The train was *only* 4.5 hours late pulling into Seattle…
Anyway, I thought that since the Russian Usurper had zero’ed out funding for Amtrak, that one last trip was in order, so I took the Coast Starlight from Los Angeles, California to Seattle, Washington. I learned while on the train that there are only two long haul routes that might be spared if he has his way: the Acela (because, let’s face it: Villagers get what they want) and the Coast Starlight. Amtrak had a map up showing all the routes that would be eliminated, literally everything but the coasts.
So, sorry, pissed-off rural America, your boy is cutting you off. There will be no choice (if he has his way) but to fly-over you, and good luck driving toll roads to airports and paying the usurious parking fees, especially once he incentives the privatization of airports and air travel.
San Diego and La Jolla are more beautiful than ever, if that is possible. We stayed in Little Italy, which is wall-to-wall Italian Restaurants with excellent food and terrific service. L’Italy has an interesting political past/present to get to this point, something called a property-based business improvement district (PBID). It’s like a homeowners association for a business district (with all the pros and cons that those sorts of associations bring with them). I listened to one restaurant owner bitching to his cousin (Italian, right? everyone there seemed to be everyone else’s cousin) about the fees and his profit margins, and his place was packed to the rafters.
The hipsters are present and accounted for, too, with artisan products especially coffee, and of course beer. Beverages are big bidness in San Diego; my Lyft driver told me that there are more microbreweries per capita in San Diego than anywhere else in the country, and it might be true.
Los Angeles was as lovely as ever. We stayed in Los Feliz (which is sort of old Hollywood-ish) and walked/subway’ed everywhere. It is a car-centric culture, but the mass transit is exceptional, and I was shocked to note, well-used. The trains were all at capacity. The most touristy thing we did was to go up to the Griffith Observatory and nerd out with the planets and stars. The air quality is so improved in LA that you can see to downtown and to the ocean from there, which was impossible when I was a kid visiting the grandparents.
The food scene in Los Feliz is vibrant with everything from the super-trendy (the $30 cleanse juice bars, I shit you not. Heh.) to the old school red meat joints; if there is a way to have outdoor dining, SoCal has found it, which is again a change due to the breathable air. The heat was on, but the humidity was very low and so it was really pleasant to walk everywhere.
LA has a bad reputation, I know, but it is a changing, dynamic, and indeed beautiful city; from the ocean to the mountains LA’s big streets frame the long views. Pro tip: when crossing the streets, always look down the vistas to see something fantastic.
Last note: The Bat Signal memorial to Adam West was surprisingly moving, and not surprising that they did it: LA is a one-industry town.
If anyone is interested, I’ll put recommended restaurants in the comments.