to send some “last minute” emails!

It was raining and I was soon stuck in traffic.  One of the nicest things about living in Kansas is the absence of traffic – except when I’m running late to get to the airport for my 2nd honeymoon!

Emily Jablon:  Daraius called again 15 minutes later and still had not budged.  We decided to make a go for it, and meet at the airport.  I arrived almost an hour before the flight, and got a sandwich for dinner while I waited for Daraius.

Eventually he came, but…

Daraius:  The clock kept ticking and I knew that I wouldn’t make it to the airport in time to check-in our bags and dash to the gate.  So I fidgeting on my phone and tried to see if there was a later Southwest flight which we could take.  But they were all sold out.  Our only option was to fly out the next day.

I reached the airport 10 minutes before our flight was scheduled to leave, parked in the expensive parking lot outside the terminal (instead of in the economy lot) and ran with our bags to the check-in counter, but it was too late to check-in and make our flight.

Emily Jablon:  We decided to rebook for the next afternoon, which was still enough time to make our flight to Papeete in Los Angeles.  I drove back to work after the airport to finish up some of my work that I planned on doing over the weekend in the airport & hotel.

Daraius:  I felt like a complete idiot for missing our flight.  I’ve never missed a flight before, and it didn’t feel very good.  I was angry for messing up Emily’s surprise.

If Emily had been late to the airport, I would have probably been upset at her.  But she was so patient and understanding with me that I felt even worse!  I’m so lucky to have her show me the right path.

The good news was that I could take my car out of the expensive parking lot and park it in the economy lot and save money!

Emily Jablon:  I made sure we left early, and there was no traffic so we made it to the gate with time to spare.  We shared a plate of BBQ at the Pork & Pickle restaurant in the airport.  Of course you can’t compare airport BBQ to Arthur Bryant’s, Jack Stack, or Oklahoma Joe‘s in Kansas City, but it was better than many other airport BBQ restaurants.

A Few Hours In LA

Pork & Pickle in Kansas City Airport

We then took a 3 ½ hour Southwest flight to Los Angeles where we had a 9 hour layover.

Daraius:  I rented a car with Avis to get bonus American Airline miles for $27.  For the 1st time, we got an upgrade to a minivan.  But I prefer driving smaller cars which use less gas, so I swapped the car for a Mitsubishi Galant.

A Few Hours In LA

Thanks for The Upgrade, But…

Emily Jablon:  First we got some last minute things we needed for our trip like water or coral shoes and toothpaste.

A Few Hours In LA

Shopping for Water Shoes

The city has some wonderful examples of Art Deco architecture.  I would have loved to go on an architecture tour and see the city’s gems.

We went to Sunset Boulevard and walked around and then we went to eat at a Cuban restaurant, El Floridita, after reading about it on Chowhound.

A Few Hours In LA

Dinner Time

We ordered empanadas and croquettes for an appetizer, and Daraius had mango juice and I had a mojito.  For our main course, we split a fried steak with rice and beans.

A Few Hours In LA

Empanadas & Croquettes

We really liked the croquettas and empanadas and the very garlic-y sauce.  The mojito was also very good, but the main course was just okay.

After dinner, we went to the classic Mel’s Drive-In.  It’s a 50s diner with all American food like hamburgers, fries, and milkshakes.  I got a butterscotch milkshake that was pretty good.  I think they are known more for the fun interior (complete with authentic jukeboxes) than their food.  By then it was time to go back to the airport.

Unfortunately, we did not have time for “real” sightseeing, but we will definitely be back in Los Angeles at some point!

We finally arrived at the airport 3 hours before our flight so that we could catch up on work and not have to worry about it as much on vacation.  We checked-in and then went to the Air France/KLM business lounge.

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39 responses to “Our 2nd Honeymoon in Paradise – A Bad Start & a Few Hours in Los Angeles

  1. Do you not park at the Parking Spot and use their points program? Every day of the week you can get at least a 10% discount and I have seen at least as high as 25%. Not including a Free day of parking that I got from a Sporting KC game as we were leaving.

  2. You’re right about Oklahoma Joes! Just looking at that BBQ has changed my lunch plans today!

  3. D & E- Mel’s Drive-In is terrible. I went to one of a few in San Fran and gave it a 1 star on Trip Advisor…very rare for me. I heard the shakes were good, but didn’t have one. Oh, well. Can’t wait for the rest of the report!

  4. What a nightmare. No one wants to go through that! Good thing you have a positive outlook on life.

  5. I had no idea that you guys had to wait till the next day to fly out to LA. Glad to hear that you took everything in stride and all worked out in the end!

  6. I’ve been wanting to get to KC for BBQ for a while now.

    Enjoy Moorea, it’s gorgeous there! Make sure to eat at la Roulette food trucks in Papeete. The food was pretty awesome and reasonably priced.

    • @V – I prefer the economy lot in the airport. I get 10% off with the corporate parking card, 1 punch (20% off since 5 punches = 1 free economy day), plus I sometimes use a free day coupon from their website. This is cheaper than the off-airport locations.

      @Pat O – Ha!

      @corinne – I didn’t get a very good impression of Mel’s since it took ~15 minutes to ring us up even though we had a take-away order!

      @Lively @Jimmy @TravelByPoints – It all worked out in the end, though we had to cut into the time we had to spend in LA.

      @Michael W. Travels – We ate off the trucks during our last night in Papeete.

  7. Its very worthwhile to read a few Jonathan Gold articles if you’re seeking out great food in LA. He’s the only food writer to ever win a pulitzer prize! Also the FoodGPS app for iphone is very convenient for a location based recommendations

  8. I am impressed at your candor in screwing something up. That’s another example of what keeps your blog real. LA traffic…

  9. Daraius-
    Could you explain how you got such a cheap rental at Avis? Did you book directly with them?

  10. I would be so mad at myself if I ever missed a flight like that. It is a good thing Emily is so forgiving and kind. In the big scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter. Troubles in life assume such great importance in the moment it is happening but fade into just memories a year later.

    BTW, you guys eat A LOT. I am impressed by the amount of food you both consume and remain relatively thin!

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  16. Oh my goodness. OK Joe’s… ::drool:: I wish they had one in Texas. 🙁

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