Thursday, April 21, 2011

Long Beach Grand Prix

Ray has a unique gift I jokingly call "the gift of receiving". People seem to bestow him with things or favors unattached with ulterior motives. Granted, being a DJ has allowed him to be sponsored by many companies but this is entirely different. Either his friends are extremely generous or he's a magnet for benevolence. A few weeks ago his Facebook status alerted his friends that he was trying to procure tickets to the Long Beach Grand Prix and within days they were in his hands. Just like that. 

It's been exactly ten years since I attended the LB Grand Prix and last time I barely enjoyed it in my altered state. This year I was completely sober and relished every single moment of it. The best thing about our relationship is that we are both anal retentive when it comes to time. (My Filipino family would beg to differ but I am intentionally late for family shindigs...actually, I'm late for work many times so let's just say I'm "selectively" anal retentive with time.) When Ray says we are leaving no later than 8:30 a.m. you can bet that we are in the car promptly at the appointed time. The mixture of giddiness and excitement was like Red Bull tainting our veins, propelling us forward as we practically skipped, then ran, through the gates of the Grand Prix. It was 9 a.m. and we made it right on time for the drifting practice. Despite the 70+ degree heat, chills and goosebumps marred our skin whenever the cars slid by. We looked and sounded like a pair of giggling idiots. He asked if I wanted to sit in the grandstands and I yelled, "Hellllllllllllllllll to the noooooooo!" I wanted to be as close to the track as possible experiencing the visceral vibrations and the tickling of my ear drums from the massive horsepower roaring by. Of course Ray, the show-off, had to remind me that it's nothing compared to sitting inside the car. He DJ'd for a drifting competition in China a few years ago and got to race in the passenger seat of a drift car. (Yes, I'm secretly rabid with jealousy.) 

Although I felt rejuvenated from the thrill of being there I still wasn't feeling well enough to lug my huge camera around in the heat. So with my handy-dandy iPhone I took pictures of the cars that got my juices flowin'. Ray and I have an ongoing debate (one of many) about modern cars vs. muscle cars. He would take a Porsche or Audi r8 any day whereas I would rather peal out in a souped-up 1965 Pontiac GTO. Recently, my 3-year-old Toyota Solara needed a brand-new transmission and to this day Ray suspects that it blew from my driving it like a race car. I haven't heard the end of it! "I'll tell you what, why don't you  just get a race car next time!" Forget the BMWs, Benz, Porsches, and Audis, these two beauties would make my hourlong commute to work totally worth it!

And Ray wished he won the lotto to make these his. 

I only like this because it's red!

 Number 1 on my Christmas wish list this year: his and hers bikes!

And his/hers race cars!

The insanely priced beer at the Grand Prix made it elusive.

People-watching in the LBC

Video compilation courtesy of Ray Belling. The finale is my favorite!