Planes, trains and automobiles!

Trip Start Apr 06, 2010
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of United States  , California
Tuesday, June 29, 2010

We were down at Seattle train station the next morning at 8.30, ready for our train to LA. We umm'd and ah'd the day before about whether to get up really early and catch the england world cup game before embarking on our journey. Anyway, we decided not to as we were both pretty tired and it meant lugging all our things to a pub at 6 in the morning. Think we made the right decision though, we saw a guy with an england shirt on the bus on our way to the station who looked so pee'd off and needless to say he went on to tell us the score and that the game hadn't finished but he couldn't face watching anymore. Soo glad we didn't get up. With a bit of time to kill we found a starbucks for a coffee and croissant and stocked up on snacks in an asian supermarket in preparation for our 35 hour marathon on the Coast Starlight!

We got nice seats on the train...upper deck, loads of leg room, double window etc. Good job too considering how long we'd have to sit in them for. We didn't need to worry about this too much though as you could walk around as much as you liked and the train had an arcade, restaurant, cafe, bar etc. There was an observation car that was brilliant - floor to ceiling glass panels and seats facing out, and it felt awesome sitting in there having a beer and some prawn crackers literally watching the world go by. The first day on the train went quickly and gave us the perfect opportunity to catch up on the blog that we were so behind with. With this and a couple of hours of speed solitaire to keep us going, we fell asleep around midnight and we got about 5 hours sleep until we arrived at Sacramento, California at 5.30 in the morning just as the sun was coming up. Another strong coffee to keep us going and we were back on the train, now running alongside the Highway 101, the route we had driven only a few days previously.

The views from the train for the entire journey were amazing, ranging from lakes, mountains, forests, and rivers, to sand dunes and beaches. For one stretch of the journey in south California the train ran alongside the coast on a track perched on the cliff edge, and we could see dolphins, seals and surfers all without having to move from our seat. We arrived at Union Station in Los Angeles half an hour early at 8.30pm, jumped in a cab (didn't fancy walking around dark and deserted downtown L.A at this time of night with all our stuff) and headed for our japenese hotel in Little Tokyo. We tried to act casual as we were faced with the terrible news that we had been upgraded with no extra charge to a deluxe room because there had been a problem with our reservation. Bring on the king size bed, 50" flat screen TV, electronic toilet with a heated seat and more apps than an iPhone, a cup of japenese green tea and an episode of family guy. Not really missing the tent yet.

Our last morning in America was spent on Olvera street (L.A's oldest street lined with market stalls, cafes and original colonial buildings) and eating burritos from a mexican street cafe. After lunch we caught the bus to Venice where we had booked a night in a hostel right on the beach. From the bus we could just about make out the Hollywood Hills and wished we had a little bit more time here as it seemed much nicer than people suggested it would be. Like every place we had visited in the states, the people were very friendly towards us and couldn't have been more helpful when it came to kicking us off the bus at the right stop over an hour later and pointing us in the direction of our hostel. It was an overcast cloudy afternoon and unfortunately the stereotypical muscle beach was pretty much deserted apart from a few market stalls along the boardwalk. In true american style we had our last meal at Danny's Diner (could be the last meal for a long time where beef means beef, not horse). Even in the last couple of days it had hit us that we no longer have a car to carry the load and before we called it a night we tried our best to slim down the backpacks ready for our flight to Guatemala tomorrow.

We had to change buses a couple of times to get us to the airport the next morning, but it was worth it to pay $1.25 each rather than the $22 each that the hostel shuttle bus wanted. The first leg of the flight went pretty smoothly until we began to land in Dallas, which is where we had to take our connecting flight to Guatemala City. Hurricane Alex was beginning to stir up some really bad weather in this part of Texas, and we were held in the air for half an hour or so before we could land. This wouldn't normally be a problem, but we only had 50 minutes as it was to catch our connecting flight, and we were still in the air just 10 minutes before the next flight took off. Panic stations set in and we legged it off plane number 1 and sprinted through the terminal to find out that the next flight was from a different terminal altogether, reached by the slowest monorail transit in the world. Completely out of breathe, we reached our gate 5 minutes after scheduled departure time and were blessed with the news that the flight was an hour delayed and we would be going to Central America this afternoon after all.
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