Monthly Archives: September 2014

An eclectic assortment of Unusual things to do in various neighborhoods of Los Angeles!

There are many blogs that inform you of what the best restaurants, museums, activities, and other attractions there are to do in Los Angeles. Honestly, it’s a little hard to pick good places since there are so many good places. This article is going to focus on activities that you might not have thought of before. Not all of these activities might be for you, but keep an open mind, and your life might be changed from reading this article.

Universal Studios
If you are from out of town, you really need to visit Universal. See how movies are made! See live shows for all ages about the movie industry. Experience what it is like to be in a subway station that gets suddenly flooded! Go on a back lot tour as well and see what a real studio complex looks like! There are lots of rides there too. There are other studios in town that have tours for visitors. Universal is my first pick, but try the others too.

Church of Scientology
This is one of the strangest places I’ve ever been. On the surface it is a normal building, with better than average people visiting. You can take courses and study programs there as well. But, once you get involved with their classes, you will begin to discover how bizarre their teachings are. This is a great place if you want to explore the philosophically unknown!

Westwood Village
Los Angeles Metro has several really cool streets to hang around in. 3rd Street Promonade in Santa Monica, Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena, Sunset Strip, Melrose, and Westwood Village. Westwood Village is unique from these other cool locations because they have a University in the neighborhood, and this is where the students hang out! There are endless cool restaurants, shops, and coffee houses, not to mention two very popular hookah lounges with a hip mix of Middle Eastern music and hip hop.

Huntington Gardens
If you love gardens, there are the Descanso Gardens, and Huntington Gardens. I’m not sure which is better, but I have been to Huntington more times! Huntington is very stately with a following of very old school people who look like the old rich. There are gardens of many varieties including Japanese, Chinese, Desert, Italian, and more. I enjoy the Australian trees quite a bit. You can enjoy the museum if it is not under renovation, and they have a cafe as well. Enjoy!

Chan Dara
This is the most famous Thai restaurant in Los Angeles. Their traditional food is excellent, but I don’t care for their experimental fusion. One reason this restaurant is popular with the guys, is that they attract amazing looking women. There are many knock-outs who work as waitresses there, but the customers include many beautiful ladies as well. It just seems like a custom to be beautiful at Chan Dara. By the way, the seafood pad Thai is my favorite dish!

Griffith Park
Go for a night hike at Griffith Park. Go in a group of course. There are regular Sierra club group hikes at night. See the city from the hills. The observatory is wonderful at night by the way! Make sure you are in reasonable shape, because the hill is steep. Usually, the moon and stars do a good job lighting the park at night, but bring a few flashlights just in case. If you see eyes looking at you in the dark, it’s probably a deer.

Cafe Tropical
This is a great little cafe in Silver Lake. Not only do you get to try a great cafe with amazing Latino pastries, but you get to see this hip artistic enclave in the middle of Los Angeles. Enjoy Napoleans, popovers (their specialty,) tiramisu, and other types of European and Latin American goodies along with coffee.

The Unurban Café
This nutty place is loved by many. There is a regular crowd that has been going there for years. They just hang out all night, and they typically know each other. Go on comedy or music night to see amateurs doing their thing. The artwork there is really off-beat too. I just love the picture of the Leave it to Beaver family in the bathroom — so quirky! This cafe is on Pico in West Los Angeles near the border of Santa Monica.

Kabbalah Center
Kabbalah is based on traditional Judaism via the traditional text — The Zohar, which was lost for over a thousand years and found by a Spanish Jew in the middle ages. However, the Kabbalah folks keep their doors open to those of all faiths. It is common to see Christians, Muslims, blacks, Asians, and other (presumably) non-Jews there. It is not uncommon to see black orthodox Jews walking down the street in that neighborhood, not to mention blacks who have Jewish lineage such as the Ethiopian Felasheem who are nearby on Fairfax. Even Madonna studied Kabbalah at one time! Kabbalah Center has a class for beginners that is a sort of introduction class. There are many lectures, activities, talks, and other fascinating events there including Friday night Shabbat dinner! What I like about Kabbalah center is that they are not only spiritual in their philosophy, but welcoming, fascinating, and fun. I met many interesting people there, and you will too. Check out their book store!

