R.I.P. NINE ANGELS

Normally, I would be doing a post on travel quotes, what’s in my suitcase, or the next trip that I’m looking forward to going on.

I was even going to do a post on a special event that’s happening in a couple of days , God willing .

But not today.

Today, this post is about something that we all should be doing.

Staying close and holding on tight to those that we love because in the blink of an eye,they could be taken away from us.

Yesterday , January 26, would be a day that many of us may never forget.

8 people plus the helicopter pilot, were killed doing something that they loved .

Playing and coaching basketball .

9 people lost their lives.

3 of them were young girls in the prime of their lives, three of them were mothers , and three of them were fathers.

Two of them were Kobe Bryant and his 13 year old daughter, Gianna, who played basketball just like her father did.

They were going to the basketball camp, run by Kobe. The other people in the helicopter were coaches and two teamates of Gianna’s.

9 people who will never return to their loved ones.

So the Sports Diva is asking, no BEGGING peeps .

Hold on tightly to your relatives and friends because you just never know.

R.i.p Nine Angels

THE JET BLUE EXPERIENCE BACK TO NEW YORK

I had flown on Jet Blue last year from Las Vegas to JFK .

This time I’m in Los Angeles on my way back to JFK .

What a difference a year actually makes.

Like Spirit airlines, you pay for checked baggage .

It’s $30 on Jet Blue and I would advise doing it on line.

On Jet Blue near the end of your flight, the flight attendants actually pass out warm towels, just like they do on International flights .

I have always liked Jet Blue, and as they’re based here at JFK , I fly them as often as I can to earn those True Blue Miles, as long as the price is great.

This time I got to see two movies that I wanted to see , Crazy Rich Asians and Bohemian Rhapsody (both of them I would see again, by the way.)

The seats were nice and comfy but I didn’t get to sleep .

I was too busy watching both movies .

I enjoyed myself on this airline and if the price is good, I’m going to take Jet Blue again and again and earn my miles.

MEMORIES OF LOS ANGELES AND YES THEY DO HAVE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION THERE.

When I first moved to Los Angeles from Boston in 1996 courtesy of Delta Airlines , I really didn’t know that much about the city,

People would give me all sorts of advice.

One especially I heard from everyone including family members, “It’s LA, you NEED a car,”

Being from New York City , you don’t miss what you don’t have.

I didn’t need a car, and I didn’t drive.

After seeing those infamous LA freeways, I’m glad I didn’t drive and I sure wasn’t about to learn, either.

I lived in one of the South Bay cities of Los Angeles called Torrance , California for 10 years and I never drove.

I took public transportation, either a bus or a train.

People are surprised when you mention that the city has a subway system,a very good one called the Metro.

You can get a day pass, which with fees comes out to $9.

We don’t even have that on the New York City subways and our trains run 24 hours, something the Metro in Los Angeles doesn’t do.

When I first lived here, there was the Blue Line that went from Los Angeles to Long Beach, the Red Line from Los Angeles to West Hollywood , and the Green Line that can get you to a shuttle bus that will take you to LAX, Los Angeles International Airport .

Not only are these train lines still around, but while I was there recently , I discovered that there’s an extention of the Blue Line that goes from DTLA all the way to the beach city of Santa Monica .

These trains can get you to the major tourists spots in town.

Union Station is the main terminal so the red and the blue lines can get you there, even if you’re coming from Santa Monica .

Want to see the famous Chinese Grauman Theater with the stars footprints or the Hollywood Walk of Fame?

The red line will get you there.

Since you are on a 30 Plus Teams Tour , you KNOW you want see some basketball or hockey action at Staples Center .

The Blue Line will get you there,just get off at the Pico/Chick Hearn Station.

If there’s a game, you won’t get lost .

Just follow the crowd.

Hold onto to your TAP card.

That’s how you get anywhere on the Metro in town.

Some of them are reloadable and there are machines at every station to guide you.

As I rode the train from Long Beach back to my hostel in DTLA, it brought back a few memories .

Good memories of a place where you wouldn’t expect to see a subway .

WALKING AROUND THE HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME

While in Los Angeles since I had some time to kill before I checked into my hostel, I did what a lot of tourists who visit Los Angeles do.

I went to Hollywood and checked out not only Grauman’s Chinese Theater , I went to see how many stars I could see which make up the Hollywood Walk of Fame .

