Trip Start Mar 29, 1999
44Trip End Jun 18, 1999
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There were gradually more and more Americans as I got nearer the departure gate for the Auckland-LA leg. The nice lady at United Airlines managed to get me 'exit row' seats on one of the flights, which meant more leg room. The only drawback is that I have to help out in an emergency. If we happened to have a crash landing and I didn't help save grannies and children, I wonder what they would do to me?
I had a pretty decent window seat when I boarded the plane and then some woman offered me a swap. "Go up front", she suggested, "lots of leg room!" Leg room - can't beat that, I thought. "Yeah sure", I replied, "thanks!", not knowing that I was to be seated about two feet from a solid wall with a big fat man on my right and a woman with a screaming baby on my left. My head was right up against the movie screen so I couldn't even watch the film. Good thing the flight was only 11 hours (!), during which I managed a maximum of two hours fitful sleep.
Millions of people visit Los Angeles every year. Somehow, most of today's allocation managed to get in the customs line ahead of me. The Americans are fairly organised though and the line proceeded at a steady pace. I had some time to kill before my connecting flight to Washington DC, so I went outside and looked at the smog. It is very noticeable - like a kitchen when you've overcooked some scones and you can't seem to get the smoke to go away.
I saw a 10-metre long limo pull up outside the airport and someone who was probably famous (but I didn't recognise) jumped out and was whisked away by bodyguards. Americans (here at least) have a tendancy to say "uh-huh" when you thank them, rather than "you're welcome".
LA from the sky is kinda ugly. The architecture is very 1970s. The huge sprawling mass of a city goes on forever, suburb after suburb.