You may know me as a bargain basement shopper, and so it wouldn’t surprise you to know that I booked tickets to Copenhagen from Los Angeles for a mere $333 one way on Norwegian Airlines. That’s not a bad price for a summer flight. The kicker is that I still needed to get to Los Angeles from Phoenix. After considerable searching and waiting I found a flight for $45 each to Los Angeles, but the problem is that it leaves at 6:50 am, and my flight to Copenhagen leaves at 7:30 pm. That makes for a very long layover. Solution……rent a car and go to Venice Beach! The car rental is only $25.
And so it is that after just 4 hours of sleep we get up early and head off to Los Angeles. I realized once we arrived that the car rental was booked with some random company called Midway. I have never heard of them before, and it takes a lot of phenagling to figure out how to get to their location, which makes my sleep deprived self rather cranky. When I pick up the car I have a bad feeling. They want me to sign a weird form that I have never heard of before. Then they take video with a iPad of the car before I leave with it and make me sign a form again. We shall see if they charge me for random damages that I never inflicted on the car. It seems like a rip off joint. Note to self, don’t use Midway again.
We make our way over to Venice Beach. It’s really busy, and I pay as much for parking as I did to rent the car. The one thing to note is that there is literally tons of cops around. I ask one if the police presence is greater today, and he said it is due to the Memorial Day holiday. He tells us to keep our belongings close to avoid pickpockets and purse snatchers. We watch some street performers for a while, and the kids are appalled by their constant racial undertones to their jokes.
The kids love watching this artist painting.
What’s a visit to Venice Beach without some overpriced ice cream?
When we see some Bernie supporters we jump right in. We are not Bernie supporters, in case you are wondering! But he ought to show Hillary a thing or two…..so there’s no coronation, if you know what I mean.
When I started taking a picture this random dude jumps into the photo. At first I thought that he was trying to pickpocket Kristoff, as he is carrying my purse. Ends up being he just wanted to show his support for Bernie!!
There’s even a random freak show with two headed turtles and such oddities.
Soon we are on our way back to the airport. We meet up with a lovely Finnish couple at the airport who happen to be traveling on the same flight as us. They had paid only $150 for their tickets, so I feel ripped off……not really, but I am impressed with their bargain hunting abilities. They had visited us two weeks ago in Phoenix and I had lent them a backpacking tent and two sleeping bags, and sent them on their way for a grand tour of the western states. They returned my tent and sleeping bags, and we are now ready to leave to Denmark.
I don’t think I told you that meals on the plane are not included in the ticket price on Norwegian Airlines. It’s a discount airline, to be sure, but meals are grossly expensive. It costs $45 per person for an airplane meal. No thanks! I got myself a nice cooler bag that can be carried online as a handbag, and I fill it up with food for the trip. The only problem is how do I keep the food cool? You can’t take ice through security. Ahaaaaa…….I know! I pack along a couple large ziplock bags, and once we pass airport security I stop at a fast food restaurant. You would be amused by the expression on the young woman’s face when I asked her to fill a ziplock bag with ice for me, please. She asks her manager, and I hear him tell her just to make sure not to touch the bag with her ice scooper. And so it was that I have myself a large bag full of ice to keep our food cool for the trip, in my lovely rainbow cooler bag. This thing is going to come in handy on this trip!
Norwegian Airlines serves their paying customers food first. They march up and down the aisle, up and down, up and down. They don’t offer non paying customers anything to drink, but I do find out later that I can get some water to drink if I stop them and ask. After all it would be pretty bad for their reputation if a customer died of thirst on their flight. After they are done serving their paying customers, they open up the snack bar. So on the screen on the seat in front of you there is a selection for the Snack Bar from which you can order some cold food items and snacks. This brings about a bunch more of flight attendants marching up and down the aisle, up and down the aisle, up and down the aisle.
This plane is a Dreamliner. It’s surprisingly comfortable. I honestly wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Norwegian Airlines flights out of L.A. Check it out! Their website makes it sound like they are kind of picky about the weight of your carry on luggage, but they did not weigh or measure the size of anyone’s bags that I would have noticed. I did pack everything exactly according to the rules, just to be safe. The overhead bins are very roomy. You are allowed one 22 lb carry on, and a small personal item.
I have ham and cheese sandwiches, as well as tuna salad, bananas, chips and some bars along. I have water in bottles that I had filled from the water fountain once we got past security. Our meal is filling, and surprisingly delicious! No airplane food gut ache this time.
Luckily the plane is not full so Annika and I are able to move into a middle seat section with 3 seats. Hence we are able to spread out a bit more to sleep. After all the marching up and down the aisles subsided we finally fall asleep.
About an hour or so later there is an announcement overhead asking for any nurses or doctors on board to come to the center section of the plane to help an ill passenger. I arose in quite a groggy state, fished in the seat pocket for my glasses, popped them on my face and went to go help. A woman in her mid 60s was laying down on the floor. She was pretty out of it, but hey, so was I! And it seems everyone else who was there. Seems like there was one physician from somewhere in Europe there and two other nurses. They are trying to pick her up and bring her into the upper class section into a seat that the flight attendant was offering. Uhhhh…..not so fast, folks, she is passing out…..pulse is okay, respiration are okay, she’s a little pale……After a few minutes she seems stable enough to rise and the doctor decides we must guide her to the seat, but not before I pull off her slippery socks that keep sliding across the airplane floor. We need a little traction here.
