Well, this is a first. I don’t think I’ve ever completed a trip before even starting to blog about it. But hey, there’s a first time for everything, right? And we’re living through a pandemic, so all bets are off anyway. Especially now that, after writing those first couple sentences at the airport when I was flying home a few days ago, I’m now writing the actual post at home. I definitely don’t want to make this “blog about my trips AFTER I get home” a thing going forward, but at least I’m still writing, right? Right. 😀
Even though I’m late in blogging about this trip, I’m SO excited I was able to take it. For the first time since 2020, I got to return to Los Angeles to attend the biggest and best Doctor Who convention in the world – Gallifrey One. I’ve been attending every year since 2002, so it was a real drag (though COMPLETELY understandable) that the showrunners had to cancel the event in 2021. And honestly, there were definitely times in the last several months when it seemed even the 2022 convention wouldn’t happen (thanks, Omicron variant), but to the relief and excitement of many Doctor Who fans, the show did go on!
Before I get to the convention stuff though (which, let’s be fair, is mostly interesting to me and my fellow geeks), let’s talk about the stuff I got to do around the city. With the convention kicking off some events on Thursday evening, I once again planned my arrival on Wednesday courtesy of an early-ish (8 AM) flight out of Minneapolis. I treated myself to first class (hey, it’s only money, right?) and enjoyed the extra space, comfort, and food. And I also appreciated getting to take off and land on time – always a travel plus. It’s thankfully VERY easy to get to the convention hotel, the LAX Marriott, from the airport as there’s a shuttle that runs between it and the airport (plus one other nearby hotel) very regularly. It felt like my bag took a little longer than normal to come down the baggage claim, but that worked out for the best because, after grabbing it, I walked outside, went up one level to the shuttle pickup area, and walked literally right onto a shuttle that had just pulled up. Magic! Okay, maybe not magic, but because the shuttles run every 20-25 minutes, you sometimes have to wait a little while before one shows up. Obviously this was the perfect start to the trip!
Because it was only around 11 AM when the shuttle reached the hotel, I knew my room might not be ready, especially as I always make arrangements to have adjoining rooms with friends, so I often need to wait for my specific room to be ready (plus, 11 AM is several hours before the official check-in time anyway). This year, we had a run of three rooms, with me in one and my friends Bill and Felicity in their own rooms. Felicity had arrived on Tuesday and was out enjoying a spa day, but she had the foresight to add me to her room so I could get a key and stash my stuff there if my room wasn’t ready yet. Unsurprisingly, it wasn’t, but the hotel was super nice and said they would get it ready right away as it wasn’t occupied anyway. So I only had to kill about a half-hour in Felicity’s room before I got a call from the front desk that my room was ready. Perfect! I grabbed a key and moved my stuff allllll the way from her room to mine (you know, through the connecting door) and, before I knew it, I was all settled in for the long weekend.
With Felicity at the spa and Bill and other friends not yet in the hotel, I had to make my own fun for the afternoon. And what better way to do that than with a return trip to The Hollywood Museum?? Regular readers may remember that I’ve been to this museum twice before – once in 2018 to see their Batman ’66 exhibit and again in 2020 to see their Back to the Future exhibit. So why go back for a third time? For another exhibit, of course! This time, it was their Ghostbusters exhibit. While I can’t say I’m as big of a fan of Ghostbusters as I am of Doctor Who (or Batman ’66 or Back to the Future, for that matter), I definitely enjoy it, so I figured this would be a great way to spend some time in LA.
The museum delivered once again and I had a fun time exploring it, though I will say the Ghostbusters exhibit was smaller than I thought it would be (and smaller than the other exhibits I’d seen there). It was fun to see that they still had elements of both the Batman and BttF exhibits though as I got to rediscover them. The rest of the museum seemed to be mostly the same, with some things maybe moved around. But honestly, it’s a neat building and a fun museum regardless, so I’m glad I made a return visit. It has never been too crowded, so I’ve always had plenty of space to explore without feeling like I need to rush through things, which is always a plus at museums. While I don’t plan to return to it on future LA trips for now, who knows what fun exhibits they may put on in the future. If there’s another good one, you can count on me visiting!
And that brought my time at The Hollywood Museum to an end! By this time, it was early afternoon and I was feeling a little hungry, so I decided to avail myself of the nearest restaurant, Mel’s Drive-In. It’s literally next door and you can walk between the two by means of a shared hallway. I’ve known it was there since my first visit to the museum, but I’d never eaten there before. Since I was flying solo and hadn’t eaten since my airplane charcuterie, I figured this would be the perfect chance to try it.
The ambiance of the restaurant was neat and felt suitably throwback, but the food was only okay. The service was quick (being a weekday afternoon, there were only a few other people eating there), so that was a bonus, but I wasn’t wowed by my meatloaf sandwich (it felt like it was just a little bit overdone). It was tasty enough, but for $30 (including tip), I would like to have had something a bit better.
With another fun visit to the museum and a full stomach from Mel’s, I caught a Lyft back to the Marriott. One of the drawbacks of LA is its traffic, which is just kind of always…there. Even at times of day when you’d think it wouldn’t be that bad, there are still plenty of cars on the road. The location of this museum (shockingly, in Hollywood) isn’t super close to the Marriott, so it took the better part of an hour to get back. But I had a particularly chatty driver in this Lyft, so the time passed quickly and I was soon back at the hotel. My friends were starting to arrive at that point as well, so I met up with them and enjoyed the rest of my first day with them! Sadly, my friend Bill ended up getting delayed in Denver for nearly three hours thanks to snow, so I didn’t see him until the next morning. But he, Felicity, and I already had plans for that Thursday, which you can read about here!