Alibi Room
I am a huge fan of Kogi’s korean tacos. If you can catch the food truck on one of their stops, that is great. Their burritos with hashbrowns and kalbi are the best. See their twitter account for details on their Los Angeles locations. But, there is a bar in Venice that serves many of the items on the Kogi food truck menu. It gets crowded in there as it is a hip and popular place — even on a Tuesday night! Parking is not that great, but not that bad. Just go early, so you can get a seat.

The Bungalow
This is a favorite hang out for me in Larchmont, a block South from Chan Dara! The staff at the Bungalow is really friendly, and their food is an unusual mix of egg dishes, entrees, cafe items, etc. I love their Moroccan iced coffee. It keeps me palpitating. Their specialties are their cakes which include Red Velvet, Chocolate Moose, and cakes of various other colors. You gain 10 calories just by looking at their dessert display. Bring a friend, hang out, and share a dessert. You can sit on the street, inside, or on the side or back decks at this fun cafe. If you go at a popular time, it can be packed. I even saw one of the Kardashians there once, but don’t tell anyone I said that!

Comedy Club Improv night
I went several times with friends. It is a very unusual place with some unusual people. It’s on Franklin in Hollywood. You need to pick the night and the event. I went and saw amateurs once, but on a different night saw Jack McBrayer from 30 Rock, and boy was he good. He is just the same in real life as on the show — always happy, smiling and funny. I start laughing just looking at him because he radiates funniness! The crowd there loves comedy and loves the film industry. Many of them are from around the world and many have interesting stories to tell.

The Mayan
In the mood for a night club? I have been to the Mayan many times. They have live bands and played mostly salsa when I used to go there. It is downtown, and it is a large club. There are some regulars who are amazing dancers, so come prepared to see some action! In any case, go there sometime before the end of the world!

The Pantry
Dine in 1920’s Los Angeles at The Pantry. The first time I went there, the elderly male waiter looked like he had just stepped out of the 1920’s. This is a popular spot downtown with those who work the night shift. Their menu is classic American. There is nothing amazing about this restaurant other than it brings you back to a very different time. It also brings you right into the financial district downtown.

I hoped you liked my tour. There are many other places to visit in Los Angeles. When guests come to visit from far away, I like to take them to as many different types of neighborhoods as possible, so they can get a feeling for the city. If you are doing a tour of the city, you might enjoy my picks, but don’t forget to visit Sunset Strip, Koreatown, Malibu, or some of the other great places in Los Angeles County.

In india, men get molested too

I read a lot of blogs about business and travel. When I visited India, I heard many accounts of groping. It is a serious problem. The blogs I’ve been reading indicate that men get groped and molested too.

It happened to me
I remember one time I hitched a ride on the back of a pick up truck in India. I had to lean forward so I wouldn’t fall off, since I was hanging on to the tailgate. There was a guy to my left and another to my right. They interpreted my leaning forward as an invitation to grope me. I was very offended. I had to jump off the truck because my accommodations were there. Had I been wearing boots and had I known which one of them had groped me, there would have been a fist fight or shouting match. I don’t tolerate this type of violation of my personal dignity.

Being followed
Girls are followed in India a lot. Girls can’t go to the park alone during daylight for fear of being followed by rowdy guys. It happens a lot to people I know. Once, a friend of mine took a rickshaw home and the driver tried to follow her inside. She started screaming. The guy went away, but this is an example of what Indian girls have to put up with on a daily basis. In my opinion, it’s time for kung-fu and pepper spray!

I witnessed it at a gas station
But, there have been much more serious violations in India. Normally, groping happens to women, but I witnessed some low class guys at a gas station grope their friend. If someone bends over in India, it is a custom of untouchables to put their hand up the person’s rear end. Both parties at the gas station thought this was funny. To me this is a violation of someone’s dignity. Those guys thought it was amusing due to their animalistic sensibilities.

