Well, this is it! After weeks and weeks of getting more excited by the minute, finally take-off at 12.15! I got through the Delta safety restriction area OK. They ask a lot of questions, so I'm pretty sure I'm safe on this plane. Duty free area in Terminal 2 leaves a bit to be desired - in other words not much choice in the Swatch watch department!
The guy next to me on the plane was a German chatterbox, the only time he shut up was when " Goldeneye " was on. That meant I got no sleep on the plane whatsoever. The plane touched down dead on time, but a plane was parked at our docking gate and we waited a while for it to leave, but its engines wouldn't start. In the end we docked at a national gate and were marched halfway across the airport for immigration and customs.
Getting to the hotel was no problem though, I was picked up by the hotel's shuttle bus, and arrived safe and sound at 16.30 LA time. I tried to ignore the inviting looking bed, and wrote a fax for Mum & Dad, had a shower (which helped) then I went into the fresh air for a walk. I'm sharing the room with an English girl (Catherine), she's going on a trek too, but not until Sunday. Anyway she pointed out the way to a small area with shops, which I walked round and then back to the hotel and sat watching television hoping I wouldn't fall asleep. Went for a sandwich with Cath at seven and at 19.30 met with the rest of the group.
I am going to have a great time!! There are 11 girls and two guys and the guide Linda. The majority are from Australia and New Zealand, two are from Switzerland and those we will meet today are from Germany. Linda took us to a bar and bought us a drink, I needed a sugar shock, so I was on the coke. We got our route and otherwise just chatted and got to know one another. I did a disappearing act at 21.00, I was so tired, I was beginning to feel ill! So back to bed for me after 24 hrs on my feet!
Kick off was at 9.00 am, so I got up after a rough nights sleep at 7.00 am, showered, repacked and met the others having breakfast.
We were taught to pack the van, Everything on top!, and then it was off to Universal Studios, via hand and footprints at the Chinese theatre. I got a bit carried away there with the photos I think. To get there we drove down Sunset Boulevard. Wow! There are some " real nice " houses there!
Universal Studios: We went on the tram ride first. (Queues are a necessity unfortunately). The effects of the earthquake, breaking bridge and avalanche tunnel: Amazing! After that it was on to the " Back to the future " ride, that was by far the best!
Linda picked us up at 15.30 and we drove in slow moving traffic, all the way to our first camping stop in San Diego. We built up the tents in the dark, well not quite as we have very bright gas lamps! We all cooked dinner (spaghetti) could be spaghetti for a whole three weeks. Sat around chatting till about 22.30 then to bed to test the " Isomatten " (foam mattress) and sleeping bags!