Only 365 days to go (we went back in time on the first day)

It doesn’t take long for the scars of international plane travel to be ripped asunder once again.  The repressed memories resurface the moment you glimpse the economy seats you will be futilely attempting to sleep in overnight (or overday if you’re going back in time over the date line).

The Air Pacific flight was as good as any other, half the price, plus Qantas frequent flyer points and use of the Qantas lounge.  There is a more relaxing mood on the plane as well, apart from when the stewardess snapped at a woman looking at photos on her camera during the safety demonstration.

Sarah had a cute little tyke old enough to know better kicking the back of her chair until she politely requested for him to desist, and of course the guy in front of me put his seat back as far as possible at the earliest opportunity, but up to LA airport everything was as smooth as could be.

Now I don’t know who runs LA airport but there are a few issues.  It took us two hours to clear immigration and collect our bags on a transit flight.  Yes, you have to clear immigration, pick up your bags, and carry them over to another guy where they are checked in again.  It’s insanity, especially when it takes 90 minutes standing in line to get through.  People in our line were 30 minutes away from missing connecting flights while one immigration official took literally 20 minutes to assess a family of four.  Everyone gets their fingerprints scanned and a photo taken, but I assume this family’s home country didn’t have a visa waiver agreement with the US.  The official used about ten different stamps on their passports as though he was beating their documents into submission.  There were cheers when the family was let through.  Other people were in tears at the thought of missing their flight due to communist-style bueracracy gone mad.

While waiting in line you are played tourist propaganda about how great America is.  It seems to work on the yanks as when we landed and it was announced we were back in the US there were cheers and fist pumps all round.

In LA airport it really does feel like the bar staff are waiting for their big acting break.  Flying in to the smog-hole you see the stereotypical twisted spaghetti of freeways and beautiful mountains in the distance frosted with smog clouds.

The three hour layover in Nadi, Fiji was much more pleasant.  Getting off the plane you are serenaded by a ukulele band.  I think this would do wonders for the riots in London.  It would be much more difficult to be involved in a riot to the sound of a ukelele drifting across the charred landscape.  By the time we boarded the next flight three hours later I had started to change my mind and was contemplating visions of a riotous mob smashing tiny burning guitars.

LA does win the cool factor though with an electronics vending machine where you can pick up a camera, iPhone, sd cards – all your little geeky heart could desire.

Now we’re in an airport lounge with the backdrop of a TV political program.  If the host was an Autralian we would say that he was shouting but I think it’s just his normal voice.  It can’t have been fox because he made some very sensible points about the futility of the war in Afghanistan.

The contrast with Vancouver couldn’t be greater.  It took us 25 minutes to get from the plane to the free shuttle to the hotel.  It was around 30 seconds to get through immigration, must of that being taken up with chatting to the immigration official about Sarah’s family.

Canada is winning so far!


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