A much more serious case
Women get groped at train stations so much, that in many cities, women ride in gender segregated cars for their protection. Women can ride in the men’s compartment, but men can’t ride in the women’s compartment. But, I read in the paper that in Mumbai, an American couple were visiting the beach. A dozen rowdy locals held the guy while they molested his girlfriend for several minutes. The molesters ran away after a while because they thought the cops were coming.

The rape capitol of India
Molestation and groping are very frequent all over India due to the sexual frustration and general lack of manners. But, in Delhi, rape is very common too which is how Delhi got the reputation as the rape capitol of India. Even for men, Delhi is quite dangerous as scamming, and violent robbery of foreigners is common.

Seku-hara (the Japanese pronunciation of sexual harrassment)
Long time ago I read that in Japan, they have yet another very bizarre sexual practice. Japan is the motherland of unusual sexual practices, but I had never heard of this before. I don’t know if they still have this, and I have never seen it myself. I would not personally visit a place like this, but it was interesting to read about. They had a bus that you get into. They had a bunch of girls wearing some sort of outfit. In Japan, they like school-girl outfits a lot which sounds perverted to Americans. In any case, guys can pay a fee to go in the bus and sexually harrass these girls who get paid to be molested. As barbaric as this practice sounds, it is consentual which is a lot more than I can say for the Indian system. I feel that Indian guys are very frustrated because sex is so taboo in India. I feel they need a safe and consentual way to satisfy their desires. Dating is not socially acceptable for most Indians unless they are affluent and live in Delhi, Mumbai, or parts of Gujarat that are liberal. As a result, many Indian guys go to prostitutes and get AIDS as 90% of prostitutes in India have AIDS. It is a very sad reality. As perverted as seku-hara in Japan is, you don’t get AIDS or other diseases from it, and it is relatively harmless. Maybe India needs something like this to decrease the molestations.

There is not much you can do to protect yourself.
If you visit India, there is no way to protect yourself. If you go to any railway station, there will be people pushing you and touching you as a routine part of daily life. Groping can easily occur in a crowd and you won’t know who did it. India is a crowded place. All I can say is, stay away from vulgar looking people. Try to keep a distance from people in general unless they are your friends. Brahmans hate being touched — you can imagine the hell they go through in daily life in India. They have to take a Ganga-snan (Gangee’s bath with a few drops of authentic Gangees water.) every time someone touches them to purify themselves.

If you go to India, go to nice places during times of nice weather. Try to protect yourself from scams and groping. You can’t 100% protect yourself, but if you are always looking for the signs of bad behavior, you might spot it before it is too late. Good luck, and enjoy your trip. Don’t go during the monsoon season. Torrential rain is much worse than groping.

A review of Ogre Burger — Los Angeles, CA

A review of Ogre Burger — Los Angeles, CA

In real life there is no such place as Ogre Burger, but for the sake of entertainment — and Los Angeles is the entertainment capital of the Western world — I will write a review anyway.

Waitress: “Welcome to Ogre Burger, how many I help you?”
Customer: “Well, I wanted to get something to eat. Do you have anything good?”
Waitress: “Honestly nothing made by a bunch of ogres could be that good. A-choo. Oooh, let me get a kleenex out of the large bag that I have slung over my slouched shoulder.”
Customer: “Hmmm, the menu looks interesting. The earthwork puree looks enticing, but I think I’ll stick with the Ogre Burger — au jus!”
Waitress: “An excellent choice.”

