I landed in Los Angeles yesterday afternoon, way earlier than necessary. I figured I’d use my afternoon wisely and work in my room (at the Millennium Biltmore, which is lovely), but they wanted $10 per 24 hours for wi-fi. But, resourceful freelance journalist that I am, I noticed that the Central Public Library was right next door. Guess what? It has free wi-fi everywhere in the building. I found a table and set up for an hour of work, then saved a couple of web pages for working offline later. It was a slow connection, but it was free. Libraries FTW!
After taking a walk around downtown L.A., I returned to the Biltmore lobby for the lighting of the Christmas tree. There were carolers, cookies, and hot apple cider. I happened to stand next to a man who works in Texas governor Rick Perry’s office on automotive issues, among other things. We chatted for quite a while. Poor guy. If you ask me questions about new automotive technology, I’m going to tell you what I know. It takes longer than you’d think.
A couple hours later, I had an awful dinner of two oversized shrimp with the shells still on, feet and all. There was a yummy tomato sauce drizzled over the shrimp, but I defy you to get the meat out of the shells without making a tomato-sauce mess. Luckily, the bottle of Kirin was pint-plus sized, so that was really my dinner. Also luckily, the media breakfast at the show this morning was a full breakfast, with bacon and blintzes and the like. So it made up for my two big shrimp.
Bob Lutz just took his turn at the podium to open the show. He was a last-minute replacement for Fritz Henderson, who was head of GM until yesterday afternoon. It was an incredibly boring speech. Also, Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini, and Bentley pulled out of this year’s show, so I have a lot of time to myself this morning. I’ll go take pictures while everyone else is at the Chevy, VW, and Toyota conferences.