Sunday 21 June 2015
Taxi to the airport which took about 30 minutes. Its Fatherís day and the taxi driver is not amused that he has to work and then he asks me where am I going on holiday and when I say California he jokes he should just dump me at the bus stop.
So I arrive at the airline check in desk and hand over my travel documents. The lady is looking very confused and then every personís worst nightmare.Ē Mam, we donít have a ticket for youĒ OMG, OMG, WTF!!!! As I start to panic, the lady explains that my travel agent make the reservation, which they can see on the system, but the money was not sent to the airline, so they canít issue my boarding card. They call my connecting airline in Heathrow and itís the same situation. The reservation is on the system, but they canít issue my boarding card. The only one who can sort it are the travel agents BUT its early Sunday morning and the travel agents customer service is closed until 2pm.
There is nothing I can do. The lady at the airline customer service was really nice and helped me so much but I just had to wait until 2pm for the travel agent to open.
So I took myself off and spent the next 4 hours in the departure area.
At exactly 2pm I rang the number and finally spoke to someone in the travel agents. I gave all my details and she said she would call me back. After an agonising 15 minute wait, my phone rang and it was the travel agents. They took full responsibility for the problem. It was an IT issue. The money should have gone to the airline but it didnít and no one knew until I tried to check in.
By this stage I had missed my original flights so they rebooked me for the following day. The new flight was at 6.15am and I decided instead of going all the way home and then all the way back to the airport, that I would just get a hotel at the airport. Before I left though, I went to the airline and checked that everything was ok with this new booking, just to make sure.
After arriving at the hotel in Dublin airport I had to cancel my hotel for my first night in LA. I was originally staying 1 night at LAX and getting a domestic flight to visit a friend in central California on Monday 22 June.
The new arrival time in LAX was very tight but I rang the domestic airline and explained the situation. The lady said that I should make it but that if I didnít they would rebook me onto the later flight.
So instead of spending the night of June 21 at a hotel at LAX, I was in a hotel at Dublin airport! Monday 22 June
Dublin airport round 2
After the fiasco the previous day, I got to the check in in desk super early and was one of the first 10 people to check in. I was sooo relieved to get my boarding card. This was direct flight to LAX so once I was on the plane I could finally relax and start my holiday.
In the last 2 hours of the flight I was anxiously watching the time. I was lucky that I was at the front of the plane and when the doors were opened I was in the second group leaving the plane. Once in the airport I ran through the corridors, passing the rest of the passengers. I wanted to be at the top of the line for US Homelands Security, as that is the part which can take ages to get through.
Luckily when it was my turn I was processed quickly and I ran to baggage claim.
OMG, this was my downfall. As I had been at the top of the line for check-in, my bag was one of the last to arrive. I could see the time just slipping away and by the time my bag eventually arrived, I knew I was too late to check in for my connecting flight. I gathered my bags and made my way to the next terminal.
When I got to the domestic airline, the lady was so nice and there was no problem rebooking to the later flight. It was now 11am and the later flight was 6pm! As I was checking in so early, she could not take my bag, so I had to return at 2pm.
Another day, another airport, feels like that Tom Hanks film!
After getting something to eat, I found some seats and took a nap until 2pm. Once I checked in my bag at 2pm, I was finally able to go through TSA security to the boarding gate. I napped again until it was time for the flight.
Eventually at 7.15pm, I arrived at the airport and my friend was waiting. Itís been 2 years since we last saw each other, so it was really good to spend a couple of days with her in her home town.
We just hung out, catching up and seeing her hometown.
All too soon it was time to leave and it was back to the airport.
Arriving back into LAX and more adventures. As I was on a domestic flight, we landed at a satellite terminal at LAX and had to get a shuttle to the main building and then walk through corridors to eventually arrive at baggage claim. When I got there, I couldnít see my flight info on any of the screens at the bag carousels. I asked at the airline customer service and was told number 4, so back I go to number 4. I wait and wait and wait. There were a lot of people waiting at number 4, from a different flight. We all waited and waited and waited and no bags. Eventually one of the other passengers comes over and announces to the group that their bags, everyone from the other flight, had gone missing and everyone had to line up at customer service. I asked her about my flight and she said she only had info about the other flight. I knew my bag was somewhere, that it wasnít lost so I went back to customer service. At this stage there was a big line, all the people from the other flight. I marched straight to the desk and got the attention of one of the staff and asked about my flight. I just wanted to know should I join the line or was my bag over at the side in the unclaimed section. Well Holy Moly, some guy at the top of line started yelling at me cos I didnít play by the rules and join the line. He picked the wrong person to yell at, cos I yelled right back at him, Iím not some meek and mild naive tourist! Like what the hell, a big middle aged guy, yelling at a small single girl who is obviously a tourist, way to go Mister, you are giving a great Welcome To America to a tourist! Anyways I guessed my bag was in the unclaimed section and I was right. So while I trundled my way out of the airport, yelling guy was standing in line cos the airline had lost his bag. Karma is a BITCHÖ ooops did I say that out loud!!