(5 minutes later the waitress returns)

Ogre Waitress: “Here is your Ogre Burger, a delicious sandwich on a Kaiser roll with a delightfully malformed burger inside.”
Customer: “My burger seems to have a large protrusion on the right over here.”
Ogre Waitress: “We can remove that… Alex!!!”
Alex: “Scalpel”
Fred: “Scalpel” (deep gravely tone of voice)
Alex: “IV”
Fred: “IV”
Alex: “Lights”
Fred: “Lights”
Alex: “This won’t hurt a bit. It is a routine operation around here with all these ogres. Done!”
Customer: “Wow, look at all of that blood that came out of the dissected deformation!”
Alex: “Yes, well you said you wanted it, au jus!”
Customer: “Right”

(3 minutes later)

Ogre Waitress: “So, how are you liking your Ogre Burger?”
Customer: “Well, it’s Medi-ogre at best.”
Ogre Waitress: “Ha ha, I haven’t heard that before! Here’s a huge club to go with your order.”
Customer: “I didn’t order a 200 pound club with spikes coming out of it.”
Ogre Waitress: “Comes with the territory, after all, we have to live up to the theme of this restaurant.”
Customer: “Good point, is that why you limp around dragging your left foot every step?”
Ogre Waitress: “Something like that. It’s a branding thing!”

(in the back)

Black Ogre #1: “What is it with white ogres, you know what I’m sayin’?
Black Ogre #2: “What happened girl? By the way, we African American Ogres, not Black.. never mind…”
Black Ogre #1: “Girl, I saw this white ogre Melissa trying to dance. Girl… it was so bad. I mean there

should be a rule against people like her dancing. Ogres might be hideous, but at least we can have rhythm. And even though we all have contrived bum left legs, at least we could move our arms around to

the music without looking like a clumsy bunch-a nitwits.”
Black Ogre #2: “I know how you feel, but honestly, what can you expect from a bunch of ogres?”
Black Ogre #1: “And by the way, if a guy ogre is an ogre, what is a girl ogre? An O-Girl?”
Black Ogre #2: “I think we are called ogresses.”
Black Ogre #1: “So, instead of saying — you go ogirl, I have to say, you go-gress?”
Black Ogre #2: “Something like that. You can say whatever you want over here. Nobody cares.”

Ogre Melissa: “So how did you like my dancing to: Don’t You Wish Your Girlfriend Looked Like Me?”
Black Ogre #2: “Let’s just say that Paula over here wasn’t exactly Ogrely enthusiastic about the whole

thing. And of all the songs you could have picked, it should have been – Aren’t you relieved your girlfriend

doesn’t look like me!”
Customer: “Wow, you keep coming and filling my water the minute it gets to the 25% level?”
Ogre Waitress: “Well, we like to think that the glass is a quarter full, and that we should fill it some more!”
Customer: “Well, I must say, even thought the food here is medi-ogre, the service is the best I’ve ever

seen if you overlook the huge two inch diameter growths you all have on your foreheads or chins.”
Ogre Waitress: “We put those on every evening before our shifts to make us look gruesome!”
Customer: “It works. Your boss must spend a lot on their make-up artist.”
Ogre Waitress: “For me he spends a lot, but for the others here, the ogre look comes mostly naturally. They only need a few touch-ups that they do in the basement of the bell-tower to the left. See that mural of

the bell-tower? They go into the dungeon down the stairs to the left over there.
Customer: “I see. May I have my bill?”
Ogre Waitress: “Here you go!”
Customer: “Oh my god, you have claws where your fingernails should be!”
Ogre Waitress: “We are ogres after all.”
Customer: “Well thank you so much. It was a very interesting experience here.”

10 things to do in Griffith Park, Los Angeles

People come to Los Angeles in search of fame, or to get a job in the film industry. But, Los Angeles is an interesting place simply because it is a city with many sides (and corners.) You can enjoy a fast evening on the Sunset Strip with the stars and wanna-be stars, or go downtown to hang out with the executives in their suits. You can enjoy casual cafes in the Larchmont district, or enjoy ecclective bookstores and restaurants on Santa Monica’s 3rd street promenade. You can enjoy exotic hispanic foods in the Echo Park and Alvarado Street areas of Los Angeles West of Downtown, or enjoy fine dining in Bel-Air. This is a city of choices, and the choices are all yours. But, what about nature in the city?

Griffith Park is the largest urban park in the United States. It covers 4310 acres of land. The allure of the park is that there is so much to do there.

