Friday, 15 June 2012

Day 34 - Highs and lows, UK to LA - June 3rd

Well, a quick snack of the last of my delicious red cherry corner yoghurts and a mini pork pie and we loaded up the car, said our thanks and farewells to Dave and & Sue who have been such fantastic hosts (will they ever come to NZ, so that we can repay their kindnesses?) and off at about 8:15am.
Well, we certainly picked  a good day to leave as the weather reverted to the UK summer’s worst, with rain and even surface flooding en route to the M1.  With the Queen’s Jubilee on the Thames likely to attract thousands to central London, we thought it better to set off early enough to give us a massive safety margin.
Once again, we managed a Costa coffee, at one of the motorway service areas before attacking the infamous M25, the London outer motorway, with a reputation of often being the largest car park in the country.  Fortunately, today, it was running fine and we were well ahead of schedule, so we diverted to Staines town centre.  It was rather chilly and there was nothing much to get excited about, so we headed for the car establishment, having filled up with fuel at the petrol station next door.   We used a total of 117 litres of fuel and covered exactly 1100 miles in the 1200cc Vauxhall Corsa.  A bit gutless if trying to overtake on the motorway, but adequate for our needs.
SixT took us straight to the terminal and once again, check in was a breeze, even though we were quite early. For lunch, we settled on another pizza and pasta establishment and much to my surprise, this turned out to be the second best pasta of the trip, accompanied by a Magner’s cider!  Probably my last for a few days.
Although we were late taking off, (many flights were disrupted due to having to avoid flying over the Thames) our seats were comfortable and spacious.  The 777 layout for Premium Economy with Air NZ seems to work very well, with Air NZ’s entertainment system being the best of the three airlines of the trip.  At least it is active as soon as you board, nor do they take your headphones away an hour before landing.  Other airlines take note.
The food was excellent and yes, clotted cream for the scone!  My lamb shank with minted yoghurt was very tasty indeed and Paula’s chicken curry was also pretty good.  I know, as I had most of it...
We arrived at LA on time, even a bit early, at 7:20pm to find that the arrivals hall was so packed, that we were herded into a side room until the queues had eased.  By the time we had gone through the usual LA hassle of eye scans, thumb print scans and both hand scans, then queued to get past the arrivals scanner, we had just missed the 8:40pm Disneyland coach by 5 minutes, though as we had no idea what times they ran, other than once per hour, we just had to sit and wait. After half an hour of this and it was getting distinctly cooler, Paula was totally disenchanted with LA and wanted to fly straight home, vowing that she really hated LA.   I can't say as I blame her.
The coach arrived at 9.40.  Relief.  I have been to LA many times now, but from terminal 1 or 2, the coach took no less than 40 minutes to get as far as terminal 7.  The Sunday night traffic was unreal.  Whether this was normal for a Sunday in early June, or the beginning of some school holidays, we have no idea.  For those unfamiliar with the terminals, it is no more than a cluster of buildings in basically a U shape.  Terminals 1 and 2 are of course at one end of the U and therefore 7 is at the other end, a matter of about 1 km at the most.
We finally made it to the Anaheim Howard Johnsons at 11pm and thankfully, they had heeded our request for a room away from the noisy freeway and by 11:15 we were well on the way to the land of nod.  Four hours from touchdown to bed.  Not good. It makes cruising all the more attractive, particularly if you terminate at your home city.  Somehow, I feel that Paula may not be visiting LA again...

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