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Trip Start Sep 30, 2005
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"We're going to Disneyland!!!"
Well we made it to LAX with no further 'missed flight scares' to speak of. Although we were tired after a total of 33 hours traveling to get here, we were very very excited as it had really started to sink in just how close to home we were now. The excitement of nearly being home to see our families and friends was mixed with the excitement of getting to go to Disneyland together for the first time. Our next hurdle, so we thought, would be to get through the extreme security at LAX. Compared to walking through some of the security in the rest of the world, this could take a while.
Surprisingly, the security here got everyone through fairly quickly - other than the guy from Japan in front of us who apparently brought tens of thousands of dollars into the country to purchase a boat and sail it back to Japan with him. (this is as much as we could gather from the rather strong questioning of the customs worker at the counter ahead).
We moved right along and only need to pick up our checked luggage now before trying to hail a cab and make our way to our Hotel for some rest. We staggered our way towards the baggage claim seizing the first cart we could get our hands on to unload all of our carry on into. Up ahead we see the carrousel and baggage going round and round in ceremonious circles as if announcing their arrival.
Spotted easily, our two oversized backpacker packs come spiraling towards us. Unlike the pristine, black, streamlined luggage of all the other passengers, our packs looked as if we had packed a few African children in for the ride as there were bulging spots in every other location and both were so full it was surprising the seams held. Not only were our packs much more misshapen than any of the others. It was quite apparent that there was a definite layer of grime that had accumulated from the 14 countries we had been in. Let's just say they were no longer the shiny new color they had once been in the store.
As we walked up to pick up our oversized packs, we noticed a security guard with her trusty DRUG HOUND in tow. Coincidence? I think not. Just because our packs were nearly bursting in contents and just because they appeared to be polluting the very airport they were in and just because they are backpacker packs, does NOT mean that we have smuggled drugs into the country. I think this was a serious case of visual stereotyping, and if our packs had feelings they would have been very hurt. It's not their fault that they were lugged all over the world and are not quite the pristine condition of the other travelers and their leather luggage all lovely and locked up! Fortunately, the hound didn't seem to bat an eye as he passed our packs and better yet, he didn't sit down next to them which (I've been told) leads you to be placed in a small closed in room being...well...you figure it out.
Onward we move through the rest of the security and little check stops you need to make before feeling free and a little less paranoid once again. Out the large automatic doors we go to step outside LAX and onto North American soil for the first time in eight months.
We were 'greeted' with a very loud and very long HOOOOOOOONNNKKK! A yellow taxi cab driver was obviously infuriated with the vehicle in front of him. I took a quick look at the cabbie only to see him pleasantly provide the 'Double One-Finger Salute' to the driver ahead of him.
Trevor and I look at each other and chuckle, "Welcome to L.A." we think.
We were able to catch a shuttle bus/van with four other people who were headed in the same direction as us. The driver sped his way down the freeway and we arrived at the hotel that Trevor had booked online a week ago. No big plans ahead of us for the rest of the day...we just wanted to catch up on some much needed rest that was missed during our 33 or so hours of travel from South Africa.
Mickey Mouse will have to wait to see us until tomorrow.
Hugs and Love,
Dana and Trevor