Day 1 | The departure and the arrival

Rising at about 7.00am we finalised packing and made our way to the airport.

Qantas check in is now automated  but you after self check at a kiosk you still proceed to the usual counter to have your bags processed.  There were several staff kept very busy trying to assist the massive groups of non English speaking tourists (and us) as of course.  Our kiosk jammed and couldn't print our baggage tags so we were processed manually!  Still trying to see the saving in that process.

We watched a lot of movies on this flight. Angus got through four and Rosie five - O'Regan was the winner with five and a half movies and a couple of TV shows. The food and service on board was outstanding. Well done Qantas, good quantity and quality.

We landed at Los Angeles at about 6.00am and got through customs  in record time and even had a joke with the customs officer.  Making our way to the chaos that was the queue for the rental car shuttles to get a bus to the pick up point.  There were heaps of them and none of them seemed to be for the National. Eventually one did arrive and then it was a free for all with everyone cramming kids, bags, Nana's, goats, chickens etc on before the driver declared it was full with McKay still standing politely on the footpath - we grabbed him and squeezed him on.

From our previous experience we were dreading what the rental car was going to cost.  So at the last minute had decided to book National (rather than Alamo). Well what a difference - it cost exactly what we were quoted on line.  To say we were surprised was an understatement.

We selected the medium SUV class and were directed to the carpark where we could 'pick' our own.   We had three to choose from - a white one a black one or a silver one.  As we had no idea of these models we decided to try them all and sat in each one. After a sleep deprived decision we got the black one (Chevrolet Equinox).

We needed to get the sim-cards and food so proceeded through rush hour traffic to our familiar Glendale mall.  The freeways are still really rough although Angus found it interesting that they have done some asphalt overlays on the concrete decks.

Jesus served us in T-Mobile, which was nice. And in no time we were back linked to the ‘net'.  The food hall was vast and we choose to eat at Charlies Subs and shared a chilli cheese fries and a California Sub between us.

With a few hours to kill before we could check in we took a drive through the suburbs of Long Beach which looked really picturesque.  When it was time to check in we were greeted with a large room with two king beds and right by the pool, nice one.  We were very happy.

For dinner we decided on In-and-Out Burger as it was cheap and close. They only have four items on their menu which means they do them very well.   The burgers were home-made tasting (in a good way) with super non-greasy fries. We also stopped in to Vons supermarket to get some snacks and coffee for the room.

Shower after a long day and off to bed.  McKay was unimpressed with the short shower head.

Highlights of the day

McKay | The service on the flight, they gave you everything you needed.
O’Regan  | The Double-double burger at In-and-Out and the chilli cheese fries from Charlies.
Rosie  | How friendly and interested people are in helping, Charlies Chicken California sub was so delish.
Angus National’s car-rental, cost the same as the quote, who’d have guessed.