Arrived in the City of Freeways

Trip Start Dec 17, 2007
Trip End Jan 26, 2008

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Flag of United States  , California
Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Given that I've had such an amazing start to my trip, I've really developed high expectations of Central America.  I hope that I've made the right decision to bypass North America/ SE Asia and spend my time in Central on an organised tour.  It is 11pm here and I'm overcoming jet lag - before having to wake up at 6am tomorrow morning for my flight to Cancun, Mexico.

I'm writing this message from Pablo's house in Palmdale, Los Angeles, located about 50 minutes from LAX Airport.  I love the suburbia feel of Los Angeles suburbs and so wrapped to be able to experience it.

Cathay Pacific's flight from Singapore to Hong Kong was excellent... I scored an emergency seat with heaps of leg room, easy access to the rest room, and an outstanding and friendly hostess who was absolutely immaculate in every respect.  She was friendly and spoke to me at some length about my impending trip.  The service was absolutely fantastic with substantial meals - I had rice and chicken on this leg.

I had an hour in Hong Kong's modern airport before transferring to flight CX882 to Los Angeles.  I always dread long haul flights and had to psych myself up to this one and take each hour of the 12 hour flight one at a time!  The service on this flight was ok, and I empathsise with the flight attendants who have to do these long flights several times a week.  I sat a window seat in row 56 and kind of enjoyed this.  For four hours of the flight, I was up the back drinking bourbon and cokes with Rodney from Nashville but now living in the Phillipines, operating his own business.  Interesting person, and another contact I have in SE Asia.

I landed into Los Angeles at 12.15pm local time and spent 1.5 hours in immigration and customs before heading out into the huge airport space of LAX.  I was very excited at meeting up with Pablo who I met in Rome last year.  At first, I couldn't see Pablo because he went to the Tom Bradley Terminal where Cathay Pacific usually lands... my flight landed in terminal 1, the American Airlines drop off point so had the potential to confuse anyone including Pablo.  Luckily, after 20 minutes of looking for Pablo and discussing my dilemma with airport staff, I decided to head to the Tom Bradley Terminal where I spotted Pablo by luck... he didn't see me, but I saw him!  I can't begin to say how happy I was to see a friendly face in such a busy airport.  Even better, was a local to show me around. 

From the airport, our first stop was Hollywood.   The freeways and traffic is my lasting impression of LA... lots and lots of it and up to 6 lane freeways.  A sight within itself and so relieved to have Pablo do the driving.

Pablo and I spent some time checking out Venice Beach with its interesting characters, Santa Monica Blvd and Hollywood Blvds  including the Chinese Theatre before having my first meal in the USA... burger and chips at a fairly decent looking restaurant along Hollywood Blvd.  The servings are huge and the prices low.

After Hollywood, we headed to Santa Barbara, 2 hours north of Los Angeles on the 101 where I checked out a very impressive Courthouse, El Presidio (early settlement government buildings) and main strip.  Santa Barbara is a very attractive, well set out and exclusive Spanish oriented city.  The street names are uniquely Spanish... great opportunity to practise my pronounciation with Pablo speaking fluent Spanish!  It is interesting to hear that 50% of Californians speak Spanish... the state's second language.

More about LA tomorrow... I'll now try to upload some photos:)
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pabloandrade on

Hollywood Postcards?
By any chance, do you still have those postcards you bought in Hollywood??? I've heard 'What goes on in Vegas stays in Vegas,' but I guess you can say the same about Hollywood postcards! You left them in my van along with a pack of gum inside a small plastic bag. Well, try not to forget anything else on your trip :)

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