Friday, July 10, 2009

Welcome To Land Of The Free!

....."oh, but before you step into the Home of the Brave, we need your right hand's four fingerprints, your right thumb, your left four finger prints and left thumb and kindly look into the camera and don't worry, Ma'am, the body cavity search won't hurt a bit."

Okay, there was no body cavity search, but I still couldn't help but feel a little violated as I walked, stamped passport in hand, away from US Customs to collect my bags. I suspect that I could have walked through in a nun's outfit and I would have watched closely. First lesson in America? Everyone is a criminal until your fingerprints prove otherwise!!

After two movies, three episodes of some un-funny american sitcoms and a little bit of friendly chatter to those around me, I managed to arrange my body into a comfortable enough position in order to commence what would end up being a relatively blissful slumber. Thanks to V Australia's inflight entertainment system and the sleeping tablets dispensed by that friendly Malaysian doctor I had prior to coming on this trip, the flight was quite stress-free. V Australia is a good airline with decent food, good facilities and a flight crew that look like they would far better suit a Victoria's Secret or Dolce & Gabbana catalogue. If only United Airlines would trade their old hostesses for new V-Australia-like upgraded versions... ho hum.

Thirteen hours and about twenty newly-mastered body contortions later, Los Angeles came into view through my Boeing 777's cabin window. I couldn't help but whistle "California Girls" by the Beach Boys - sadly though, there was no view of the sprawling Californian beaches and no red-bikini'd Pamela Anderson/David Hasslehoff-like lifeguards below - but there was an awesome view of the numerous six-lane highways that criss-cross around the city like you'd imagine a lego-land to have.

LAX is a mess of an airport. Its the Airport That Time Forgot. Not only it is mid-way through disorderly construction that looks never to be completed, it isn't the most welcoming of travel destinations. They shuffle you around with miltary-style precision, bark orders at you like Boot Camp Sargeants and you feel just about ready to collect your tangerine-orange jumpsuit and get placed in your cell. This all could also be due to the fact that I have just spent the last six months in the large airport-hubs of Asia only to be booted down decades-old hallways and across moving escalators that...well, dont move.

Complaining aside, the minute I arrived in Los Angeles, I was content to pretend (just for a moment) that I was in a 1992-type Hollywood movie. I couldn't help but giggle as I passed a "airport policeman" with Tom-Cruise-like aviation glasses and jodphurs a size too small for him. It was only the fact that I was busting to go to the bathroom that saved me from stopping, taking a photo and singing the "Magnum" theme to him as I passed by. After that, a couple of young teenage girls walked past in jean-shorts and caps and I had to stop myself from shouting in my best cheerleader voice "BE AGGRESSIVE, B-E AGGRESSIVE" but I didn't think i'd have the energy to finish it off with a high-kick so i left it.

Anyway, we are now just about to jump on a flight to New York and wooooooooohhh-oooooooooooooo I am excited. Excited, excited, excited!!! I will report back once we settle into New York. We have about six hours to wait before boarding the cruise ship, so there shall be another update in about ten hours.



  1. Great report. Keep em comin. Love Mum.

  2. As always, you have nailed it. We Americans all too often feel we are the utmost in modern and friendly, when sadly the exact opposite is true. And it isn't only to visitors that we are rude and unfriendly. Our arrogance and paranoia has made us universally unfriendly, even to our own. My friend just returned from a mini weekend vacation to Las Vegas. You'd think seeing as how Las Vegas's livelihood depends entirely on tourism, every worker in that city would be experts in world-class hospitality and friendliness. Not so at all. My friend said she had never, ever, experienced such infuriating rudeness - not to mention horrible food!

    I do hope New York treated you better, though I have my serious doubts about this. New Yorkers are not known for their friendliness ...