The Griffith Park Observatory
If you are doing out on a date, there are not too many places as romantic as the Griffith Observatory. It is a beautiful building in the hills with an amazing view of the city over stone balconies! Wow! Parking can be difficult, and you might need to take the shuttle up, so plan ahead. Or hike up if you go during the day.

Hiking in Griffith Park
There are 53 miles of trails in Griffith Park. Some are steep, while others are more two-dimensional. Hike over large grassy areas, or woodsy areas. You can hike up to Bee Rock (you won’t get stung,) or enjoy many other hikes. Parking for hiking is easy, except during the weekend when half of Los Angeles likes to go there to picnic and takes up all of the parking spots (at least the good ones.) There are multiple entrances to the park, so you need to learn how to get in and out, and where to park. Not to scare (or rattle) you, but once in a while there are rattlesnakes, and an occasional (large) tarantula. Deer, coyotes, and ticks seem to be there all the time. Just don’t let toddlers run around unattended if there are coyotes around just to be on the safe side. Group hikes are common at Griffith Park especially with the Sierra Club. But, they typically hike at night. Don’t be afraid if you see a pair of eyes staring at you. They are probably just harmless deer!

The Mars Exhibit
This is something that no longer exists, but it is a fond travel memory that I cherish. I went with a friend who asked me if I wanted to see something out of this world. Of course I said yes. There were huge displays of what the surface of Mars looked like. Mars was at its closest to the Earth that it had ever been. We were able to see it through a telescope as well which was uncomfortable for my eyes, but interesting.

Horseback Riding
Griffith Park is a great place to rent a horse and go riding. Just make sure you can control your horse. I saw a horse get spooked (by me while I was just sitting hanging out in the bushes off of a steep trail.) The horse threw the girl off and she blamed me. I told her I was just sitting there not even making any motions.

Attend a drum jam session
Every Sunday, the drummers of Los Angeles unite and just jam together. This has been going on for decades. There is a whole tribe of these drummers. I have seen as few as four and as many as dozens. Some of the crowd brings their own narcotics to smoke, so don’t inhale if you are near those folks! If you are not sure which part of the park they are in, just drive around with your windows rolled down, and you will soon hear. Or just find the Merry-Go-Round Parking Lot.

The Greek Theater
Enjoy concerts at the Greet Theater. Look on the internet to see what is playing!

The Los Angeles Zoo
Los Angeles has a nice Zoo in Griffith Park. It is not famous like the San Diego Zoo, but I went there many years ago and thought it was one of the better attractions that I had been to in Los Angeles.

The Merry-Go-Round
I’m not sure when it is functioning, but it is a great place to bring kids if you want to be around a half million other kids.

Train Museum (Travel Town Museum)
Like trains? There are a whole lot of them at the train museum. It is not a huge museum, but children will appreciate seeing a choo-choo train up close!

Bicycle Rental
Never tried this, but I heard it is fun. Personally, I would stick to the horses or hiking, but that is up to you!

You can even play golf at Griffith Park, and what a nice place to do so!

There is a Halloween ride at Griffith Park, and the Old Zoo is an interesting place to hike. They used to have Halloween attractions there too, but not anymore.

More information

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Meao — a social media site for cats

How come cats don’t have social media sites? Some of the kitties I know are pretty high tech if you ask me! I recently heard of a social media site called Meao. It is for busy cats who are on the go. Here are some interactions on this esteemed new site.

Fluffy is now following you on Meao
Esmerelda sent you a Hiss
Raymond clawed at your last post.
Fluffy growled at your last blog entry.
Tiger Queen says that it’s okay to come into her territory — disregard scent of her urine.
Mr. Spot would like to sniff you

The beauty of Meao, is not only can you read other cat’s posts, but you can transmit scents over the internet. If you want to share a scent with another cat, you can! Maybe the site should be renamed — Instascent.

Considering how anti-social most kitty cats are these days, I think a good social media site might be a nice way for them to come out of their hiding places and interact a little more.

