Los Angeles

I never thought before about travelling on a Christmas day. But here I am, inside an airport, at LAX exactly, waiting for my east-bound flight to JFK in New York. Why didn't I stay an extra day? I would have wanted of course but several factors came into play: 1. the cost of travelling back to New York today is considerably cheaper as opposed to travelling after a major holiday like Christmas. 2. It would be less crowded in the airport 3. I have work waiting for me and I could not get an extra day-off.

There was hardly any other car in sight as my brother-in-law drove me to LAX. The expressway was indeed express all the way! As expected, LAX wasn't as crowded. There wasn't a long queue at the American Airlines counter but I opted for the self-service check-in as I only have a carry-on with me. Going through security checks was also expeditious as there were not many passengers around.

I travelled to Los Angeles primarily to see my brand-new niece Cheska Maxine. The last time I was in their home in Santa Fe Springs, it was just my sister and Fitzgerald: now they have one bundle of joy and a bundle of diapers to deal with. Cheska is only 3 months old but she's already big for her age. In fact, she came into this world weighing a hefty 8 pounds. Whenever she cries for milk, attention or whatever (who knows what's in her mind?), it's as if she was born with surround sound speakers to amplify her angst. The shrill voice could actually dislodge someone's hardened earwax!

This is my third visit to Los Angeles and I'm glad I was finally able to visit what this city is best known for: Hollywood. The movie and television industry in America and practically the whole world looks up to this district in Los Angeles were dreams are made and stars are born. On a sidewalk down Hollywood Avenue is the Walk of Fame, embedded with 2000-plus pink stars to honor the many celebrities that contributed to this money-making industry. The sidewalk passes through two famous theaters: The Kodak (where the Oscars are annually held) and Grauman's Chinese Theater. Up on the southern side of Mount Lee, the imposing "Hollywood" sign can be seen from miles around. I wanted to see it closer so we drove past winding roads from Beachwood Drive until we found the perfect perch. Thankfully, the weather was just as perfect and baby Cheska smiled for my Nikon.

In Cerritos last night, we attended Sunday mass at a packed Catholic church officiated by a Filipino priest. I didn't want to stay in the glass-enclosed section for families with wailing babies (where Leah and Fitz with baby Cheska stayed), so I waded myself in a sea of church-goers (mostly Fil-Ams) and stood during the rest of the standing-room-only mass. It feels good to honor the reason we have Christmas in the first place: Jesus Christ. Merry Christmas!

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