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Long Beach, California

Tuesday

From Union Station I caught the Red line to 7th Street, then transfered to the Blue line to Long Beach. It was afternoon by the time I got there, but this played into my hands beautifully as I wanted to see it in the dark - The Queen Mary! This part is only really meaningful if you've seen a film called The Gumball Rally, there is no other reason I wanted to go there, and this time of year probably little reason to be at Long Beach for anyone unless you work there.

Gumball! As I approached the Queen Mary on the free shuttle bus we joined a stretch of freeway towards the docklands, from this high vantage point one could see the whole port stretching away into the haze on the horizon, a bit like Tyneside. I could also see the storm drains - undoubtedly the ones which the two leaders race each other through to beat the traffic, just before the end of the race. The Queen Mary itself is a hotel, as it was in the film, however the parking lot was full and they'd since added a Russian attack submarine to the dock and a hut so I couldn't get a very good shot of the ship; I didn't have a camera capable of night-time shots anyway so I had to make-do with this one. Baggage in tow, I had a pizza at a local restaurant.

That was that. Not much else to see, there was a small tourist village with a few shops but I had seen what I came to see. I negotiated the public transport down to San Pedro, by this time is was dark and I had to change in what I presumed must be downtown San Pedro. Waiting around at a bus stop for the best part of an hour while watching my back was not much fun. When I finally reached my destination I was immediately confused - the hostel guide said that the bus dropped off right outside the hostel, but this was the middle of a residential area, in the dark... Aaaaaaaaarrrrgh!

Through a process of elimination I found the hostel at the top of the hill behind a very secure looking fence. This was an old fort on the hilltop overlooking the Pacific coastline here. There was a moment of panic when I thought I'd lost my cash card and hostel card, but otherwise there was no more excitement that day. I sat down at a table and repaired my painted plate with the super glue I had bought. There was a curious French sounding guy who claimed to be German, he was challenging all-comers to chess. I gave him one game then retired to my bunk in the barracks.