Tuesday, June 9, 2009

This was supposed to go up two days ago...

Sunday 7 June 2009

So apparently it's 1.20 pm in LA, but after crossing the Date Line for the first time & flying through the night I feel like I usually did after a 12 hour night shift (which this flight is in some ways – admittedly there is no molten iron, dust or things to organise & the food is much better) – mostly awake, but slightly seedy. The little monitor in the back of the seat says “Time to Destination – 1:04” - the States are getting closer!

The last two weeks have been nice & relaxing staying at home in Oamaru sorting out last minute details. Apart from being chilly, the weather was generally great (although the little bit of snow down to sea level was quite exciting - & a bit early in May). Twas great to spend time with Mum, Dad & Adele before running away to the other side of the world. Saturday was another pack up before we drove up to Christchurch & the last dinner (& bottle of wine) together, before flying up to Auckland on Sunday morning. In trying to use my new cash card I managed to get it swallowed & destroyed by the ATM – which very much limited my ability to get cash around the world. Nevermind, thankfully National Bank has a few branches open on Sundays & I was able to make a withdrawl by filling in a piece of paper – how quaint - & a new card is on the way to meet me. Big thanks for Andrew & Kate for ferrying me to & from the airport, storing my stuff for a couple of weeks, feeding me & seeing me off.

0:51 – closer still.

Why have I not discovered upgrades & the Koru lounge before? I should travel more. From the huge baggage allowance (with a bike & a full pack it turns out I need it), no queues for customs, sitting in a lounge for two hours & not having to eat fast food, to great food & service, & the chance to get something resembling a sleep (I think I may have managed five or six hours – usually it's close to nothing) it's been great. Most importantly, however, were the couple of episodes of The Big Bang Theory – Season 2 of course hasn't screened in NZ yet (of course according to Brian, the Prime Minister of NZ, The Matrix has just come out on video). Also got a bit of a refresher of Season 2 of Conchords – may have been funnier than the first time.

Five minutes until descent...

Not long until & can put my bike together, start riding some American trails & hopefully loose a bit of weight that I've put from not riding & eating too much in the last few weeks. But large American portions might do me in. Blinds up – funny, this side of the Pacific looks much the same.


Not super tired, so trying to do the “go to bed at the normal time” to get in to a routine. First sight of US land reminded me of General Melchett looking at the wrong side of a map of the frontline – a barren featureless expanse. Then LA started - & just kept on coming. Quite the opposite of flying in to Heathrow last year – grid patterened streets, flat ground & no greenery. Despite leaving an hour late, the flight landed on time, but we did have to wait on the taxiway for a little while. Got out of LAX easily & quite glad to recognise Bev & Chris (family friends that moved to San Diego eighteen years ago) as soon as I pushed the trolley around the corner.

I never get used to looking left to cross the road quickly & this time proved no different. I enjoyed the two hour drive south to SD & the chance to have people to chat to & catch up with & discuss differences between little NZ & life in California. As expected, everything is just much bigger (fourteen lanes of freeway, SUVs, suburban sprawl, a huge Marine base & so forth). Nice to get to the Turners' home & look out over SD, have dinner & play Boggle that was mercifully in some form of English – not Klingon. Time for a bed – must be fresh to put the bike together and start exploring (not necessarily related events) tomorrow. And try & get the wireless working.

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