So an hour behind schedule I headed out to Supershuttle pick up area. For this part of my trip I stayed at a hotel in Downtown LA, next to Little Tokyo.
It was nearly 9pm by the time I got there, so I just went to 7 Eleven and Subway for some food.Thursday June 25
I wake up early and have breakfast in the cafť next door to the hotel. Today I am meeting friends in Glendale. I donít drive so I get the bus to Glendale. That was why I choose this hotel, as it is on the bus route and bus stop is just down the street.
We spent the day in Glendale and then went to Mels Diner on Sunset and they brought me back to my hotel.Friday June 26
Tried to get up early today but my body just wonít move. By the time I leave my hotel its almost 11am. I walk down the street to the Metro / Underground station. This hotel location is perfect for me, as it is on both bus routes and the Metro Line. After living in London for 4 years the Metro system is really easy for me to figure out. I get a TAP card for $1 and load it with a one day pass for $7. The ticket machine is very similar to the ticket machines in London so I have no problems.
I get on the RED line direct to Universal Studios. The trip takes about 20 minutes and just like London, the stations are announced. One funny little observation, the seats are a lot bigger and there is air conditioning, a far more pleasant experience than London Tubes in the summer!
Arriving at Universal Studios stop I make my way to street level. I follow the signs across the street to the shuttle bus pick up area. Just as I crossed the street a shuttle bus arrived, so I didnít have to wait.
Universal studios are just a short 5 minute bus ride up the hill and past the hotels. It is walkable but in the Cali sun and heat and up that steep hill, I really wouldnít attempt it.
My plan today is just to hang out in Universal City Walk. I have been to the park before but as I was with friends I didnít really see much of CityWalk and the shops.
This time on my own I could wander and shop and take photos. I found my favourite shop Hot Topic and then it was time for lunch. My main reason for coming here was to visit Hard Rock Cafť. I used to work for Hard Rock and whenever I travel I have to find a HRC. I just love being in Hard Rock, itís like home to me and it was a perfect way to avoid the hottest part of the day. After my meal, I went to the Rock Shop and bought the cutest onesie for my niece.
I did some more shopping and took some photos and then decided to head to Hollywood. I did the reverse of my journey, getting the shuttle from Universal City Walk back to the Metro. I then got the Metro Red Line to Hollywood and Hyland, which is just one stop. I have been here many times, but somehow never noticed the Metro entrance, which is right beside the shopping mall! When I got to street level, it was a nice cool LA evening. As usual the Walk of Fame was crowded, with lots going on. I walked up the street to the Chinese Theatre and then back to the mall. I found the photo op area at the back of the mall and finally after 6 years, got a photo of the Hollywood sign.
After some more shopping my feet had had enough so I decided it was time to head back Just time for a quick stop at McDonalds for my evening snack and then it was back on the metro to my hotel.Saturday June 27
Today I am meeting one of my LA friends. She collected me at my hotel and we went first to Little Tokyo Shopping Plaza. We wondered around the shops and had lunch at Starbucks. I love the shops here but I would never have found it if we were not driving. Itís a bit smaller than China Town in London but still has a great atmosphere and buzz. After Starbucks we went back to her apartment to meet up with her flatmate who had been working that day. Her flatmate was a bit behind schedule so we waited for her and then we went to a local sports bar for some amazing hot wings and cocktails.
It was so nice to spend some time with them, as I only see them when I come to LA. We eventually left and they brought me back to my hotel.Sunday June 28
After a hectic few days, it was nice to have a lazy morning. I went out to Starbucks for breakfast and then came back and had a lie in until it was time to check out. Today I was going across to Anaheim. When I was booking my transport I was horrified to find that a point to point Supershuttle was way over $100! I found out it is because of The Orange Curtain, ie the LA commuter areas, so I decided to be creative.
I went onto Southwest website and picked a random flight departing from LAX around 2pm. I used that flight info to book my Supershuttle to LAX ($17) I then went back to Southwest website and picked a random flight arriving to LAX around 2pm and used THAT info to book Supershuttle from LAX to my hotel in Anaheim ($17) total $34 from my hotel in Downtown LA to my hotel in Anaheim!
I arrived at my hotel around 3pm. My friend was meeting me at 6pm but I was getting hungry. I decided to get Dominos take out delivered to my hotel while I waited for my friend.
At 6pm we headed across to the parks( Part Two Continue here http://www.magicforum.eu/index.php?topic=19297.0)