Friday, August 17, 2012


As some of you already know by now, I have arrived!

Dad was kind enough to drop me off at Heathrow with the usual full English breakfast and warnings about avoiding food poisoning, etc. Checkin, security and boarding were all relatively painless and we left the ground only about 15 minutes late (which we did catch up during the 9.5hr trip across the North Atlantic).

Every time I leave the UK, it is grey and depressing, and my destination always has excellent soaring weather.

Nearly there! During my first flight, I was accompanied next to me by a lovely American woman called Judy, who had been in the UK visiting her daughter and grandchild and had enjoyed the Olympics thoroughly. She let me read her Telegraph but we both bemoaned the lack of broadsheet-wielding space in economy.

After about 9.5 hours, we landed in Atlanta, which is a huge airport dominated by Delta aircraft (actually, I have just found out, the busiest airport in the world) and, being short of things to do rather than time to get to the connecting flight, I eschewed the travellators and walked all the way from my arrival terminal (G?) to my departure one (A). At some point I picked up my baggage, just to hand it to someone else who put it on a different conveyor belt which magically sorts it into the correct aircraft.

As can be seen above, Atlanta chose to decorate one of their underground walkways (just one, mind you) with a complete history of the town which actually made interesting reading.

B737s each direction. The cross-atlantic one seemed overall newer but suffered from oil all over one of the flaps!

Memory and reaction game in the terminal. Excellent idea!

My 4-hour flight from Atlanta to LAX was spent mostly sleeping, as by this time it was late evening in the UK, and the in-flight entertainment was not free! But entertainment can always be found out the window - here are some thunderstorms over Texas.

On this flight I was accompanied by a Nikki who had a very interesting job in the police force of LA county. She was great company and insisted that I had half of her hot-dog which she couldn't finish!

Descending into the Los Angeles valley. The metropolitan area here is simply gigantic and we were flying over this sort of scene for 20 minutes!

Upon arrival, security etc were as painless as ever (although I did get microwaved, using the machine which was originally feared for showing complete frontal nudity, but now just shows a happy cartoon characted with the location of any suspicious items. Or is that just what my internal structure looks like?!

I mnaged to get sorted with a SIM card in LAX and then took the airport shuttle ($15) to Santa Monica, where I am staying in the Hostelling International here. It would have made more sense to use the public transport ($1) but you can't arrive and instantly know everything! I got to the hostel, had a shower and fell straight asleep.

More info to follow tomorrow - I'm drifting off already!
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