Adding to the Adventure
More than once I have traveled for a medical procedure. Not as extreme or distant as discounted heart surgery abroad, but often finding the right physiological provider did require a flight to a doctor’s destination (and once included a bump up to first class – how simply awful for me). And as is common with most of my travel, I insert sightseeing into my itineraries. Whether it is for business, joining a family reunion, completing my degree work (see “An Education at Gettysburg,” March 2013), or for a medical procedure, I stop at a historical marker, I voyage via a unique mode of transportation, or I take in a baseball game to add a little spice to my travel. It’s what makes a routine trip a memorable outing.
Once I cruised Hollywood Boulevard after a two-day workshop in Southern California and happened upon a press-lined red carpet for a movie premiere at the Grauman’s Chinese Theater. I dined on the waterfront after a meeting in Annapolis when I took with a side trip to Chesapeake Bay (see “The Ice Machine in the River,” July 2012). I squeezed in a landmark outing in the City of Brotherly Love (see “The Vet,” November 2011), and I added a full day’s drive to the northern tier when I had just planned an overnight outing to Omaha (see “North Dakota on a Napkin,” November 2011). My travel always has multiple purposes and selfish sightseeing.
I land on Monday night and reach the hotel after sunset, sadly, since my hotel stands near the beach in practically perfect Santa Monica. I barely close the door to my room and receive a call from the front desk updating me on the score from the Tampa Bay Rays game (why, yes, they did sweep the Red Sox). Clearly this hotel will exceed my expectations if they can keep me apprised of the early-season series. Hued in tans, browns, and white, with highlights of trendy green, this hotel may not ooze medical motif, but it certainly brightens my visit’s purpose. I may not get to enjoy the fancy first-floor nightclub, but just being in Santa Monica will be a treat.
Morning begins with my trying to complete my homework in advance of finals week. But certainly I will get a chance to get out to the beach or down to the pier. By midday I am on my way to appointment one of two, followed by a social call from friends checking on me. When adding in a little recuperation time, another sunset comes and goes without me. Day two takes a similar course, substituting work on my final term paper for the conversational pop-in. And by the time I lie down, I have caught only a snippet of the sun’s departure and none of the ambiance of the ocean. The coastal taxi ride back to LAX affords me my only scenic pleasure during an excursion-less escape. The sun metaphorically set on Santa Monica.