It's The Norm
July 25-31, 2002 ARCHIVES
"It's The Norm" - Recent Entertainment Events in Las Vegas

On Vacation

by Norm Johnson
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Took a few days vacation the other week and went to Del Mar, California. It was the first time I had been back to the quaint little village by the ocean since I was in my 20's. And, folks, that was a long time ago. The town at one time was famous for its historic hotel and the thoroughbred racetrack, where the theme was and is "Where the Turf Meets the Surf."

I have to be honest with you, it is no longer a quaint little village, but a busy city with lots of great restaurants, novelty shops and of course its famous beaches. We (my companion and I) stayed at an apartment belonging to Jani Mae (She owns a very successful photography business here). It overlooked the cliffs leading down to the surf. Of course getting to the beach was a bit of a chore. First you had to gently climb down to a dirt and rock trail that runs alongside the railroad tracks leading from San Diego to Los Angeles. I remembered that the trains used to run like two or three times a day, so there was no fear when we crossed the tracks and began our trek to the beach. Wrong! They now have some kind of commuter metro liner that seems to run about every 20 minutes or so. As we walked I happened to mention we should walk on the tracks (that way we would not be stumbling on all the little rocks) when all of a sudden this thing came around the corner and scared the hell out of us. It was the train. I grabbed Cathy and we stood there as it sped by us. "Bad idea Norm," she said. We maintained our poise and walked on the rocks for the next two miles to the Park Beach.

Friday we drove into Los Angeles to visit with Robert and Vera Goulet. Our buddy was appearing in "South Pacific" at the Wilshire Theatre. It took us over three hours to drive the 110 miles on the freeway (we had forgot about the famous L.A. traffic jams when we planned the jaunt). As we drove past the Beverly Hilton Hotel we got a phone call from Vera. Robert was ill and would not be performing. He was returning to the hotel and we should come up to their suite. We visited for a while, had dinner in Trader Vic's (where we ran into Debbie Reynolds and said hello). It only took us 1 1/2 hours to get back to Del Mar.

Saturday I relived my youth. We headed for the beach, but this time we were going to find the shortcut we were told about. We found it okay. It was a trail carved into the very steep cliffs over the years by thousands of surfers (you know the lads with young legs and lots of nerve). So down we went stepping carefully (even sliding at times) and we made it to the beach in one piece (the climb back, incidentally, became a real physical exercise). But it was worth it! We had a fabulous day in the sun and I actually body surfed for the first time in years. It was a wonderful!

That evening we celebrated Cathy's birthday at the very popular Jake's Del Mar Restaurant, which overlooks the beach and has a fantastic view of a beautiful sunset. We had the sense to make reservations a day or two earlier. The food was top notch and the service by John was outstanding. Michael, who manages the establishment, went out of his way to make our visit one to remember. By the way the Calamari is to die for!.

Sunday we headed for Las Vegas and back to the reality of living in the desert.

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