This happens to be number 127 on my bucket list , seeing as many stars as I can while walking on the Hollywood Walk of Fame .

So many stars and it just isn’t actors who have their name on the street .

Politicians , sports announcers (the Sports Diva just had to find the stars of Los Angeles announcing legends , Chick Hearn and Bob Miller, who broadcasted games for the Los Angeles Lakers and Kings . There’s even a subway station named for Chick Hearn in town. It’s where the Staples Center is, of course . ), singers and even cooking legends like Bobby Flay have their name on the sidewalk.

I don’t need to tell you that I lost count of how many stars that I counted.

But I sure had fun trying to do it.

A GREAT STAY AT THE FREEHAND HOTEL IN LOS ANGELES

The next part of my 30 Plus Teams Tour took me to the city that I called home for 10 years, Los Angeles, California .

I left LA in 2006, and this was the first time that I had been back since then.

(Ironically, I moved to Las Vegas after that.)

When I lived in town, I rarely went downtown .

The only time I got to what is now known DTLA or Downtown Los Angeles, was to go to, where else , Staples Center to see a Kings hockey game, and as I was a freelance hockey writer , to interview opposing hockey players .

This time, I looked on line and saw a place called The Freehand Hotel and Hostel .

If it sounds familiar , that’s because they have branches in New York City , Miami and Chicago .

I haven’t been to any of the others, but if they’re anything like the one in Los Angeles , I’m going to be staying there too, except for the New York City one.

This hostel looks NOTHING like a hostel.

It’s located in a former commercial building and you can see that as you go up to your room.

Even though it wasn’t that warm, they have a rooftop pool

The lobby here at the Freehand reminds me of the lobby of the Hostelling International in Boston , very spacious , and could be a living room in someone’s house .

It’s that big and spacious.

The hostel is very convenient to get to by public transportation if you are at Union Station.

(Yes, they have trains in Los Angeles and they’re very clean, but more about them in another post.)

You can also take a cab or Uber or Lyft to get there as well.

There’s restaurants in the place as well as a store .

How are the rooms?

Sorry,not sorry, my bed at home should be as comfy.

The beds have lighting , very good lighting at that , outlets, and padding so that you either don’t roll over or can store things on.

(My stuffed animals had a spot on the bed for themselves , don’t judge me , okay ? )

What I liked about this hostel , among other things , was not only how professional the staff was from the moment that I checked in, but you needed your key to get everywhere, even the lounge for eating,relaxing and to get to the laundry room .

In every room,there were lockers but not your average metal lockers thay you see in most hostels.

These lockers were made of wood.

Wow how classy is this place?!

You pay much more than you would for a regular type hostel, but hey, I’m from New York City , EVERYTHING is expensive , so I don’t mind paying a little bit more for great service and a great stay, which is exactly what I received at the Freehand Los Angeles .

You better believe , God willing , my next stay in the City of Angels is gonna be here.

Thank you, Freehand Los Angeles , ya did good!

HOME, WHAT DOES IT  MEAN  TO  YOU ? 

I  was reading  a blog post from November 30th  written by blogger Sam from Living and he was talking about  the  places where  he had lived and how his current place of residence  felt like  “home” to him.

It made me  think.

Just what is the definition  of  “home”?

No, not the definition  that’s  found in the dictionary.

What does that  word “home” actually  mean  to  you?

Is it  the place where you live now?

Or is it the place where you were born?

Like Sam, I  also have lived in  four places.

New York  City ,  Boston ,  Los  Angeles ,  and Las Vegas . 

I also lived in  Dayton , Ohio ,  but as I  only went there for a year of college, I  really  consider  it as a”layover”.

Looking  back on it now, and nothing  against  the  city of Dayton ,  but outside of a University  of  Dayton  Flyers  basketball  game where it seemed as though  the whole town showed up, there really  wasn’t  anything  to do . 

Even though  I  was born in “The City  That Never Sleeps  “, I really  don’t  consider  it home.

Don’t  get me wrong ,  there are more than  enough  things to do here and even  though  some of my family  members  are still here, nope, it’s  not “home”.

New York  City  is  just the  place that happens  to  be  on my birth certificate  and the place that I  live now.

I liked the  10 years that I  spent in Los Angeles  and the three years that I  lived in Las  Vegas ,  but these places  weren’t  home for me either.

