Rudd On The Road
By Steve Rudd
Part Twelve: Onwards and Upwards
I don't do early mornings. At least I don't do them very well. I mean, was it 5 a.m. already?
We'd had less than two hours of sleep, and it was time for my friend Evangelina to whisk me to the airport in order for me to catch my 7:50 a.m. flight with 'Mexicana' back to Los Angeles.
Having joined a bunch of Evangelina's friends for some food and drink at a cantina close to Bellas Artes in the Historical Centre of Mexico City the previous night, we hadn't managed to return to her apartment on Puebla until the very early hours once we'd dropped off a girl from Maastricht who was tirelessly toiling for the Dutch Embassy in the city.
It was with two sets of bleary eyes that Evangelina and I caught the lift down into the parking lot beneath her apartment and crawled into her car. Fortunately, 5 a.m. is one of the best times of day to hit the roads in Mexico City. They are relatively quiet at such a time, but beware: they soon get busy.
It was hard to believe that I'd been in Mexico for three weeks.
As much as I felt reluctant to leave, I was nonetheless chomping at the bit to reacquaint myself with LA.
I'm usually useless when it comes to navigating my way around unfamiliar airports, yet my feet somehow managed to find their own way, and it wasn't long before I'd located the relevant gate for my departure.
It took less than four hours to cover more than 1,500 miles, and the cracking meal and movie combo (which consisted of a scolding hot omelette and the Gary Cole-starring 'Forever Strong') helped affairs along no end.
Mid-flight, whispers began to ricochet around the fuselage. Apparently there was a singer on board the flight.
Once the girl beside me caught wind of such excitement, she casually glanced over at me, preparing to relay such news, only to shrink back in sudden contemplation.
'Are YOU the singer that everybody is talking about?' she wondered aloud.
'Er, no,' I coughed in astonishment.
'But you look like Chris Martin,' she said.
'So I hear,' I replied, 'but I certainly don't see the resemblance myself.'
As it was, one of The Backstreet Boys was up in First Class, potentially oblivious to the wave of speculation that was sweeping back and forth behind him.
Whilst the act of getting into The US was as straightforward as could be, utter confusion immediately struck once I emerged from the Tom Bradley Terminal at the appropriately vast LAX.
Clocking a sign that urged all those folk wishing to travel into the city using public transport to stand beneath it, I dashed over the road, careful not to get mown down by the relentless stream of vehicles picking up new arrivals.
Distressingly, no buses stopped where I was patiently waiting, only a non-stop parade of private shuttle services.
Curious as to how much it would cost to take one to Santa Monica, I ambled over to a couple of drivers in order to collect and compare their quotes. It seemed I was in way over my head: the average fare to Santa Monica wheeled in at over $70.
My daily budget would weep at such an astronomical outlay. Thus, I momentarily considered attempting to walk from the airport to Santa Monica.
Fortunately, I came to my senses just in time, noticing a blue sign some fifty yards distant. It, too, announced that buses could be caught beneath it.
Willing to try anything, I made my way over and soon found myself on a free shuttle bus service which took me around to Parking Lot 'C', a convenient point from which a connecting bus could transfer me to Santa Monica via the long drag of Lincoln Boulevard.
Incredibly, the fare from the airport parking lot to Santa Monica cost just seventy-five cents.
The bus driver didn't have the burden of handling cash. Instead of taking and changing money between bursts of acceleration and harsh braking, he customarily instructed all passengers to insert their money into the machine positioned beside where he was sitting.
The lowest denomination of US currency I had to my name was a one-dollar bill, and from that I saw no change whatsoever. I could hardly complain though. I mean, I had in theory saved myself approximately $69 by taking the public bus as opposed to one of the private beauties.
Rattling towards the beach, I couldn't help but smile. Even though it was an insufferably overcast day, I was back in LA: not only THE city of angels, but also a city of miracles.
For more information about Steve's travels, and to view photos from his trips past and present, he can be contacted via 'Facebook' by typing 'Steve Rudd' into the Search box in the top right-hand corner of the homepage.
