Several months ago, my boss decided that it would be a great idea to have a staff meet-up with the five of us in LA after the San Diego Comic Con. My boss has been residing in China for the past couple of years, and I had never actually met him or my colleagues since we all work remote.
We had a booth in San Diego, and my boss had flown J over from the UK to help out. The event was supposed to last until the 24th, and then we’d meet in LA from July 25th to the 31st.
I was extremely excited and slightly anxious since I hadn’t travelled in over five years. However, my boss was covering for the flight and the accommodation in LA, so I was like, “Hell yeah!”
I decided to head to San Diego to meet some of my discord friends prior to LA. On the morning of July 23rd, I arrived at the Toronto Pearson Airport four hours before my flight because I had received multiple notices that the lines were terribly long, and I should arrive more than three hours in advance.
I had already checked in online, and I was also NOT checking in a bag, so I didn’t think it could be that bad. But when I had arrived at the airport, the situation was insane. There were at least thousands of people waiting to enter Gate F at 4am, where we needed to go through security check.
I got into the line immediately, but after ten to fifteen minutes, I was told to show my ticket and was told that I was TOO EARLY, and I had to go all the way back to 15 (I don’t know what they’re called, but it’s the number 15) and wait until it was later before I could get in line. The airport representative said that I should not be in the line unless my flight was 6:30am or earlier (at the time, it was 4:15am or so, and my flight was at 8am).
I mentioned about the email, but was basically told, “Too bad.”
Why are they telling me to come so early if they’re not even going to let me get in line? UGHHHHH.
Anyway, by around 5am, I was finally able to get in line without getting sent back for the 4th time. After an hour of waiting, I thought I was nearly there, but it turned out that there were even MORE lines inside Gate F. And the security check was so hardcore. I needed to use 6 boxes: one for my laptop and electronics, one for my jacket, one for my backpack, one for my carry-on, one for my shoes, and one for liquids.
After passing by security, I foolishly thought I would be close. But nope. There were still several more hundred people ahead of me to go through customs.
In the end, it took me over THREE hours to actually get to my gate. And my flight was also delayed for another TWO hours. Holy moly. What a pain.
Anyhow, I arrived to LA and knew I had to go to the Union Station and then take the train to San Diego. My friend, T, was going to pick me up from the station.
However, I had never been to LA before, and even though I knew I had to take the Flyaway bus, I had no idea where it was.
So, I asked a random airport staff, and she told me to exit and then find the green pole. But when I got to the green pole, it turned out it was not the right spot. I had to ask another person, and they told me to go to the blue pole. Luckily, it was a minute away, so it wasn’t too bad.
When I got to the blue pole, I was going to scan the QR code to buy the ticket. I hadn’t booked in advance since I figured my flight was going to be delayed, so I decided it was safer to buy the ticket when I got there.
But the bus suddenly arrived, and the driver was telling everyone to hop on!! I exclaimed, “But I haven’t bought my ticket yet!” He said it was fine. I thought it was extremely strange since I thought it was only normal if people paid prior to getting on. Otherwise, how would you get them to pay afterwards?
Anyhow, the ride was approximately 30 minutes. The moment we arrived, there was a lady that was waiting around to scan tickets. It turned out that they had a booth there where people could pay AFTERWARDS. Interesting.
The ride was around $9.75usd. I think it was pretty good since it would’ve been far more expensive if I had taken an Uber. (Note: It looks quite ghetto though.)
I was now in the Union Station of Los Angeles. And oh dear, it smelled like urine everywhere. Also, there were a lot of homeless people walking around. I was lining up for a subway sandwich, and I almost fainted from the scent despite having a mask on.
There were also a lot of police or security everywhere. It did make me feel a bit fearful, but I was also busy being stressed since I needed to buy a ticket to San Diego.
I found the booth and asked, and it turned out it was only $36 to get from LA Union Station to the stop I needed to get off. Not bad! The ride was approximately 2-2.5 hr.
I didn’t have enough time to get a drink though, since the ticket lady told me the train was departing in three minutes, and I would have had to wait THREE HOURS for the next one if I had missed it.
So, I ran like the wind and caught the train just in time. It was actually quite weird for me since I had never actually taken a train to go somewhere far before. Everyone had their own food on their laps and were just on their phones or tablets or whatever.
The lady next to me got off earlier than me, and so I took her spot and charged my phone. I notified T that I would be arriving soon, and she told me where to wait for her.
It wasn’t difficult to find T, and she picked me up without issues! I was actually quite excited. I had known T since 2015?? Back then, a bunch of us would go on discord to chat and sing karaoke. T has an extremely low and sexy voice. LOLOL. (It’s true though). Anyhow, we stayed in touch throughout the years, and even though we haven’t talked all that much in recent years, we still have a pretty good relationship. She is also a fellow translator, but we have different sites. If you’re confused, just imagine Asian youtubers meeting up with other creators in person. Continue reading “My San Diego and LA trip: Chaotic airport, meeting my colleagues + catching covid”