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What are the best airports in the world, and why?

I have traveled to many countries, but am not seasoned enough to know the world inside out! Travel is expensive and time consuming. My favorite airport so far has been in Singapore because I like being able to take a shower, a nap, get a gourmet Chinese snack, coffee, and get a massage, all for a reasonable price! But, there are many other great airports out there too! Unfortunately for the USA, we are falling behind the Asians. Most of the great airports in the world seem to be in Asia, and ironically, not even necessarily in wealthy countries!

My opinions about airports
Too many airports in America are slow, poorly designed and boring with inefficient parking & shuttle service. America doesn’t feel like it wants to be on the up and up anymore. Asia is rearing to rule the world, and their airports show it. But, most airports are too much about architecture and who. Singapore is the only country that gets it. It is about giving passengers what they want and need to enjoy long hours far from home! People need a hot shower more than they need great architecture. A thrilling movie is a nice way to pass the time during a sixteen hour layover. People like it when they can in and out quickly more than they will appreciate glass walls or a glass ceiling (especially women.) Having choices of twenty things to do at an airport shows that they are thinking about me. Honestly, I give Singapore top bidding in my personal ranking system. The other airports need to think about services before I would speak highly of them!

Singapore’s Changi Airport
This is an airport with movie theaters, indoor jungles, comfortable napping lounges, luxury showers for only a few dollars, and more. You can get a massage, have choices of many nice places to have Chinese or Western food, not to mention great bars and coffee houses. You can entertain yourself for hours there. Stopovers are actually a pleasure for me in Singapore. I look forward to a chance to rest and clean up on a long flight to India. Sure, it’s nice to have a quick ice cream (with a complimentary bow) in Japan, but nothing beats that shower and nap at SIN. Additionally, they have a rooftop pool, hotels, and even a butterfly garden!

Another point I’ll make about Changi is that upon arrival, you get in and out faster than at any other airport. They check your bags before you ever see them. You just go through the immigration line, show your passport, get a quick stamp, pick up your bag, and the cab drivers are waiting for you at the exit desk. How easy! Just remember — the penalty for drug trafficking is death… (gulp!)

Additionally, you can get by with English, Chinese, Malay and sometimes Tamil in this clean and inviting country! Singaporean food is excellent with noodle shops everywhere. Try their famous Chili crab and also try a Singapore Sling — their national drink (tastes like spiked hawaiian punch by the way.) Don’t forget to visit their National Museum, the Zoo and Clarke Quay if you want to sample restaurants with great ambiance from around the globe!

Incheon International Airport — ICN

This airport serves more than seventy airlines. They have a Korean culture museum. They are very clean, have great rest areas, internet, and many choices for Korean food.

Munich Airport — Press 1 for German, or press 2 for German.
This is a very artistically designed airport with walls and ceilings made of glass. My personal experience at this airport is mildly noteworthy. There were nice restaurants in the airport complex. I witnessed some European girls enjoying a beer at 9:30 AM. You know you’re not in America when people drink beer in the morning! I got a nice (small) rental car for a reasonable price and it was easy to return as well. The clerk at McDonalds gave me a cup of water when I asked for it and told me he was doing me a favor. Maybe you will get lucky, and you will get a favor too in the form of a glass of water that would be a free courtesy in almost any other country in the world. Calling the airport about my flight was not so easy. Your language options were German, Deutch, and more German. I guess it is not like America where we cater to the needs of Spanish and sometimes Asian language speaking folks. So, I had to physically go to the airport since nobody in the entire nation of Germany would assist me in making that phone call to the airport. I guess that brings new meaning to the concept of — German Hospitality! A pretty airport is nice, but being treated like a human being gets more mileage in my book!

Hong Kong International Airport
This is one of the best airports for dining and baggage delivery. They have excellent shopping and it is also one of the cleaner airports. Enjoy a nine-hole golf course if you have a few hours to expend! The attributes of this airport are predictable. Cantonese people like to shop and dine — it is not a mystery why they have excellent facilities for both at the airport. Also, not surprisingly, Taiwan’s main airport looks more like a world trade show than an airport — that is their reason for living!

