Very nice being able to watch the light come up over the harbour while sipping champage and orange juice on the balcony – a pretty civilised start to the last day. Finished the impossible task of stuffing all the new toys and clothes into the bags – had contemplated mailing some stuff back home but instead decided to once again see just how far I could push the limits of what you’re mean to be able to carry in a ski bag.
Once finally all packed up and checked out had coffee and bagel down on the foreshore while doing on-line check-in. Another beautiful sunny day – the weather in California really can get boring and temps soaring into the high teens or even low twenties.
Pretty relaxed afternoons drive, and I was contemplating the standard final sunset on the beach somewhere around Santa Monica. However, I hadn’t counted on the fog rolling in, and the last hour of daylight didn’t lend itself to photos or anything requiring any visual cues – what is this, summer in San Francisco? Gassed up the Rogure for the final time and did what is always the scariest 10 miles of the trip – getting on, along and off the maze of freeways around LAX. Thankfully no hassle with Hertz re the spare tyre and they reduced the rental charge by its cost.
Got a bit scared when got off the Hertz shuttle to see queues stretched outside the entry doors to the international terminal. Thankfully not quite as bad as it looked, and in fact virtually no queue at QANTAS check-in. And once again proved that you CAN put almost anything in a ski bag as long as you keep it under the weight limit. Then the fun started.
The TSA that does the security screening of bags works relatively efficiently if slowly in the various domestic terminals here. But they have spent years hiring the best consultants in the international terminal to make the system as unmanageable and useless as humanly possible and then some. You get in a reasonably long queue and, after moving 3 places in 15 minutes, begin to wonder if they meant you had to check in 23 hours before your flight rather than 3 hours. There’s only a small place for bags that come through the machine, and as there is a random process of a few staff having to load bags onto various trolleys and wheel them off to who knows where it means most of the time there is absolutely nothing going on. It’s amazing that ANY bags arrive at their intended destination!
Anyway, things finally got moving and got rid of the bags. Headed upstairs intending to have some food and a champagne, but on seeing the length of the queues for screening to get through to the gate lounges and hearing the advice to head through ASAP, grabbed a burger from the even more meagre options and ate in while in a queue. Another strange feature of LAX International – they seem to be in continual rebuilding mode yet always seem to have less and less on offer.
Anyway, screening line actually moved steadily, albeit slowly and was no worse than I expected, and found myself through to gate lounge territory with more time on hand than was useful. Thankfully there HAD been development here and a bar had magically appeared since March, so had a final (and less satisfying) hefferweitzen and did a little on line catch up until they started calling us cattle into our cages for the long muster home. Oh the joys of 14 hour flights – why do I only do this once a year?
Until next time …..