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Published: December 16th 2018
Our ship docked early in the Port of Los Angeles and we were disembarked not long after 8am. We quickly found a taxi and went to our hotel in Long Beach. It was not very far so we were there before 9am. We were pleased when the receptionist told us that there was a room ready and we could check in straight away. After the big last night we were glad to be able to rest in the room for a couple of hours. Our hotel was on Long Beach Boulevard and the waterfront was at the end of this. The receptionist said it was about a thirty minute walk, but undaunted we set out under a warm and sunny sky.
There was not a lot to see along this stretch of road and we soon regretted not discovering other means of transport. Still, we pushed on until we came to the imposing Performing Arts Centre at the end of the road. We were still a long way from the waterfront so we continued through the complex of theatres and convention centre, crossed a large highway and could see a marina in the distance. My map showed the Shoreline Village
which promised food and, best of all, a cold drink. We could see the Queen Mary in the near distance and headed that way. Eventually, we came to a series of colourful buildings which was exactly what we had been looking for. By this time we had been walking for nearly an hour and it was after 12 so we stopped at Tequila Jack's for refreshment.This was one of a series of restaurants, overlooking the marina and it had a pleasant outlook. We ordered fajitas for me and enchiladas for Fletcher. These were delicious but as usual enormous in size, accompanied by chips and salad. We took our time, accompanying the meal with a nice white wine, enjoying the rest and the view.
After lunch we explored the nearby shops then I was dreading the walk back. However, the booklet I had taken from the hotel indicated that there was a free bus which took visitors around the main shopping area of Long Beach and there was a stop at the shoreline village. After asking a couple of people, we located the nearby bus stop and waited for a short time. This took us back to the Downtown area
and we used it as a sightseeing bus to get our bearings. We got off in Pine Street which looked interesting and found this was one of the older parts of town with some attractive buildings. There was not much to see however, so we stopped for a drink while I read further. There was another area along the beach, Belmont Shore which looked interesting. We soon found the transport hub of Long Beach and asked at the Information desk for directions. It seems there is a system of buses and the Metro, a light rail, which stops right outside our hotel. It was only 60 cents for a ride for Seniors. Now this was more like it.We were directed to bus 121 from Station H. It was a similar set up to the bus interchange in Civic in Canberra. We were soon in motion, enjoying the passing scenery. At Belmont Shore the bus drove along 2nd Street, a bustling, vibrant strip containing many shops, bars and restaurants, and most of all, people. Apart from the restaurant we had seen very few people in the streets in Downtown Long Beach. We alighted here and spent a lovely time strolling along,
peering into souvenir shops and again stopping for a drink at Panama Joe's.
As twilight set in, (it gets dark about 5pm here) we looked for another resting place. This time it was a bar called Quinn's. This was a sports bar with a large range of craft beers and several TVs showing different sports. While Fletcher drank his Guiness I had a Stella and we enjoyed watching a grid-iron game on the TV. As the bar filled up, I realised I was the only female there( apart from the staff) which didn't faze me. It was a glimpse of American society and a pleasant way to pass some time.Although it was ridiculously early, ( about 5-45) we looked for somewhere to eat. Fletcher noticed a sign, Nick's on 2nd and this looked promising. We went in and got the last table there and it wasn't even 6pm! We hd a fantastic meal here. The ambiance was superb and the waitress bubbly and firendly. I had a beautiful creamy tomato and basil soup followed by a tasty sea bass whie Fletcher opted for prawns. A nice wine was also enjoyed while we people watched and soaked up the atmosphere.The
restaurant appeared to be a well established local icon according to the photos on the wall. It was after 7pm when we left and they were turning tables over rapidly. We found the bus stop and travelled back to the hub where we hopped on the train which took us back to our hotel. We turned in early after a busy day and the let down from the end of the cruise. More adventures await in LA tomorrow.
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