I ask for a blood pressure cuff, and a medical kit arrives. The doctor tries to get a blood pressure, but claims that the cuff does not work. I take it from her and twirl the screw tight so that the cuff can inflate (righty tighty), and indeed it begins to work. BP is 140/75. Now they are calling the ground flight medical personnel. Her husband reveals that she had some chest pain so she had taken some nitroglycerin. I start to do a little detective work. Does she take nitro often? No. Has she taken it before? No. Is it her prescription? No. Whose is it? Mine, answers the husband. I guess he saw it wise to give her nitro when she had chest pain. I note that she had no diaphoresis, no shortness of breath, no nausea or vomiting……so is she having a heart attack? After all she had chest pain. The nitro probably lowered her BP and made her weak. She did not pass out, but rather sat down when she felt weak. I dunno. It’s probably not a heart attack. Especially not because I don’t want the flight diverted, because I want to get to Copenhagen on time. And as you probably already know it is all about me all the time. I figure I had better distance myself from the decision making. I don’t want to be responsible for deciding whether or not she is having a heart attack or not, so I leave the doctor there to talk to the personnel on the ground, which she seems to be perfectly content to do.
I went back to my seat and slept soundly. We did not make an emergent landing, so perhaps the ground medical personnel did not see it as a medical emergency after all. Before landing they ask everyone to stay on board until an ill passenger can be removed. When I pick up our luggage I see the woman rushing about gathering her luggage, her eyes bright and alive – no longer that dull and dazed look from earlier in the night. Looks like she is fine. Sounds like a good way to get a luxury seat……pass out as near the front of the plane as possible…..
Upon arrival to Copenhagen I pick up my rental car. Now I will tell you something. I booked this car thought SIXT. It’s a German car rental company, and I got a great deal on the car. I selected a hatchback, so not the cheapest car on the option screen, just in case I end up needing to transport a kid in the hatchback somewhere along the way. You know, you can’t put kids in the trunk no matter what, but in an emergency you can stuff a kid in a hatchback. Anyway, the car is about $250 for 10 days. I pay with my Amex card since they insure the car for you. My American car insurance doesn’t cover cars outside of the US and Canada. Then I go to pick up my car. Now imagine my surprise! It’s a 7 seater BMW diesel station wagon! What a sweet car!!! Check out the license plate……wonder if they knew I am from AZ…..lol
I take off driving towards Esbjerg about 3 hours away. When I am about one hour down the road I start thinking that maybe I had read somewhere that AMEX does not insure luxury rental vehicles. I know for sure they don’t cover 4×4 rentals, and seems to me like I remember luxury vehicles are not included either. Great…….now I don’t know if I am adequately insured and I am driving this beautiful car for the next 10 days! Wow…..it’s nice!
People drive fast on the highways here. The highway is in great shape. The trucks are driving the posted speed limit of 110 km/ph, but the cars are zipping past. Soon I am speeding with them, clocking close to 150km/ph. This car has incredible acceleration! Later I noticed a bunch of speed cameras….oops better slow down……I see lots of speed cameras…..I probably sped through a whole bunch of them……I wonder how many tickets I am going to get and how much they cost here in Denmark, which is one of the most expensive countries in the world to live in. I get about two hours down the road and I find myself falling asleep at least 5 times in 10 minutes despite every attempt to stay awake. I pull into a gas station. There is a kids playground there and the kids jump out to play while I take a 45 minute nap.
When we arrive in Esbjerg Ashlee meets us on the street in front of her apartment. We do an extended group hug right there in the middle of the sidewalk. It’s probably not what Danish people are used to witnessing, so we get some strange stares from passerbys.
Ashlee’s apartment is really cute. It actually is only about a one year old. There’s a little kitchen/living area and two bedrooms. The windows in the bedrooms are essentially right at the street level. Seems to me if a car were to inadvertently drive into the building you might be in grave danger……
My dream is very vivid. An elderly woman with a walker has pulled me aside to ask me about how to treat her UTI. I listen to her, but am annoyed to be wasting my time. All of a sudden from around the corner I hear a loud pop and screaming. It’s Jasmine that I hear, and the commotion about her. I know that “pop” sound. It’s an electrocution, and it must be my Jasmine. I rush into the direction of the sound, around the corner, but I am too late. They have taken Jasmine already and are rushing off with her down this long roadway. I am very aware that I am sleeping, but I am screaming! “Jasmine!!!! Jasmine!!!!! Stop!!!! Jasmine!!!!!! Jasmiiiiiine!!! Stop!” In my conscious thoughts I am wondering if David can hear me screaming as he lays next to me, but I don’t care if he does. I must stop Jasmine at all costs. I am running down the long roadway to reach her as fast as my legs will carry me. My screams go unheeded as I see them fade off into the distance.
When I awake I realize that David is not next to me, but rather is thousands of miles away at home. I hear random intermittent thumping or bumping noises from what seems to be the upstairs tenants. This is university housing where we are staying, and I am imagining noisy students having a party or just goofing off.
A few seconds later I hear the door click open to the boys room, which is that familiar click that doors make in Europe. This is followed by our room door clicking open, and Bjorn is standing there. “Mom! Tell Kristoff to stop tickling my feet! I can’t sleep and he keeps trying to tickle me!”
Well, it’s 01:00 am. I guess the boys didn’t transition so well to the time change. I think to myself that I better take away Kristoff’s cell phone so he doesn’t have that to distract him, but it’s right where he left it in the kitchen. It’s plugged in with a converter….the same one that just hours earlier had one of the prongs fall off and get stuck in the outlet….which he had promptly fished out with his bare hands….which is quite notable since the voltage here is 240 in the outlets….a notably large amount that could pretty much kill you, so you don’t want to play with it. I guess in the morning we will have to fish the prong out of the socket again.