Places to Visit - Rudd On The Road Part Part Eleven: Going Barmy in Barra. By Steve Rudd
As I grew increasingly accustomed to the laid-back beach-life around which the tiny Pacific Coast town of Melaque revolves, I realised it was going to be no easy task to pull myself away from this area of Jalisco, Mexico.
The pace of life which afflicts Melaque is a world away from the hustle and bustle that comes as part and parcel of larger towns and cities
Places to Visit - Rudd On The Road Part Ten: Sun, Sand, Sea ... and a Man on a Mission. By Steve Rudd
In terms of beaches, visitors to Mexico genuinely are spoilt for choice. World-class stretches of sand are to be found on both The Pacific Coast and The Gulf of Mexico, with old favourites in the ridiculously commercialised forms of Acapulco and Cancun still managing to draw in huge crowds with ease.
However, some of the country's lesser-known beaches are
Places to Visit - Rudd On The Road Part Nine: A Perfect Demonstration of How to Protest. By Steve Rudd
Fans of folk who like to voice their opinions can't go wrong in Mexico. I mean, barely a day goes by without some demonstration or protest taking to the streets, and those in its favour tend to come out in such force that it's only a matter of time before the 'rally' passes you by.
You certainly don't need to make the effort to seek out such rallies
Places to Visit - Rudd On The Road Part Eight: All Aboard 'The Nerve-Shredder' to Puebla! By Steve Rudd
I really couldn't blame the lady at the ticket counter for giving me such a puzzled look. After all, I had just asked for a ticket counter instead of a ticket.
I was at the main bus station in Oaxaca City, Mexico, intent on buying a ticket north to Puebla. Having clocked numerous signs emblazoned with the world Taquiller, I wrongly assumed that such a word was the Spanish for Tickets. In truth,
Places to Visit - Cusco, Peru - La Ultima Cena Con Cuy By Ruth
The flight from Puerto Maldonado was uneventful. The flight attendant served coca tea, Inca Cola, and Cusqueno beer to interested passengers. The city of Cusco, the historic capital of the Inca Empire, sits in the Andes Mountains. The elevation is roughly 11,000 feet. The updrafts buffeted the plane a bit during landing.
At the airport, old women peddling bags of coca leaves crowded towards the passengers.
Places to Visit - Rudd On The Road - Catching up with Steve Rudd as he hits America in style ... Part 1 By Steve Rudd
The flight from London to LA was a long haul to say the least, yet it was made more tolerable by the company. I'd barely got settled when the guy beside me introduced himself as Jim Becket, a film director and documentary producer who lived in a place called Ojai, a little north of Los Angeles. He'd just returned from working in Athens where he'd sold the rights of his latest documentary to
Places to Visit - Playing Chicken In Turkey Part 1 By Steve Rudd
It wasn't the best welcome to Turkey. It was the dead of night, we'd just crossed the border, yet there I was, beside a Mancunian called Liam, being frog marched back to the tiny hut that issued visas. Upon crossing the border, us English lads had been issued the correct visa, but the official had inexplicably neglected to stamp the visas with our entry date.
Places to Visit - Roaming Around Romania By Steve Rudd
I was worried. It was four a.m., I was on a train bound for Bucharest, and somebody was tugging at my bed sheets from below. Coming around from a bout of deep sleep, I urged my weary eyes to focus. They were having none of it though, refusing point blank to reveal the person before me.
'Is there a problem?' I asked, hoping that a response might bowl my way in English.
Places to Visit - Gibraltar and La Linea, Spain By Mo
Recently I went on a week long trip to Gibraltar and La LÍnea, Spain staying with my mum and dad in their La Linea flat. My twin sister and her boyfriend were also at the flat on holiday for a week and had rented a small car booked online for only 60 quid for the week. I think that included car insurance too so a pretty good deal.
They all met me at Gibraltar airport and we walked across the border with Spain
Places to Visit - The London, Bath and Bristol Chronicles By Steve Rudd
I knew I should have taken the train. Being stuck behind a combine harvester is never fun in a car. In a coach, it's murder. The battalion of towering power-line supports that stoically marched across the dead level Lincolnshire landscape didn't help. From their indifferent vantage point, they simply taunted.
