Sunday, October 4, 2009

"And, best of all, it's FREE!"

This is one of Richie's criteria for events. As he reads the newspapers avidly, he finds nearly all of these just-too-good-to-be-true events. Thus, we've been on the El Segundo refinery tour --twice. You're put on luxury buses (Recaro seats, big screen TV, etc.) and driven all over the acreage. At seveal points of the tour, it was something of an E ticket ride -- the "roads" are little more than pathways with several switchback turns and the buses are huge.

We go every year to the K-9 trials, we've participated in a number of CERT drills (we had to, we're members) and once upon a time, we'd go to the Polliwog Park Sunday summer aftrnoon concerts. Until parks management said genially, "Sure, you can drink responsibly in the park, but absolutely no smoking!" Huh? Open air park?

This weekend is a double -- yesterday we went to Long Beach for the Green Port Fest. Apparently they had one last year because I heard people asking each other, "Are you going on the boat tour?" "No, we did that last year; we're going on the Metroliner this time."

A very long line stretched across the parking lot, but it moved quickly. Soon we were on an ecologically-correct bus heading to the event. Once there, it was a mass of people and lines for everything.

The Port of Long Beach ( covers more than 35 miles with cranes as tall as a 30-story building to unload container ships, the length of three football fields long. Every year about $140 billion (billion) worth of cargo is handled.

Activities included: harbor boat tour, Metroline ride, plant a tree (sprig) and take it home to "produce oxygen and reduce greenhouse gases in your own backyard," Cambodian folk dancing and a ra;;eping demonstration by the Long Beach Fire Department. We admired a huge machine that monitors air quality at the Port. We walked around a bit and took the bus back to the car.

Back in our car, I looked at the booklet handed to me and didn't want to tell Richie he missed out on coupons for a FREE hot dog or pizza slice or popcorn or snow cone or a beverage. Insead we went to King's Fish House, 100 W. Broadway, Long Beach, 562-432-7463 and ate shrimp. Very good they were, too.

Today - Sunday - we're going to the RBPD Safety Fair (415 N. Diamond - civic center.) Visitors are offered tours of the jail (no, thanks) a mock crime scene with CSI investigators, a firearms training simulator, free gun locks and talks on drug awareness (unnecessary in our case) and police history. SWAT is to be there with their equipment wagon and rather maniac officers. To a man, they look more than ready and willing to go ... jumpy, in fact. There'll be a K-9 demonstration because the RBPD is very proud of their dogs.

"But, best of all -- it's FREE!" Richie reminded me. "What time do you want to go?"

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