The good news of today was that the traveling was glitch free (thankfully). Stephen landed at Heathrow at 7am and still had time to kill in the lounge before his flight to LA at 9:40am. It left on time. As I have yet to see Stephen I am assuming it landed on time as well. I left the London flat around 8am and did my usual travel to Heathrow – taxi to Paddington station and Heathrow Express to airport. It really is an effective and efficient way to do it. Heathrow Express is not cheap but for the convenience of only 15 minutes it is worth it.
I was on Virgin to LA and so while Stephen and I overlapped at the airport for about an hour, I did not see him at all as we were in different terminals. I managed to have some breakfast in the lounge and then had some time to do a little work before my flight started boarding. We actually pushed back 10 minutes early from the gate which is unheard of leaving out of Heathrow.
The flight over was pretty uneventful. It is an 11 hour flight and you just fly into daylight the whole way. We left at 11:30 and arrived at 2:30. But during that time managed to cross 8 time zones. That did start me thinking about how long you could fly for in the daylight before you caught up to night again. From my rough calcs I reckon you could fly for 44 hours going east all the time (roughly) and stay in daylight.
And that point demonstrates the tediousness of flying an 11 hour day time flight. I watched 1 movie while they served lunch (Parker – which I have been wanting to watch for some time) and then another one after lunch (Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Last Stand). I had to watch Arnie as I was (of course) heading to California. What you may not know is that he is now 65. And as action movies go it, it was similar to them all. Quite surprised he was still up for it. Though I believe the movie bombed at the Box Office. During the 2nd movie they offered Haagen Dazs ice cream (especially mentioned for you Paul). Glad I hadn’t fallen asleep like the best of the cabin.
After that I thought I better get to sleep (peer pressure as everyone else was). I managed 1 hour and was wide awake again. I don’t have Paul’s ability to sleep on a plane regardless of what time it is. Listened to a lecture on my iPhone and then settled in for another movie – Nicolas Cage in Stolen. And when that was finishing they served us afternoon tea of scones and clotted cream. And we still had 1 hour 30 before landing. I managed to sneak in a TV episode and some games on the iPad before landing.
We landed 30 minutes early at 2:30pm. At 2:57pm I was standing outside on the curb waiting for the courtesy bus to take me to the Hertz counter. That must be some sort of record to get through USA passport control & customs in that time. My parents flew in yesterday and it took them 2 hours. Stephen flew in ahead of me and it took him 1 hour 30 minutes. I need to school them in the art of quick airport exits. How the times have changed. You used to learn from your parents and now you have teach them. What is becoming of this world.
Bus trip to Hertz almost took longer than the time to exit the terminal. But when I got to Hertz I was reminded of why I love American service (and why I use Hertz internationally even if they are more expensive). My name was on the board with my bay number. And that was right next to the drop off point. And the keys were in the ignition. Just put the suitcase in the trunk (must get that right as I am in the USA now) and off you go. Only small glitch, no GPS in the car. But I knew that and so this morning before I left the flat I printed off Google instructions (in written form) as to how to find the hotel.
Now that isn’t a recommended to do for first time visitors (or any time visitors) to the USA. I must have had a brain freeze moment. Driving in LA, on the wrong side, with no passenger to help, in rush hour (it seems to be rush hour all the time here given the quantity of cars), from the airport to unknown hotel location about 40 miles away with only written instructions. Another small problem, I did the instructions from the airport terminal and not the Hertz location. And when I drove out of the lot with my big American Yank Tank Ford Taurus I realised I had no idea of how to get onto the first motorway (I105E). I drove down the road then back up again then eventually just went onto another motorway and was hoping for the best and one exit later I see signs for I105E. Stroke of luck and so back on the written instructions again. Relatively easy changes of motorways especially since the traffic was very slow moving at points. CHIPS did go past me at one stage as well – even looked like them. Only other glitch came when I exited the motorway and missed the first turn. Figured it out about a mile down the road, did a U-turn and found the correct turn.
None of my family could believe I could drive here from the airport without a GPS. Just proves how reliant we have become on technology. 10 years ago you wouldn’t have thought there was any other way except following a map. I was one step up on that in that I had Google instructions at least. We are all staying at the same hotel (Residence Inn Marriott). I will post a link tomorrow when I have more energy to find it. Checked in, located my parents and one sister, had some coffee, met some of them back for dinner (and saw most of the rest of family – still haven’t seen brother yet though he is around) and now back typing blog. It is 9:08pm and I can hardly keep my eyes open anymore. Not sure how Stephen is doing as he is at an Imagine Dragons concert somewhere in LA. I haven’t seen him yet. The concert finishes at 11pm. I won’t see him tonight – my eyelids tell me that.
Oh – forgot about photos – first one is of Las Vegas from the air (other side of plane could see Grand Canyon – note to self to sit on LHS of plane next time when flying into LA from London) and second is on final approach coming into LA after I heard loud clonking noise below me like the wheels has fallen off. Thought it was going to be my last photo opportunity. Hopefully clear enough photo that you can see how unclear LA is (smog). (Excuse any typos/missing words … too tired to read it before posting it …..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz