At 3.30 am we left home in our on time taxi (man, that's early). We had managed a full two hours sleep but were all wide awake ready and excited.
We flew from Brisbane to Sydney (1,000 km by plane) and then transferred from the domestic to international terminals (5 km by bus but made to feel like 990km). We appeared to spiral around around the domestic terminal. In the end what took ages appeared to be (as the crow flys) a very short distance.
By the time we got through to the airside we had no time to browse all the duty free shops. After a moderately rushed transfer we boarded our flight to Los Angeles. Delta was great, the plane was full. We loved our crew, they were fantastic. The food was yum (nom nom nom). O'Regan slept for the first couple of hours then it was a non-stop movie-fest. McKay watched a few movies then slept at the end for a couple of hours. Angus slept just about the whole way, Rosie only slept for about two disjointed hours as O'Regan needed to advise every movie change.
We arrived at LAX at 6.35 am and without event proceeded through customs, everyone nice and polite, etc. Out we popped into LA, weather was warm and clear, and it was 8 am on a Saturday morning.
Then on our shuttle bus to Alamo car rental. We checked in and they even had our booking (another surprise). After she clicked this and that and showed us all the different options - said we could upgrade for only $99, wow yeah sure awesome. Then she processed our booking and handed me the receipt to sign a whopping $4,300 for our rental car - OMG what (we had anticipated $1,600). Yeah well that was an expensive misunderstanding. Oh right you meant $99 extra PER DAY plus all the other things added on. Oh I see (not really).
We said unfortunately we couldn't afford that (with the look of utter surprise on our face and also very very pale) and after a few more discounts and clicks she had reduced it to a much more acceptable price (we started to breath again) - (for the same car, or should I say small light truck). A massive Chevy Suburban like the FBI use.
Okay so the excitement of driving on the other side of the road in a rather large tank begins. Angus is an expert - with Rosie on one side of the car saying keep right and giving direction (with help from the GPS) and being generally supportive ("too close my side!!!!!!"). Problems include the rear view mirror being on the wrong side and turning round to reverse and banging his head on the window (like, three times).
We drove around and checked out various places in LA. It is absolutely laced with 8 lane super-highways. Loved it.
Now to find AT&T so we can get SIMs for our phones. We were on our way to find the hotel (for later) it was about 11am. OMG there it was in strip mall (carpark out the front and 100 little shops in a row). In we went thinking this was so fantastic, the guy says there are a couple of options Yipee, job done? Or so we thought. He then asked 'what phone?' Ah yes the iPhone 4 - no we don't do those you have to drive a short distance down the road to the main AT&T - alright not too hard. GPS on, off we go - we drive for ages it dosnt seem right - fiddle with the GPS - different destination - drive for ages again - still cant find it - so we try and go back to where we were - cant find it. Sigh, now we are very tired, traffic thickening up and decide to give up. 2 hours at least. The positive was the kids slept the whole way.
Something to eat and we check in to our hotel, Desert Palms, Anaheim - we have been upgraded (LOL we were wondering how much this 'upgrade' was going to cost). But this time it was nothing, excellent! Win to us!
Room is very spacious and the beds are soooo comfy (or is that just because we have only slept about four hours in the past two days). Might just have a quick nap. Bang, three hours later, drool on pillow. Now its 8.00pm, time for tea!
We decided to have a shower to wake up but it appeared to be broken. No problem with a quick call to reception and up comes someone to fix it. Yay.
We venture out on foot and decide to try the Cheesecake Factory (Penny works there in the Big Bang Theory). We can't believe its 10.00pm and the restaurant is packed. It didn't take long for us to be seated and feeding. Fantastic, yummy, service outstanding, best chocolate cake known to man.
After a quick stroll back to the hotel it was off to bed, at 1.00am. Ahhh finally sleep. Day 1 is done and it was epic.
Highlights of the day
O'Regan | Lots of yummy food.
Rosie | The hunky waiter saying "hi. I'm Hank, I'll be your waiter this evening" in a syrupy southern accent; being in LA.
Angus | The uncertainty of approaching a pay booth in the car and miraculously not
hitting anything and lining up with the window on the left.
McKay | The food and going to bed at last.