So I arrived in LA at 6:35am local time & my next flight wasn't until 12:25pm, so almost 6 hrs to waste. My agent thought we would need time to go through passport control, security & customs etc and had warmed me that it could take up to a couple of hrs, and then of course I would need to get to the right terminal etc.
I had heard so many people say that passport control was intimidating and that the officers would be quite rude but I had a wonderful young lady who was so pleasant. I was then through to pick up my bag and off to customs which they just asked about the food I had declared on my card (Timtams for a couple of people who had heard about Tim Tam Slams) and some other NZ goodies that I was posting onto an American girl for a friend back home.
I then handed my suitcase over to the transfers desk and headed to the next terminal all by 7am, so could not believe the whole process only took 20 mins.
I found terminal 4 no problems, I had come from terminal 5, although I was not expecting the level of security for the domestic flights and had to ditch my starbucks hot chocolate and water (doh). Got through security and had to do the whole body scan thing. It was just after 7am and everyone seemed to be ina need for coffee - the queues (oops - I should say lines apparently) were amazing..............
Terminal 4 has no decent food choices at all & is so expensive. I did find a free access point to Facebook so I updated that at one point. The thing that drove me nuts was they constantly changed the fate number of the flight. At first it was 48B then 45 then 42B & then finally at 47A. I did however meet a wonderful couple from Austin Texas who were taking the same flight as me after being rescheduled off an earlier flight. It was fabulous to have someone to talk to. She was amazing, she was almost 65 and she is a Mechanical Engineering professor and she knew lots about Wellington as she was going to go to a conference there a few years ago but it didn't work out.
One thing that amazed me about LAX is all of the Spanish you hear. It is BEAUTIFUL, but what was really amazing was while waiting to be called to board the plane, I heard a familar sounding voice speaking Spanish.......I looked up in time to see Antonio Banderas & a 'minder' walking to a fate that was about to close. I imagine that the celebs sweep in at the last moment & take their seats in business/first class.
One of the worst things at LAX was about an hour in and I got the worst cramps in my legs. I could barely move and I managed to get myself to the cold tile flooring where I got my shoes off and just managed to stand still until it passed. I think people thought I was nuts.
The flight to Vegas was only about 50 mins long and in fact they didn't have time to serve the whole plane drinks. I managed to get a cat nap of about 20 mins in and it seemed to been enough to wake me up again.
Landing at Vegas was bumpy (due to the warm air currents I think). I went through the gate not sure where to get my bags but followed the signs which led to high speed trains.......thankfully they took me to the baggage claim area and to where Ian & Jessica where picking me up. I noticed Ian straight away and we got my bags and headed into town. I see now why they have bell boy services - the hotels here are huge and you end up walking through the middle of the casino to get to your rooms. Better to give the bags to the bellboys to bring up to your room. Only costs a couple of bucks in tips.
This is one of the entrances to my hotel at night.
So after getting settled, my room became a meeting point and at one point there was like 7 of us & 1 child. I had a hard time getting the right SIMCARD for my phone so I could make unlimited calls to the USA & landlines back in New Zealand as well as unlimited texting and data. I wish we had plans like this at home. I ended up having to buy a cheap phone ($17 - on top of plan) & swapped the SIM to my phone. Worked perfectly though and made it possible to call everyone I needed - especially when I got lost......LOL
Next time : First full day in Vegas and meeting some very special people who will always be in my heart.