I haven’t really had much spare time since arriving but I have finally managed to get a couple of posts done on the last few days adventures. So far it hasn’t been too much of a culture shock but there are certainly many differences such as with the gold old tipping and tax. Enjoy!
Prior to leaving I had a few problems with flights. The day before I left my flight from Brisbane to LA was delayed for about 6 hours due to maintenance having to be carried out. That meant I would have had 12 hours at Brisbane airport. No thank you! Luckily the travel agent went to put me on a later flight from Perth however, that was now full. So on the day I actually left I finally had my flights sorted and I ended up going through Sydney instead. As usual I found it difficult to leave home. I feel as though I live in transit and just get used to being home and then jet to the next place or back to Adelaide. Having said that I do really enjoy travelling to new places and constantly experiencing new things.
We left home around 7.30pm but not before saying goodbye to both Bruce (the dog) and Dad. Mum and I then drove to Perth. It was really wet and windy however, we still made good time. Upon arriving at the airport mum came in with me and I checked in. Of course there was only one person serving and we were stuck in line for quite a while. By the time I was checked in the plane was 5 minutes away from boarding. I then said bye to Mum which was again hard and boarded the plane. Luckily I didn’t have anyone sitting next to me. I tried to sleep most of the way and we had a strong tail wind so we were early however, due to Sydney’s curfew we could only circle and wait. I caught the bus to the next terminal, rechecked in, passed through security etc. and waited for the flight. The Delta plane was on time and chockas. They boarded us by zones which was a little weird as I hadn’t experienced it before but it made sense. It turns out that I was in row 56, second from the back. There was only one seat beside me with a girl about my age who was pleasant. The majority of the flight was bumpy but luckily there were few kids and I managed to sleep most of the way.
After a bit over 13 and a half hours we landed at LAX. Coming over LA was incredible. Mountains surround the city and the city itself kept going as far as the eye could see. I was expecting LAX to be an absolute nightmare but it was totally fine. I went straight through, had my visa checked, picked up my bag, had my visa checked for the second time and was then good to go. I had prebooked a shared ride to the hotel and just had to go out and find the stand which was a breeze. While waiting I met 3 other girls that were going on my contiki. We were all a day early and 2 of the girls were staying at a different hotel for the night and the other (Steph) was staying at mine in downtown little tokyo. I had booked a twin share for the night and it turns out that Steph was sharing my room. We were the last to be dropped off and it was quite an eye opener. There is no way I would want to be walking around there alone at night. Before arriving in LA I expected there to be a large homeless population but I never expected it to be so prevalent. Even writing this now I still cannot get over it. Our hotel was quite nice but we couldn’t check-in until 3pm and at that stage it was 9am. So we decided to drop our bags, get changed and go for a walk. It was 34oC outside and felt like 100. Good old Bunbury weather wasn’t too bad after all! We walked to find a sim card and then onto the Grand Central Markets. For $3.50 we got tacos which were so good. I actually had no idea what I was ordering as it was all in spanish. We then ventured back to the hotel and in the lobby we met an Irish girl that was doing a different contiki and had just arrived. There was still a few hours to kill so we decided to venture to Hollywood. We just caught the metro into Hollywood which was surprisingly easy and checked out the Walk of Fame, Sunset Boulevard, the Chinese Theatre and the Hollywood Sign. The Walk of Fame was packed and incredibly hot but very cool to see both the stars and everyone that was dressed in costume. And yes, while I remember the streets are all lined with palm trees. I didn’t really think much of Sunset Boulevard but we may have just been in the wrong part. The Hollywood Sign was really good too but we only saw it from a distance. We then headed back to the hotel but were followed for a few blocks by a really dodgy guy. We just picked up the pace and luckily we were in a group. The day had soon gone by and we had half an hour to check in and then meet the contiki group. All I wanted to do was shower and sleep. We met up with some of the group, grabbed pizza and called it a night.
Day 1 done…