Monday, March 30, 2009

They let us in

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.

The GSE Team being seen off at the airport by some selection committee members

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.

Sleeping Beauty at Auckland Airport

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.

Outside our hotel

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.

Our new friends, Kate and Kristin

We took a walk along all the beachfront properties and Scott was snap happy, being the real estate dude he is. This community feel flowed through to immaculately kept gardens, no fences, backyards that were open front yards leading to public roads. BBQs, outdoor settings and the like were left out for all to admire and I couldn't fathom that someone wouldn't just come along and nick them. Such is the community feel that this mustn't happen much in this neighbourhood.

Manhattan Beach houses

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.

Tucking in to Mexican, Downtown LA-style

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!


Anonymous said...

Sounds great so far - hope you're having fun!


Love your beautiful kids (and U. Dayn) xxxooo

Anonymous said...

Margaret, who could have been so nasty as to take that dreadful picture of you, Tim, Scott and Corey dozing on the plane. as Kel is the only team member not in the picture, I can only assume that she must have been engaged in mortal combat with the bastard that took the photo.

Terrific to see that all is going well so far. Reading of your adventures makes me rmenisce about my own trip 9 years ago. Hope you continue to enjoy.


Peter Poulton