Other high ranking airports

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
Great dining, shopping and leisure options. Former military airfield.

Tokyo International Airport- Haneda
This airport is very clean and has excellent shopping.

Beijing Capital International Airport
Beijing airport has a huge volume of traffic and stays very busy.

Zurich Airport
Leave it to the Swiss! This airport has excellent security, immigration and dining facilities.

Vancouver International Airport
This airport is not that busy, but has beautiful Pacific Northwest Totem-poles and artwork throughout the airport. This airport was named best airport in North America and is reputed to have excellent staff and help facilities.

London’s Heathrow Airport
This airport is renowned for being one of the world’s busiest, most efficient and practical. But, lacks the niceties that the Singaporeans have. I guess if you fly from New York to Zurich, a stopover in London might be more on the way, than Singapore, but I still have my preference.

A final note or two

Bangalore, India
Bangalore built a new airport which started being used while I was there in 2008. In many ways it compares to some of the world’s best although it is not on anyone’s top ten list. They had many unique restaurants, coffee shops, and bars that were more eclectic and creative than in any other country I have seen. They kept the floors immaculately cleaned, but the bathrooms were a mess. The paid attendents just sat on their rears collecting two rupees per guest and let the place be a filthy disaster of a rest-room! You can build a 1st class structure in India, but if you let low-class people manage it, it will still have filthy bathrooms — guaranteed!

Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Malaysia
Although, not on anyone’s top ten list, the architecture was stunning with a massive domed ceiling and angular roof supports giving the building a very roomy feeling. The food and coffee houses were great, although I didn’t like having to change my currency. Why can’t they accept rupees or dollars without making a fuss? I enjoyed seeing Arabic music videos in one of the lobbies. One of the perks of being in an Islamic country, but I never expected it! I had a stopover, and stayed at a hotel less than a mile from the airport. The food was a choice between Chinese, Malay, and Indian food at a buffet. All I can say is that this cuisine works for me, although I like Thai and Japanese too. I’ll send them an email and let them know! Your plane might get lost, but the airport and hotels won’t!

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A new airport & bullet train system for the USA: The midnight bullet train to Georgia

Going to the airport for an international flight is a headache. You have to show up very early, wait in long lines, and then wait some more after you are checked in. Then you stand in another line to go through security, walk a long way, and wait more at the gate. It is all waiting and no fun! I live near LAX in Los Angeles. The airport is nothing special. The highlight is getting Haagen Daz and sitting in an overly crowded food court lounge in the international terminal. The Chinese food there is not bad, but honestly, for the allegedly greatest country in the world, Singapore has us beat ten times over!

Imagine an airport where there is no waiting?
What? This can’t be possible! How would that be the case? Imagine that the entire North American air traffic system were reworked. Is it possible? How much would it cost? In our universe, the only thing that is constant is change. If an idea catches on, a few years later, everyone is trying to do it! The United States has many large airlines. These airlines typically have hubs where you transfer from one plane to another. If you fly from San Francisco to New York, expect to Transfer in Las Vegas or Dallas — wherever their hub is. Imagine a different system. Imagine that no airline offered destination to destination service, but left you at a hub shared by all airlines?

A new hub system
The problem with U.S. airports is that they are in metro areas where land is scarce. You can’t really modify airports so easily, because there is nowhere to expand. Additionally parking is never convenient. You always have to take a shuttle to the airport. Imagine having hubs that are in the middle of nowhere. Imaging having bullet train systems link to these airport hubs creating a very differently functioning network.

A sample trip from Los Angeles to Miami using my hub system
The problem with LAX is that everyone is going to the same small place to try to park and get a flight. It is difficult. I’m not saying that the airport should be abolished, but imagine a parallel system! Imagine bullet trains with large stations where you could park securely for a reasonable price. Imagine these bullet trains taking you to an airport in the desert somewhere where you could fly to another hub in Southern Georgia and then take another bullet train. What is the advantage of all of this transferring you might ask. If you had routine plane trips from hub to hub, you could have huge planes that could fly every 10 minutes. There would be no need to wait!

