Over the MLK weekend we decided to spend a one day/one night in Long Beach.
It’s only an hour’s drive from Pasadena and we arrived at the Courtyard Marriott just in time for lunch. We were welcomed like royalty (thanks to our awesome status gained after spending 2 months living at the Residence Inn) and were directed to Pier 76 for lunch where we shared some amazing fish tacos and homemade strawberry lemonade.
Having been told it was “impossible” to walk to the Queen Mary from town we sought the free Passport bus to take us there (we didn’t particularly want to pay $15 to park). We then stood in the slowest queue in the known universe to buy entrance tickets. We got the audio tour and entrance to the Diana Exhibit – perhaps a bit ambitious given it was already 2pm.
We collected the audio tour and began a two hour battle to follow the stupid directions to different places on the ship – seemingly at random. While the 2 minutes of information per stop was interesting, the miles of walking and ages spent looking for the tiny audio tour signs were not.
But we did learn a few things like …. The wooden floors are the original (and the smell of them cooking in the sun reminded me of school). The amazingly long corridors in the lower decks are bowed with the shape of the ship. From the bridge the captain couldn’t actually see where he was going – they relied on tug boats to take them into port. The awesome propellers were so finely balanced it was possible to turn them with finger pressure.
The main thing we learned, however, was that the foghorn was loud. Like, the world is ending LOUD. We happened to be at the closest possible point to the horn when it went off and nearly had a heart attack. Soon after we found the tiniest sign telling us the regular times. After I noted this in my TripAdvisor review I was informed:
We have the horn information posted on our website and on signage throughout the ship. Its [sic] clock work, we do apologize for the inconvenience.
After about 5 minutes of googling I found this tiny paragraph:
And don’t miss the Queen Mary horn, proudly blowing every day at 10AM, 3PM & 6PM. The Voice of the Queen Mary can be heard ten miles away!
Anyway, after this we headed into the Diana exhibit which I found quite nostalgic – probably not the effect they were going for. Quite a lot of the exhibit consisted of royal ‘tat’ – stuff I would expect to pick up in a tourist shop in the UK but some of it was good – letters, clothes, old newspapers etc.
After we’d had our fill we caught the bus back to the hotel and watched some of the Australian Open. Later we went out to dinner at Wokcano.
Next morning we were up bright and early to try to find the beach. Once again we decided to walk it, and were nearly foiled by roadworks and lack of footpaths.
We eventually made it to the beach and found it to be… wide. Happily there was a concrete path running right down the middle of it, so we took advantage until we hit more roadworks (beachworks?). We walked back along the shoreline and couldn’t help but notice the oil on the sand. Probably something to do with the massive dock yard right next door? I was later assured that further along, closer to the pier the beach is much better.
Finally we headed back to town and to Creme de la Crepe for breakfast before heading home. This is meant to be the first of our twelve local holidays for the year. Stay tuned for next month’s adventure – with any luck we’ll be going to Owens Valley.
Question: Have you ever been blasted by a foghorn at close range?