Wednesday, December 22, 2010

21/08/10 - 24/08/10 Los Angeles, The Return Home, and the Beginning of a New Adventure!

Woah, so I kinda forgot to write up this last bit of the blog for a solid FOUR MONTHS. My bad. Excuse me if my memory is slightly sketchy on the details.

So my last morning in New York began quite subdued. We got up, took our bags downstairs, and Peta and I parted ways. I jumped in the supershuttle, while she took a traditional New York Taxi to the train station. Before my shuttle headed to the airport, we had to pick up several other passengers, so I got one final tour around Manhattan, and then I was off on my way to JFK airport.

Of course I arrived at the airport about two hours before my flight left, so I killed time spotting aircraft, and eating a very tasteless and partially frozen sandwich from some newsagent. It could've been worse.

Then, it was boarding time, and for the first flight of my life, I was actually sitting *in front* of the wing! For some reason, I always seem to be seated in the very back quarter of an aircraft. The advantage to sitting in front of the wing is that the flight is generally smoother, and quieter too. Was the difference noticeable? Slightly. I'd say it is worthwhile if you get the chance to, but expect for a fair bit of your window view to be taken up by a stonking great big engine.

Delta Airlines Flight DL2863 New York (JFK) - Los Angeles
Aircraft: Boeing 757-200 N706TW
Class: Economy
Seat: 23F
Pushback: 1200
Arrival: 1443

The flight was fairly uneventful, I managed to score the only empty seat next to me on the plane, and I actually managed to get some decent sleep. I also watched "Ratatouille" on my iPhone. God bless Pixar. It was also a fairly clear day of flying, so I got to see some of the various landscapes below me. I saw the farmlands of Kansas, and even the Grand Canyon! All in all, a decent tour of continental USA... although it makes me wish I could've done it from the ground level...

After arriving back at LAX, I caught the shuttle to the Hilton LAX, where I'd spend my last night before heading back home to Australia. As soon as I checked in at the hotel, I had some dinner, as while it was only really 5pm in Los Angeles, I was still on Eastern time, so it was more like 8pm - dinner time.

After a delicious buffet dinner, I headed up to my room, and skyped with Emma for several hours. It was easily the best phonecall of the trip.

My room had a direct view of one of LAX's runways, and it was interesting that there was always at least 8 aircraft lined up for arrival. Clearly the air traffic control have this whole "landing planes" business down to an art form.

The next day, I went to Santa Monica, to kill time between checkout and my flight home. I was recommended this by one of the hotel staff, and I found Santa Monica to be very enjoyable. I had a look along the famous Santa Monica pier, which appeared in the film "Iron Man", among others. I also ate Churros. Churros are awesome.

I also saw a woman load her pet dashund into a cannon. Hillarious photos were taken and enjoyed by all, except for the dog.

After killing some more time looking around Santa Monica's outdoor mall, I caught the bus back to my hotel, and the airport shuttle to LAX.

And with that, my USA adventure was over. After passing through security, I was airside, and technically no longer in the United States of America. But does my travel blog end here? Hell no! I'm a plane geek!

Qantas flight QF12 Los Angeles - Sydney
Aircraft: Airbus A380-800 VH-OQE "Lawrence Hargrave"
Class: Economy
Seat: 80K
Pushback: 2228
Arrival: 0621

This was by far the best flight of my life. Excellent quality food, excellent seat, excellent entertainment. Pro tip: if you ever get to fly on the Qantas A380 (and even with its recent safety issues, I still highly recommend it), try and get either seat 80A or 80K. They are window seats, one row behind the Exit row. The beauty of the seat is that there is no seat in front of you, so you have unlimited legroom, a window to look out of, and nobody to have to push past if you need to get up to go to the bathroom. In other words: awesomesauce.

Unfortunately, this awesomesauce seat was slightly less awesomesauce for me, because I discovered that the recline was broken on it for this flight. They offered to switch me to another seat, but obviously the legroom trumped the recline.

Seeing as this flight took off late at night, I actually managed to get quite a decent rest. Although I did watch a few movies when I was awake("Alice in Wonderland", "Forrest Gump" and "New York, I Love You").

After a tasty breakfast, we were descending into Sydney.

The rest of my trip was essentially getting waived through customs, patting a very friendly sniffer dog, and another flight to Brisbane, but I won't bore you with those details.

The one thing that I will say though, is that there is no better feeling in the world than meeting your loved ones at the airport after a long trip abroad. It felt great to be home.




So in roughly 20 hours, I will be off on my next jet-setting adventure. This time, I'm off to New Caledonia with Emma and her family for a tropical Christmas Vacation. I can't wait. It should be awesome! Now if only I could learn to speak French in less than 20 hours... Surely there's an iPhone app for that...

Up Next: New Caledonia!

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