"The traveler sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he has come to see." - G.K. Chesterton
Tuesday 12 September 2006 25 °C
I arrived in LAX today, following a long flight from Melbourne, via Auckland.
The added US-government requested security turned into an interesting spectacle. At Tullamarine Airport we were requested to ensure that we had no liquids, creams or gels in our carry on baggage, however our carry on luggage was never inspected - so I was without lipbalm for no reason at all! I was however, thrown into a "Border Security"-style scene whereby I was searched for explosives using that same contraption that the Border Security folk use to test for narcotics!
The flight to NZ was interesting as I was seated next to a Melbourne lass on her way to Chile for a five week trip. It was great to have some good conversaton for the short flight.
At Auckland security was stepped up and our carry on luggage was searched when we re-boarded the plane. My empty drink bottle was confiscated, as was my half empty (half full) drink bottle. The rest of the flight to LAX was okay - even if I didn't manage to get any sleep.
I arrived in LAX on the same day I departed, although 15 minutes earlier (time difference!). There was about an hour and a half wait to get through US Customs which was more painful than the long flight from Auckland! When I finally was called to be finger printed and photographed the Customs Officer was intrigued that I was going to México alone for two months!
I made it through customs without a drama and caught a courtesy shuttle bus to the Crowne Plaza Hotel at 5985 Century Boulevard, which is very near the airport.
Rooms at the Crowne Plaza start at US$189 including breakfast. The hotel is close to the bus terminal where you can get a ride Down Town. There is also a "Flyaway" bus service from the airport to Union station. Cost is US$3.00.
If I were wanting to see the sites in LA I wouldn't stay at this hotel as getting Downtown is not so simple without a car and the bus journey with the locals takes about 45 minutes (cost is US$1.75). However, if you need a hotel just for one night in between connections, I highly recommend the Crowne Plaza.
The food is excellent at the Crowne Plaza if you are interested in stereotypical rich-carbohydrate-fat-loaded American food. There's no bircher muesli here! However, the buffet breakfast is good as it has a whole array of fresh fruit and even porridge! Alternatively you can do what I saw most of the guests doing - loading up plate after plate of crispy fried bacon, sausages, greasy scrambled eggs and something that looked like a potato tortilla. The dinner menu is virtually the same type of food - rich & heavy, but excellent. I simply couldn't stomach such heavy food after the long Qantas flight. In addition, the heat and humidity removed my appetite fairly quickly.