Tuesday, 23 August 2022


Our flight is just before two. Not knowing what sort of chaos might await at the airport, nor what traffic will be like, we check out at 10:30.

The traffic, it turns out, isn't that bad. Then again, it is Sunday morning.

No sign of chaos at departures, either. Sky Priority has us checked in within a few minutes. Security takes just a few more and we're airside with more than 2 hours until our flight.

“It’s disappointingly unchaotic.”

“Don’t you mean reassuringly unchaotic, Dad?”

“I know what I mean.”

With all the airport crap done, it’s time for more important matters.

"Let's find a pub." I suggest. As always. The kids don't argue. I’m so proud of them.

And sure enough, there's one, Barney's Beanery. Conveniently on the way to our gate. Unfortunately, there's a bit of a queue. It'll be 20 to 25 minutes to get a table. Other options being few on the ground, we wait.

Eventually, we get in. And promptly order some beer. Well, Andrew and I do.

“What do you want to drink, kids?”


“Cider. And a Diet Cola.”

“And an IPA for me.”

“You’re so predictable, Dad.”

“Thanks, Lexxie.”

“That wasn’t meant as a compliment.”

“But that’s how I took it. Victory to me.”

“You’re weird.”

A bit of food seems a good idea. We haven’t eaten yet. I get a taco. It's not bad, but pretty pricey. It is an airport, after all. Lexxie goes for a burger. Andrew has a few of his chips. The greedy bastard.

We time getting to the gate perfectly, arriving just in time for priority boarding.

It’s a short fight. Just 20-odd minutes in the air. We leave the gate and start to taxi. Down the airport one way. Then back up the other. Despite gong to the toilet right before boarding, I'm starting to feel the need for a piss. After 20 minutes, we still haven't taken off. It's 25 minutes after leaving the gate when we finally get airborne.

I wait anxiously for the fasten seat belt sign to be switched off as we climb. When we seem to have levelled off, I say "Fuck it." to myself and make my way to the bog.

Alexei gives me a what the fuck are you doing look. I’d rather ignore the sign than piss myself. And I’m sure the airline would, too. I couldn't have waited much longer.

Just after I get back to my seat, Lexxie heads for the bog. The fasten seat belt sign is still on. I try to give him a look. He ignores my gaze. The bastard. These are the few moments of victory that make parenting worthwhile.

A few minutes later, we're back on the ground. For another long taxi.

Our bags are on the carousel by the time we get there. Cool. We wander outside and grab a Joe.

It's not far to our hotel. But the taxi costs us over $30. Which is taking the piss.

“You’re taking the piss.” I don’t say. Because I’m English. “Here’s a tip.” Sometimes I wish I could shut up the voices in my head. They are my only true friends, though.

The hotel is much better than in LA. Which is saying fuckity fuck all. It’s hard to imagine a crapper one. Four walls, roof, windows, bed. That’s good enough to better the LA hotel. Oh, and no weird smells.

We've arranged for Sheldon Kaplan to pick us up to go around a couple of breweries. We start off at Deft, which specialises in European styles with a small twist. I get Dawn of the Deft, which is billed as an English Porter. It’s pleasantly roasty.

It's good to see Sheldon again. It's been a while. He's always interesting to talk to.

After a couple of beers, we go to Lost Cause, the meadery next door. This is a new experience for the kids. Neither has tried mead before.

“It’s just fermented honey, really.” I tell them. ”Bee piss, essentially.”

“That makes it sound so much better.” Alexei says.

We get a couple of sampler fights. They're certainly a varied bunch. Not sure I'd want to drink a pint of many of them, though.

The toilets have a witty collection of Soviet anti-alcohol posters. Ones I’ve never seen before.

Gravity Heights, which is a bit out of town, is our next spot. It’s a pretty massive place. Very modern and pretty impressive. I worry about getting lost when I go to the bogs.

Of course, we drink some beer. As usual, I go for an IPA. It's what I mostly drink in the USA. Daybreak, to be precise, which is billed as a West Coast IPA. None of that sludge rubbish. Bitter and very drinkable.

For food, I go for duck liver tostini. It's very good.

Sheldon has some great stories to tell about watching football games during the apartheid period. Both fascinating and scary.

On the way back, Sheldon takes us to a CVS to stock up on supplies. My new CVS loyalty card saves us $15.50, including $7 off a bottle of Jack Daniels. Result.

Jack is my companion in the trip to slumberland.

Barney's Beanery.
LAX Terminal 2 - Departures

Deft Brewing
5328 Banks St A,
San Diego,
CA 92110.

Lost Cause Meadery
5328 Banks St Suite B,
San Diego,
CA 92110.

Gravity Heights
9920 Pacific Heights Blvd,
San Diego,
CA 92121.


Matt said...

I always thought that Joe for taxi came from the Vanessa Paradis song Joe Le Taxi, until someone told me that it's actually Cockney rhyming slang, from the American boxer Joe Baksi who fought in London just after the war.

Phil said...

"Shame on those who get paid at the black counter"?

Ron Pattinson said...


I thought Joe for taxi was Manchester rhyming slang.

Anonymous said...

The description of airport food and beerreminds me of how much better things have gotten than in the not so distant past. It wasn't that long ago when airports might have only one sad bar and a hotdog stand.

Planes themselves are much more miserable, but at least airports are better.

Rob Sterowski said...

If it hadn’t been for these comments I’d have assumed you meant you got a cup of coffee. Slang, eh.