'Technology is overtaking everything,' said the woman in front, Read more...
Places to Visit - Kate Langan's Travel Journal - Thailand
Tonight we ate at a Thai Taverna, there was a baby elephant going by so Becky took my photo. We are staying in Phuket also as we have found a really nice basic room that's really cheap. It's clean and got 4 stone walls - not like the wood hut! I loved the wood hut but was bitten to death by the mozzies. No mozzies here - yey! And I'm not a huge fan of the cockroaches!
Places to Visit - The Three Peaks Of Yorkshire Challenge 10th June 2006 By Steve Rudd
'Good morning gentlemen - rise and shine!' As I slowly came to my senses I couldn't
help but glance at my watch. I'd been warned the previous night that we would be
woken up at 4:15am sharp, and barely a second later.
Unfortunately, that really was the case, and as exhausted as I was, there
was a mammoth 25 mile walk ahead...
It's a shame that I'd only managed
Places to Visit - A Weekend in Amsterdam By Dave F
Amsterdam is a city of freedom which instantly appeals on a lot of levels.
What's the point of a holiday if you don't have the freedom to go and do what you want, when you want?
If, like me, you want to wander aimlessly from coffee shop to coffee shop getting as
stoned as humanly possible whilst ogling half-naked women through dirty windows
and snacking heavily along the way,
Places to Visit - Christmas in Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka By Dave F
I hate Christmas for too many reasons to mention and the chance to get away from it
all this year it was an opportunity too good to pass up. Knowing someone with a
house in Sri Lanka which stands empty for 9 months every year definitely has its benefits.
I'm travelling with a mate and his daughter who've been here several times before
so I get some insight
Places to Visit - Skiing In Bulgaria - Part Two By Steve Rudd
Giant Christmas trees loomed as far as the eye could see below, as I marvelled
at the extraordinary engineering it must take to make a gondola a reality.
After the thirty-minute ride to the top we were immediately greeted by a
stunning panorama of the surrounding countryside which was beautiful beyond words.
So pristine and so serene.
Well, serene if you can discount the
Places to Visit - Skiing In Bulgaria - Part One By Steve Rudd
I could have thought of worst places to be, seeing in the New Year, as the last
second of 2005 ticked over into 2006. Happy New Year indeed.
For the best part of the past ten years myself and my friends have contented
ourselves with heading into the town centre of Driffield every December 31st
for one of the few nights of the year when it genuinely hustles and bustles.
Places to Visit - Walking The Pembrokeshire Coastal Path - Part One By Steve Rudd
Get out of the city and into the country, sooner rather than later.
A great many people genuinely have no idea how scenically diverse and breathtaking some
swathes of countryside are in the UK, and such a fact is a great shame,
because while they might be spending all their spare time in dirty and cramped
urban environments, there's often fresh air and inspirational
Places to Visit - Thailand By Rich Mills
Expressing the experience of being here in Thailand is difficult to put into words.
The sensorial experience is so mind blowing that you begin to feel overloaded.
However it is the smallest of things that grab your attention, and stick in the mind.
We are waiting for a taxi to take us down to the ferry, so that we can go
over to the small island of Koh Maak.
This is where we will get the full
Places to Visit - Ostend Weekend By John Allbones
I needed a break. Well, you just do sometimes don't you?
The constant day to day drudge of the nine to five erodes your spirit until a
change of scene is all you crave. Nothing fancy, just a few days will do.
Preferably abroad, it just seems more of a break when you're on foreign soil.
I managed to grab a late deal on a long weekend in Ostend.
So desperate was I to get away,
Places to Visit - Eight Feet and Two Weeks On Crete Part 2 by Steve Rudd
One of the best ways of exploring the huge island of Crete is by car: in your own time, at
your own speed and in your own style.
Without the stress and cost of embarking on guided tours.
Head into any of Crete's major cities such as
Hania, Rethymno or Iraklion and you'll be bombarded by rent-a-vehicle establishments, all
of which are fiercely trying to