LA Baby!!

Trip Start Oct 04, 2004
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of United States  , California
Tuesday, October 5, 2004

Call it fate i suppose but the 'lovely' check out guy thought we would be best seated next to a 10 day old baby, not a good start at all. We took off at about 16:15 with an 11.5 hour flight and 8 hours time difference, we were aiming to arrive at Los Angeles at about 9/10pm. We weren't quite sure, but our pilot for the day thought it best to take us the scenic route, instead of flying direct to LA over the Atlantic, flying North over Scotland, the Greenland, Canada and then South to LA? We did see some nice icebergs though!

All in all it wasn't a bad flight, the food was OK, not nearly enough for my appetite, the air hostesses were pleasing to the eye, and we did get as much free champagne as we wanted. Air new Zealand could thin about the choice of films though. We had to endure Harry Potter, Around the World in 80 days and some awful war time drama! Thank goodness for the gameboy!

Unlike most cities, when you fly in to LA you know about it, its so big. You start seeing the city out of the plane window about 30 mins before you touch down; they actually say that LA is 9 cities rolled into one, which is believable when you see it. It was reassuring to see the golden M of Macdonalds glowing on 'nearly' every corner! How many times we will be frequenting that restaurant in the following month is to be seen!

Customs was a big wake up call. As you can imagine since 9/11 America has some what tightened up on security. so instead of the usual questions, they now take your fingerprints electronically and have your photo taken. Standing there in front of the camera was a bit nerve racking, i felt a bit like Hugh Grant on his infamous Sunset Boulevard night, just with the knowledge that my photo wont be on the front of the Sun the next morning!

All said and done, it didn't actually take to long, although seeing everyone in a uniform carrying a gun was a bit nerve racking. We made our way out of the terminal to be fronted by a WH Smith. Now i dint fly half the way around the world to see a WH smith!

We waited like most new travellers by the exit looking dumb founded and not knowing where to go or how to get there. Luckily we had booked our first night at a hostel downtown, where ever that may be, so jumped in the first moving vehicle with Downtown on it.

Our saviour came by the name of Jose from Mexico. Although a very nice man, he hadn't quite caught the concept of Basic English as we were having to tell him what to say when his manager was talking to him on his radio? But i'm sure he held a full US drivers license and was fully insured??!! I'll give him a bit of credit though, he did 'eventually' get us there, after driving round muttering to himself in Spanish for a good hour.

As i said we had a hostel booked for the first night, a delightful 1/2 star hostel in the middle of knowhere downtown. It was a bit weird to say the least sharing a room with 4 other strangers but i guess we would have to get used to this, our budget doesn't quite stretch to rooms at the Hilton every night! Feeling quite jet lagged but not tired, we decided to brave the streets and do a bit of walking around, if only to find some food.

After 30 mins, we came to the conclusion that we were in the middle of nowhere and ended up getting food from the first restaurant we walked past anyway. (A Chinese that Halle Berry eats in apparently?) Here we would encounter America's large food portions. Stupidly we both ordered a meal each to take away. Well i think we could have been both well fed on one portion, and have enough left to make the homeless guy in the corner happy! After trying and failing to eat rice with chopsticks we called it a night. We had been awake for about 30 hours and tomorrow we would be catching our first Amtrak train to San Fran.

Apologies for the lack of enteries, but america seems to have a distinct lack of internet cafes. Eventually i will get round to doing more enteries, but thats when we have time! For your infomation so far we have done LA, san Fran, Portland, Vancouver, Toronto, Niagra falls, NY, Washington,, New Orleans, Chicago, Las Vegas and driven from las Vegas to san Fran through the Death valley, so there will be stuff to read eventually.

keep the emails coming.
matt
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