I’m  an East Coast girl at heart and I was “homesick” when I lived on the West Coast . 

Now, when I say I was “homesick”, I  don’t  mean  for my family  and  friends . 

I meant that I  missed  the quicker pace of life that I experienced  and that I was used to back east.

I even missed the rudeness and the no nonsense, take no prisoners  attitude of the two cities  back east that I lived in, New York  City  and Boston . 

Home to me just isn’t  the  city that I happen to  live in, it’s  the city that I can be myself  and be comfortable  as well as safe, knowing  that when I go back to the place where I live, my “home” will always be there.

That’s  why  Boston  will always  be  home to me.

When New York  City  gets to be too much  and I need that personal  space to go to, I  have  one.

It’s  called Boston . 

Yes, I can definitely  do  a 30  Plus  Teams  Tour  there as well . 

Home means different  things to  everyone . 

What does home mean to you ? 

Drop me a line  in  the  comments  section  or  shoot  me an email  at sportsdiva63@gmail.com  and let me know.

Once again ,  thank you for liking  and  supporting  30 Plus  Teams  30  Plus  Dreams . 

A THANK YOU LETTER TO MALAYSIA AIRLINES .

Dear Malaysia  Airlines ,

Even  though  you  no longer  fly out of  the  United  States  or  Canada ,  I  miss you and wish  you  would  fly here again .

Or at  least  out of  JFK ,  because  it seems  like  every  airline  and their  mama  flies  out of  that  airport .

I don’t  think  that  I’m  the  only  one  who  feels  that  way .

I know  that  a lot  of  people  have  a  negative  opinion  of Malaysia  Airlines ,  but please  don’t  count  me  as one of  them .

I  cried  when  those  two  planes  went down all those  years ago .

I  thought  about  my ex coworkers  and other Malaysia  Airlines  Reservations  Sales  Agents  around the  world  who might  have  made reservations  for  all those  passengers  on both of those  planes.

I cried even  more.

For seven  years ,  your office  in El  Segundo ,  California ,  a city near  Los Angeles ,  was the  place that  paid  my rent  and allowed  me  to  go on  all those  30  Plus  Teams  Tours ,  even  though  I didn’t  call  them that name  then.

When I  lost  my  job  at Delta  Airlines ,  it was  your  airline  that accepted  me as an employee  even  though  I  knew NOTHING  about  your  airline  and I  didn’t  have a  clue where Malaysia  was ,  let alone ever hearing  about the  country  or locating  it on a map .

I quickly  learned  about  the  country ,  your customs ,  your food , (  which is wicked good )  and  how  friendly  the Malaysian  people  are .

Even though  they  do speak  English ,  I tried to  learn the basic  words  in the  native  language ,  Bahasa Malay.

I  never  had  a  passport  or even  traveled  to  Asia  until  that  day  that my supervisor  came up  to  me and told me  to get one  asap “because  you’re  going  to  Kuala  Lumpur  for training . ”

Thank you ,  Malaysia  Airlines  for getting  to ride on your  planes and experiencing  the cabin  crew that was  voted the best in the  world  at that time  and what it  means  to  to take  a  long haul  flight.

Los Angeles  to KL  with  a  stop in  Taipei ,  Taiwan  18 hours.

Yikes ! !

But I  did get three meals  and  free drinks ,  not to mention  those  hot scented  towels  that were passed   around by the  flight  attendants .

I  think I  can get used to  this .

Thank you  for  not  only  my first  visit  to  KL  but for the  many other  visits  to  Penang, Singapore ,  Brisbane ,  Sydney and  even London  that I  took between  the years  of 2000-2007.

Our office  was  really  diversified ,  even way before  that was fashionable .

There were people  of all  races, religions ,  and ethnicities

working  in  the  office ,  and I’m  not  going  to  lie.

We got along  better  than  any job that  I  ever  worked  at.

Maybe  we  reflecting  the values of  the  country  even  though  we were in the  United  States   or maybe  because  by and large we enjoyed doing  what  we were paid  to  do .

Now  that  I’m  retired ,  I  will  never  forget  the  happy  and sad times  working at Malaysia  Airlines .

I thank  you  for  allowing  me  to  work  for  what  I  will always  consider  to be  the  best  company  and job that  I  ever  had .

TERIMAH  KASI ,  MALAYSIA  AIRLINES !

Sincerely ,

Joanie  from your Los Angeles  office

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