Imagine the converse system: Fly to a bullet train station, ride the train, and then a transfer to your final flight!
What if you could take a flight from any small airport in California to a hub in a remote part of Arizona or Colorado. Then, transfer to a bullet train to Southern Georgia, and then a flight to Miami. The beauty of this system would be that you would have lots of planes all going to the same destination hundreds of times per day which would enable you to use huge aircraft and eliminate waiting times. Since urban areas in California don’t have much room to build more trains, using existing airports to connect to a hub in the desert is a practical choice. But, in the wide open spaces in America, there is plenty of room to build a new train! Think of how exciting that would be!

Imagine not having to check in your bags?
For security purposes bags will always need to be screened. But, imagine an airline with huge airplanes that lets you take your bags with you and store them inside a really wide plane in a compartment? That eliminates the time spent checking in your bags, and wondering if they will come out on the other end. Think of the anxiety you will be spared. With the use of better designed carts, and help from large golf carts, you would get your bags on the plane with no hassle. The type of plane I’m talking about doesn’t exist, but it could be designed if the idea caught on. It might seat over one thousand people per flight. The idea behind the plane is that it would save you time — so, you would need to load the plane with passengers from more than eight different entrances to save time.

Boarding the plane
Imagine a mega-huge wide plane. It might be two stories tall in all parts. Imagine that there were ten entrances to the plane, all large enough to allow carts with huge bags. Or imagine robotic carts that would move themselves on the plane and guide you to your storage cabinet and seat that could talk to you. The future is near folks, and this idea is very possible, and entirely pleasant too! The only draw back is if you get a robot who talks back to you, or takes time off for their oil break!

What is the allure of the bullet train?
Although flight patterns criss-cross the United States, a bullet train wouldn’t have to. It would only need to go in certain routes and transport huge numbers of people twenty-four hours a day on those routes. The benefit of the bullet train is that it could travel over 200 miles per hour which is about 40% of the speed of a plane. It doesn’t take time to land (well, most trains don’t.) It offers spaciousness which is a huge benefit to the elderly who need more leg space, and to those of us who want to enjoy the voyage as much as we enjoy the destination. Sure it costs a lot to build bullet train rails, but if it were used non-stop, the investment would pay off faster than a speeding bullet! It is easier to serve food in a train, not to mention the opportunity to have bars, choices of movies, internet lounges, showers, and many other conveniences that would be impossible on a plane!

How long would it take to ride a train across the Southern United States?
It might be about 1900 miles from the California desert to Southern Georgia for our LAX to Miami transport. This new hub & bullet train system would allow you to fly to the desert hub, or just drive there and park at a low rate. It is only two or three hours to the desert from the city. But, for those in the Eastern suburbs it might only take an hour and a half! The 1900 mile journey (midnight train to Georgia) would take about nine hours. That is a lot longer than a four hour flight, but consider the comfort. America tends to focus on being anti-social and anti-hospitality these days which is a shame. But, imagine if this new hub system was designed to be friendly, considerate, and meet your every need. Imagine that it was actually such a pleasure to travel using this system that you might want to travel even if you didn’t have anywhere to go? That is what transportation should be like!

In India, it is popular to take a night train. You sleep in the train, and awaken to the smell of freshly brewed masala chai, Madras coffee, and other goodies. Imagine an American train that would smoothly deliver you across a continent while you sleep and offer you a choice of breakfast items delivered to your seat at a specified time! If America could capitalize on the niceties of India and pair it with high technology, we might have a winner!

A final note
My hub idea with a bullet train would not be like Europe with its confusing train system. The train would have only two stops per ride. The stop you get on, and the stop you exit. This would make it easier to book seats, and not be disturbed in the middle of your trip with endless stopping and noise. Your trip would be one long and quiet whoosh!