What a whirlwind visit it was to the States! Nowhere near long enough to do everything I wanted - I reckon I got about half of everything done....
Our flight home was uneventful - exactly how one wants it to be. We nearly missed getting our bags on the first plane as we were slightly later than I wanted to be getting the car back to the rental mob, who had misplaced their end of the contract and then Nathan thought he'd lost his corporate credit card... but he hadn't, he'd just put it in his pocket after they couldn't find the contract....
One excellent thing about flying American Airlines out of San Jose down to LAX is that they codeshare with Qantas, so our luggage was checked right through to Sydney. It meant we saved a good two hours in LAX, though that meant we spent two more hours sitting around rather than stressing our way through security.
We had a lovely not-quite-guided tour of LAX as we were driven from AA's American Eagle terminal to the usual AA terminal (where we got off thinking it was the end of the line). We had dinner there at the Chili's. Then we trawled off in another bus to the international terminal, and did not have to go through security again. Hooray!
The bus trips were pretty amazing. The bus trundles along by the runway, an active runway. There's suddenly a roar and vvvrrr-rrrrow! A plane takes off about 50m away. On the first trip everyone was very serious (I wasn't, I made an aeroplane passing by noise, which I now realise is based on a plane I've never heard in real life - a Spitfire - and startled some people) but the second trip, the people on that side of the bus ducked and then laughed. Like how helpful is it it duck when the plane is about to crash into the bus? Anyway, you get to see all sorts of planes and activities and stuff. Whilst I am in two minds about air travel - it is hellishly expensive on fuel and greenhouse impact but is really the only way to get halfway around the world in less than a day - I am still a bit of a plane freak. Seeing an Air NZ 777 reminded me that I've met the man who designed its rudder. Passing by an A380 (the plane we flew home in) underlines how massive these jets are. The thing's got about 50 wheels for starters (ok, really only 22 can be counted in my pics) and outmuscles every other kid on the block.
I ended up with a window seat on the way home and oh bliss, noone sitting next to me! (Nathan was in premium economy. At least he didn't tell me all about the champagne this time.) It is sooo much easier to get comfortable if you don't have to wriggle away from someone all night - I don't really want to snuggle someone whom I don't know or worse, drool on their shoulder... At least a snuggle doesn't leave a mark. Our bags took forever to appear but arrived before customs did a rolling stoppage and we were out and in a taxi on our way home within ten minutes of grabbing our bags! Quickest time ever! (It does help that now I know that wool yarn, whilst technically being an animal product/fleece is actually not what Customs/AQIS is interested in.)
I have lots of catch up posts to do. At the moment though, Flickr is having a massage (really! That is what they tell me) and I can't upload pics on it and can't be stuffed uploading them on blogger, so this is a pic-less post.