Day 1 – Dublin to LAX

{Íde writing}

Ollie MursTaxi pickup 4.20am.  Dublin airport busy, Long queue for check-in, but seeing Olly Murs check in at the same time woke me up.

Flight to Heathrow delayed by 15 minutes. That meant 15 minutes of an already tight flight change from Aer Lingus in terminal 1 to BA in terminal 5.  1hr 35 minute lay-over is cutting it fine – I won’t do it in future.  You still have a security check in London, even though you haven’t left the secure area.  We walked briskly and walked up the escalators. Flight was just starting to board as we arrived.

It is the first long-haul flight I’ve been on that we didn’t need to fasten seat belt for turbulence once during the flight.  Smooth journey all the way.  Air hostesses were great. A dinner was provided an hour after take-off. Chicken with honey and mustard. Typical airplane food.   Getting dinner at 11am Irish time was odd.  Next meal was an hour before landing. It was a sandwich. I have no idea what was in it! Tasted ok, but then I was hungry. It is 8pm Irish time. I’ve had a small airplane dinner, fruit pastilles and some juice since 4.20am, I’d eat anything!  Am I dreaming that the food was better and more abundant on my last similar trip in 2008?  Oh well, at least they didn’t give us fruit that would have to be declared at customs!!

So we land at LAX (Los Angeles at 1pm local time, 9pm Irish time). More queuing.  Custom control.  They want full address of the hotel. My booking details are on my phone. “STRICTLY no use of cell devices allowed in this area”.  GREAT! Anyway, they accept mine as LAX Airport hotel. Guy cuts me some slack because he knows it by the name.  Nothing to declare except the fruit pastilles I bought on the flight, because I forgot to buy lollipops.  Reminder to all! Always buy lollipops for flights. Have one for take-off and landing to ease the ear-popping.  Always have spare ones for two reasons; 1. In case you don’t get fed enough on the plane. 2.  If there is a screaming kid on board, you can offer them a lollipop to try to keep them quiet!

The other odd thing about LAX is that even if you are connecting to another flight, you must collect your bags. So you can’t check your bags through for the onward flight.  I find that really strange. Anyway, didn’t affect us, just an observation.

Hotel – Sheraton Gateway Hotel, LAX Airport.

Only 4 people in the queue before me, but we are waiting a good 10 minutes. More form filling. However, all that said, the staff are very friendly and helpful. We get a room on the 14th floor. It provides a full view … of the airport.  It’s a four star hotel and other than the wait at check-in it deserves the rating.  Very good free wi-fi connection. Although they tell you at check-in to just accept the daily charge but they will credit it back.  I have noticed it pending on my Visa bill and will need to check it later.  The hotel has internet access in the lobby which allows guests to print boarding passes etc. (Mine was for the car booking).  We didn’t eat at the hotel so can’t comment on that.

We are wide awake even though it is now nearly midnight in Ireland and we have been up since 4am.  We go for a walk to enquire about buying a SIM card or a phone or a GPS system.  I’ll leave all that logistics to Pádraig to fill you in on.

We eventually sit down for something to eat in a diner called Chalet Edelweiss, Sepulveda Blvd. Swiss food, quick service. Sells Erdinger.  Food was nice, but not memorable. In other words, I can’t remember what I had now that it is a day later.

We get back to the hotel at about 8.30pm LA time. Watch a bit of TV and get to sleep.

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