Visiting beaches in LA
It was the perfect plan for a sad occasion. My dad and I planned to go over to Californa, US, for my godfather’s funeral. I would start in Munich and fly into Dublin. My dad would start in Frankfurt and fly into Dublin as well. From there we would continue together to Los Angeles. A hotel in Los Angeles was booked for the first night, a rented car organized.
My concerns were that I wouldn’t be able to make it through preclearance in Dublin in time. Dublin Airport has a special procedure where all the usual immigration screening is done in advance so that you can fly into the US as a domestic flight (note to myself: next time I need to do a little more investigation to find out about such things earlier). I have already experience with missing a connecting flight due to long queues so I try to avoid immigration in between flights as much as possible. But let’s hope for the best and that my 2 hour layover would be sufficient. My dad would be having more time, so no issues there.
I arrived in Dublin on time, headed for the immigration queue and all looked good. Yeah, high five. So I switched on my phone to give an update of my status to my family (thank LAX for free Wifi). Mum’s answer: "Great. I don’t have any news from dad. He is stuck in the plane in Frankfurt and will not reach the plane to LA in time." …. W H A A A A T?
From there on my mum was in charge of changing all the reservations we made while I was on the plane again. The hotel didn’t know about me, they just had my dad’s name. The car rental didn’t have me as the first driver, it was booked on my dad’s name. All of this had to be changed (another note to myself: if you travel with somebody else starting in different locations, try to make the bookings on both names as much as possible in case one is running late).
Bottom line: my dad would arrive 24 hours later and I would have an extra day in LA to spend.
Making the best out of it
I picked Redondo Beach as the starting point, walked along to Hermosa Beach until I reached Manhattan Beach (next note to myself: just because you already have a tan from summer vacation really doesn’t mean you should walk full day on the beach without sun protection, even if it is partially cloudy, don’t, unless you want to look funny a day later).
There was no special agenda. No internet connection to look things up. Thus just time to walk, enjoy the moment and whatever came along.
And suddenly there was this flower on the beach. It looked misplaced but beautiful. No idea how it got there between all the mussels.
Why environment protection is in fact human protection
We talk a lot about environment protection. Often those talks are accompanied by how much this protection will cost and why it is not good for the economy. But is it really the environment we are protecting? We are part of this environment and if it suffers we will suffer too.
You have those piers that are inviting you to fish. They are the perfect spot to get whatever the sea would offer you. Too bad that you should not eat it: "Health problems associated with the exposure to DDTs and PCBs include cancer, liver disease and effects on the immune and endocrine system." (FCEC). Delicious, isn’t it?
You have those beautiful beaches but they might have signs all over the place: don’t swim, because you might get ill.
We are good in sugarcoating things. It is not like we don’t understand that there is a problem. We just prefer not to deal with it. So if there is a big power plant directly next to the beach, just try to make it look nice.
Put some happy animals on it. Hmm, wait… do they need to swim in the water we should not swim in and are they expected to eat what we should not eat due to health reasons?
It was a great day. Nice beaches, cute and impressive houses along the shore, surfing and beach volleyball hall of fames along the piers. But somehow the visit also ended with mixed feelings about what is hidden beyond the beauty.
PS: My dad made it as re-planned.