The United States of America. US of the A.
It was always a place I had only dreamed of visiting when I was a kid. I’ll admit that I had a romanticized view of the place, no thanks to glamorous depictions of Hollywood in TV shows and movies. But they say that dreams do come true….
It took months of planning: going back and forth to banks and HR departments to get documents for my US Visa application, but it was all worth it! 🙂 I finally found myself on a flight from Kuala Lumpur International Airport to LAX. Yes!
Nobody likes long haul flights. I picked the shortest route via Cathay Pacific (19 hours), with a two hour overlay in Hong Kong. Unfortunately, the next flight got delayed by three hours, so I sat at HKIA fiddling with my phone and exploring the place. It was a foggy day in Hong Kong.
HKIA is huge and very impressive; much bigger than my own country’s international airport.
I got hungry while waiting. I approached the lady at the money changers with a 5USD, but was told that I would have to change at least 10 to be able to buy the cheapest option – fast food. Ended up with a Popeye’s set meal, which cost a whopping 66HKD (RM30!? – that’s the price for a fancy Western meal in a nice restaurant back in KL).
The flight took a further 12 hours from HK to LAX. Service on the plane was good and the seats were spacious, so it wasn’t so bad. Upon reaching, there was a further 1hour wait + long line through immigration, and then finally…saw E waiting for me at the arrival hall. I could feel my own face light up with an uncontrollable smile. Distance does make the heart grow fonder!
There was more waiting for our shuttle to the hostel, the Banana Bungalow along Fairfax Avenue. It was late after checking in and many restaurants were closed, so we walked to a Whole Foods nearby for pizza. The servings were ginormous.
Pepperoni, chicken barbecue, garlic cheese.
The night was cold and windy, and the roads were quiet by 10pm. We saw many homeless people getting settled down for the night, and youths ‘hotboxing’ in cars as they puffed away on weed. It was eye opening. I was used to an LA through television and movie screens – one of glitzy Hollywood movies and clean, suburban neighbourhoods. The reality is much grittier.
The pavements were tagged with graffiti every few metres.
I slumped into bed after my almost day-long journey, determined to discover more of the ‘City of Angels’ and whether it really lived up to it’s name.