Day 1 – America, f*ck yeah!

Ready for takeoff

brb, America

– me, on Facebook

It’s the 25th September 2023, and for the first time in 20 years we’re taking time off.

Qantas flight QF15 is taking off from BNE and headed to LAX, and thanks to the assistance of family and friends and workmates, we’ll be on it.

The plan – five weeks of America, from Los Angeles to New York, with a dog show in Texas the penultimate destination.

Arriving at the airport early, we decided to splurge and bought dinner at the terminal. Figured if we’re going to be on holiday and be getting ripped off every step of the way then we may as well get started early! As expected the meals and drinks were incredibly expensive but surprisingly actually very good.

Shout out to Windmill & Co for a decent feed.

The airport can be lonely in the evenings, and we were one of the last flights to leave. Walking out to the terminal felt like the place was abandoned. Good news – it wasn’t! The plane was there, and they let us on it which was certainly a bit of a relief.

Safely on board, it was time to settle in for 14 hours of cramped conditions, the risk of deep vein thrombosis, and a sneaky bit of Farnsy to remind of us home…. just in case we got homesick less than 24 hours in to the trip.

Fourteen hours and at least three re-watches of “You’re The Voice” later, we’re over US soil! Inbound to LAX shows the utter enormity of the place. So much concrete, so many cars, and of course so many people.

I hilariously told Erin the tiny island we passed was Hawaii because that’s the sort of classic stitch ups I’m great at. Unfortunately her geography knowledge was slightly better than I’d anticipated and never fell for it which was such a missed opportunity 🙁

Once we were on the ground it was actually relatively straight forward… Off the plane, scanned the passport and took digital finger prints (just in case we committed any crimes, or got shot I guess?) and in we went.

Tried to sign up to Google Fi using the airport wifi, but for whatever reason it simply refused to allow an eSIM and instead wanted to post me a physical SIM. Here comes the pro tip for future travelers – sign up for a demo first. The demo allows you to download an eSIM, then you can convert the demo to a paid plan.

Being a late(ish) arrival, we headed straight to the motel. We opted for a taxi as at this stage I hadn’t got our mobile data working so getting an Uber was going to be a bit harder. Surprisingly few taxis around, which turns out is because Uber / Lyft / etc pretty much wiped out the taxi industry in Los Angeles.

The final surprise was just how early everything closes. Trying to find a feed at all of 8pm on a Monday and nothing except chain stores were open. So using my freshly minted mobile data it was time for our first meal in the US – and what better to start with than Chick-fil-A?


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