the long way to Durban
We stayed overnight at the LAX TraveLodge to avoid the hassle of an early morning 4-6 hour drive and car return in favor of a leisurely dinner, a good night's sleep and a no-stress shuttle ride to LAX's international departures terminal. It's a budget hotel and it suits our needs. LAX is the second busiest airport in the USA, our shuttle driver informed us. Chicago O'Hare is #1 and Atlanta is #3. LAX always seems to be “under construction” and traffic is crazy like most airports.
The Theme Building is an iconic landmark of the airport. I remember having dinner at The Encounter Restaurant a couple of decades ago. It's got that spaceship look to it which makes it very noticeable and it revolved. Unfortunately, it closed in 2013. According to Wiki, the building opened in 1961 and is an example of the Mid-Century modern-influenced design school known as "Googie" or "Populuxe." More info you couldn't live without.
We had checked in on-line and after showing our passports and checking our baggage, we were through Security in a matter of minutes. We wandered around the airport for awhile, taking advantage of the exercise while we could. The flight was on-time and we got a great view of Marina del Rey on departure.
We're pretty good travelers. We don't particularly enjoy long flights, but we tolerate them well. We can appreciate the inherent adventure in them. The 16-hour flight from LAX to Dubai can get pretty tiresome. You can only watch so many movies. My limit is about three. David tops out at five or so. He doesn't usually sleep. I doze. We read a bit; play a few games on our iPads. We were served several meals and snacks en route and the wine flowed freely enough. We're both usually “stove-up”, sore and lame, after being captive in our seats for so long, but we recover quickly. After 16 hours of captivity, walking through the airport and stretching is a pleasure.
When I traveled through Dubai on my way home from Boston last December, I took advantage of Emirate Airline's Dubai Connect option. We had a similar 14-hour layover in Dubai on our way from LAX and we took advantage of this option once again which allowed us a free hotel night including meals and shuttle transportation to and from the airport in Dubai. This time I had my captain with me to enjoy the amenities of the Copthorne Hotel which made it an even better respite. Heading to the hotel for a hot shower, dinner and a good night's sleep was like manna from heaven.
Last time through, my flight arrived late and Dubai was foggy. There wasn't much to see. This time, we actually had a couple of hours to spare and we briefly considered a possible night tour of the city. We talked ourselves out of it when we thought about sitting for another two hours in a van for the tour. We contented ourselves with looking at the hotel lobby shops … gold, camels and sand art.
Had we not been so keen on getting back to Nine of Cups, we might have opted for a couple days to explore Dubai, but that'll have to wait for another time. The best we got were views of the city from our 8th floor dirty hotel window the morning we departed.