I was hiding out at an undisclosed location when I got a call from The Chief. “Get to Anaheim, pronto!” he barked. “You must find the best alto saxophone retailer in Southern California.” Wondering whether I might be able to stay for the NAMM show, I was roused from the idle life of an off-duty (but never unprepared) Spy. I got hopping and headed down south in my trusty four-door sedan.
I booked a nice, cozy hotel in the lovely, subdued and clean community of Burbank, a mere 10-minute drive from Hollywood. It was a beautiful time to be near L.A. The first night in town, I hit up Don Cuco, where the margaritas are refreshing and there’s always a bit of a crowd, for some Mexican food. I ordered a burrito plate, sans tortilla—the L.A. eat-well mentality already having pervaded my senses—and I enjoyed every bite.
After a night of rest in my plush bed at Tangerine Hotel, incidentally right next to Don Cuco, I got up, jumped into my car and headed toward Anaheim, the land of Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm. The weather was warm without being too hot, although the staff at the hotel that morning told me they could not wait until the weather stopped being so warm. I looked at them as though they were crazy. Hot weather is perfect for this Spy. Traffic was mild: I left a little past noon to make sure I didn’t hit any lunchtime commuter traffic coming out of Los Angeles. Driving away from the city, I noticed signs for pivotal locations such as the Hollywood Bowl.
The one thing about Los Angeles that almost everybody agrees upon is that the “City of Angels” is also the city of sitting in your car stuck in traffic. In order to get from one place to the next, you have to calculate a wide time bracket to accommodate the certainty of running into it. If you’re going out, say, to dinner with friends, you might make plans for 7pm and leave your house at 5:30pm, just in case.
The drive down to Anaheim was pretty non-descript. Regardless, it is imperative to pay attention to where you’re going when you’re driving in Southern California. As I rode over giant freeways, I navigated exit lanes coming at me from the right and the left, never quite being able to tell on which side my exit would be. Way to keep MI Spies on their toes! As I got closer to Anaheim, the scenery turned more and more nondescript, except for the ever-present palm trees jutting out from the sides of the road. I rode past hotels geared toward Disneyland tourists as I traversed a giant street through the amusement park hub of Anaheim, saying a silent “thank you” that my mission did not involve navigating that giant parking lot or any of the themed Disneyland hotels.