MiscNorth America

Coming to America

posted by Stu 0 comments


We got to Changi Airport in Singapore a few hrs early which for me is unusual, normally I’m there last minute rushing through security and legging it to the gate.
Anyway, we were there well in advance. It was the first time I had flown Japan Airlines (JAL) and I have to say – I was very impressed. The cabin crew were excellent (and gorgeous) It was actually a lot better than I had expected and I had video on demand so the flight didn’t drag so much, still, 9hrs is 9hrs whatever way you look at it. But not for Abi, she slept pretty much the entire flight.
We landed in Tokyo on time and it was raining heavy, so – rather than go into Tokyo Central I decided to head for a hotel where we could hopefully get a few hours before our next flight. Tokyo is ridiculously expensive and is much higher than even Western Standards, but I managed to negotiate a decent price and away we went. Last thing I remember was lying in bed thinking to myself how I wasn’t actually that tired. The next thing I remember is waking up at 2pm when the alarm went off.

The next flight to LAX was with American Airlines. As we taxied down the runway the pilot explained how there was a Tropical Storm over Southern Japan and we may feel a few bumps as we flew through the tail end of it.
He lied. It was horrific, the plane was being thrown around in such a way that I doubt there was anyone on the plane who had high hopes of getting off. It was like nothing I had ever experienced, I have absolutely no idea how the plane managed to stay airborne. The entire flight was on lockdown. It was awful, and whilst it wasn’t at its worse for the whole duration, out of the 12 hours the seatbelt sign was on for at least 10 of them. It was by far the worst flight I have ever taken.
Still, we landed in Los Angeles only a few minutes late.
Now, anyone who has been to America within the last 5 years will all know exactly what American Passport Control are like. In fact, if I thought of a word that described them I doubt the word ‘knobs’ would be far off. You know the deal; you get off a hefty flight only to be greeted with some arrogant, ignorant and obnoxious person who appears to hold you in contempt for daring to visit his country.
Well, the recession has clearly changed things, the fiscal Emergency in California has obviously made the American Passport control realize that tourism is not a dirty word – In fact it’s like getting something for nothing – You lay nothing out except for the beauty of your country and a tourist ploughs money into your economy. It’s a win win situation for any country.
This time I was greeted with smiles and “welcome back” short of reaching over and giving me a kiss he couldn’t have been more welcoming. I understand how exceptionally difficult that may be to appreciate but it is true.
Anyway, we got out of the airport, on the bus to the car hire (LAX car hire is all offsite, about a 10min connection) we got the car and headed straight for Denny’s in Inglewood – Priorities and all that 🙂

(The photo is at Death Valley – Ill update shortly)

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