T'was the night before Christmas, when all through the airport not a creature was boarding, not even a mouse...
I make my way to Toronto Pearson International a good few hours before my flight is due to depart. I think to myself that if I arrive four hours ahead of my flight that I'll have a smooth and stress free journey to California. My airline of choice is American Airlines, and the only flight I manage to get a last-minute seat on, has a 45 minute connection in Charlotte of all places. When I arrive, however, I'm told there's a two hour delay which means that I've already missed my connecting flight and of course there's no more availability on flights to LAX tonight.
Who is crazy enough to fly on Christmas Eve? Me, obviously.
I'm taken by surprise when American Airlines issue me a business class boarding pass for an Air Canada flight, connecting in Montreal. For once, AA seem to do something right, and I'm very impressed. Being nice seems to get you everywhere these days!
Aside from a 2 hour delay in Montreal, everything goes perfectly. I touch down in Los Angeles a few minutes before midnight and as I walk out onto the pavement at Terminal 2 International Arrivals, I feel overwhelmed with joy as I'm surrounded by families reconnecting with their loved ones. I hop into a cab and make my way to West Hollywood, excited to catch up with my friends.
Christmas morning is spent at Norms on La Cienega, it's incredibly cheesy but I love it. Norms is a classic American dive of a diner with a menu the size of a phone book. Actually, they give each person about 4 menus, including a low-calorie "healthy option" menu, but it's Christmas morning so ain't nobody interested in that. I decide on some decadent French toast with maple syrup which I vacuum off my plate before hopping back into the car for a two hour drive to Palm Springs where I spent a wonderful day in the desert with my friend's family.
Throughout the rest of the week, I make it a priority to revisit some of my favourite places in the city, which of course includes many food joints, boutiques and beaches. We spend Boxing Day in Malibu, at the Country Mart and Adamson House, a stunning historic house and gardens situated on the beach.
On the way back to West Hollywood, we make a stop off in beautiful Bel-Air to check out some of the extravagant new homes and make a point to call into the renowned Hotel Bel-Air for a tour of the grounds.
It's a week full of spectacular surroundings, fresh sea breezes, and catching up with friends. I pop into one of my favourite spots in LaLa land, Eric Buterbaugh's floral shop and art gallery on Beverly Boulevard. I met Eric back in July when I interviewed him for Gas & Gander, you can read that here. Eric's brick & mortar is one of the most sought after locations in West Hollywood for luxury fashion events and art installations.
The week passes at a nice pace, and I'm not as sad to leave this time as I have been in the past. I know I'll be back soon, this city makes me dream too much to stay away. My flight back to Toronto departs at 11:45pm on New Year's Eve and lucky for everyone on board, the pilot treats us to the best firework show in all of Los Angeles. We continue to fly at a low altitude, and as the clock strikes midnight, I look out my window and see the whole city lighting up. The beginning of my 2016 is spent on an airplane, somewhere over California, and I wouldn't change it for the world.
I chowed down on many delicious meals at various eateries all over the city, but I'll save all of that #foodporn for my next post.
I'm extremely grateful for everything that's happened in 2015. I've been lucky enough to visit 14 cities, 7 countries and experience 12 months of self-growth and adventure. Wishing everyone the best for 2016.