Days 22 and 23: LA and home

Today is my last day in the US. It’s been a great trip, and it’s gone very quickly, and so I’m a bit sad to be leaving. However, today I’m driving into and through Los Angeles, and I can’t think of a better way to convince me to leave.

The drive from Ventura to Los Angeles goes along some very nice beachfront, including Malibu. Unfortunately, the view from the road isn’t very exciting, and I didn’t stop to take photos. But I can see why house prices around here might be astronomical.

The stick aisle at Monkeysports

The stick aisle at Monkeysports

Once past the beaches, I was onto the freeway system of Los Angeles, with my first destination a sports shop in Santa Ana that carries ice hockey gear. By Australian standards, this store was huge, with massive amounts of stock in every section. They even had a whole separate section for goalie gear (just to keep those strange people away from the rest of the customers, I think). Ice hockey gear in Australia is very expensive, and this store also had an end-of-season sale on, so I stocked up on quite a lot of gear – not as much as the Aussie guy the salesman said had been in a month or so ago, who bought $8,000 worth of gear, but still a fair bit. I then had to visit a nearby Target to get another bag to stuff it all in for the flight home.

The next stop on my tour of Los Angeles freeways and shopping malls was Best Buy. I had a small list of BluRays to buy, but thanks to sales tax and lack of discounts (compared with Amazon), it would have been no cheaper than buying them online. It was the same at a nearby Barnes & Noble; shopping in person is great for browsing, but in most cases they can’t compete with the prices from the online stores.

After a final tour of the freeway system, I arrived at LAX to drop off the car and check in for the flight home. At check in I found out that my flight had been delayed by half an hour; I suspected this might be caused by a delayed connecting Qantas flight from New York, which I later confirmed when I went online.

Clearing security took longer than I expected (as it always seems to), and I ended up being one of the last people to board my flight. They’d closed the top door of the A380, so I boarded downstairs and then had a tour of the bottom deck before ascending the rear stairs to the Premium Economy section at the rear of the top deck. I had decided that, if I was going to go to the trouble of picking a flight serviced by the A380, I may as well get the extra comfort of the next class up from economy. I’m pleased I did, because I was able to sleep quite well on the flight, even though the legrest wasn’t as good as the one in Jetstar’s StarClass, and didn’t do anything for someone of my height.

After leaving LAX half an hour late, I was watching the estimated arrival time the following morning when I saw the flight time remaining abruptly switch from 2 hours to 1 hour. The next change was our destination, now Sydney instead of Melbourne. I figured that we were being diverted because of fog in Melbourne, which is what my father had said had happened to this flight the day before. We landed in Sydney amid scattered showers, and ended up spending an hour and a half on the ground while they added fuel and waited for the fog to clear. I was sitting next to a helicopter pilot (who’d been doing simulator training in Florida), and we were able to bring up a weather briefing for pilots which he was then able to interpret for me; the report suggested that the earliest we’d get into Melbourne was about 10:30 am. We ended up touching down around 11 am.

It’s been a great trip, and I hope anyone who’s been following these braindumps has found them of some interest. There are a few other topics that I’ll write on following up on various things from my trip, so stay tuned if you’re interested. I don’t know how long I’ll keep updating this blog – it will depend on what else I have the energy to write about, I guess – but feel free to hang around to find out. ;-)

One Comment

  1. Andrew Heath says:

    Great stuff Tim. Thanks

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