After a 4am departure to get to the Adelaide airport in plenty of time so we got grouped seats, we arrived and loaded all our luggage. Some travelled lighter than others, and it was not necessarily gender specific. Thanks to those who came to see us off at the airport at the crack of dawn.
A short break in Auckland saw us entertained by a girl with a very high pitched voice, cracking jokes over the loudspeaker. Our plane was delayed but some of us just pulled up some floor and grabbed some zzz's.
The long haul was 11 hrs to Los Angeles, which was, as you'd expect, long. It was broken by the odd movie or four, some liquid beverages and actually really great food. We found a steward friend who brought us real champagne in real glasses, courtesy of business class. And he brought me some Toblerone chocolate.
We jumped on an already crowded shuttle bus and headed to the Radisson. From there we boarded a bus and headed to Downtown LA. Manhattan Pier to be exact, which had the most relaxed, safe, community vibe going on that you could imagine. There were copious amounts of bikes left on the pier; not one of them locked up.
We stopped for a coffee break and met some nice college graduates, Kate and Kristin, who told us about their current 10 month national service stint (essentially a domestic version of Peace Corps). They're part of a 300-strong team of young people who are assisting in such things as local environmental projects, disaster preparedness and relief, and tutoring in inner city schools. They are based on the West Coast and will also go to areas such as New Orleans.
We had some very tasty burritos and nachos for dinner down at the pier, at dirt cheap prices, and they were the most authentic version I have ever had.
Have an early flight tomorrow morning, to Raleigh, NC, via Chicago. We will meet our first hosts in NC which we are looking forward to. Hopefully we won't miss our shuttle in the morning.
So for those who haven't heard from us yet, this blog entry is evidence they let us into the US!