Sydney to Los Angeles – LAX to Santa Monica – around Santa Monica
Well, it’s nearly the end of our first (very long) day of our trip.
We arrived about 90 mins late into Los Angeles International Airport (due to the late departure) after a very pleasant trip in a rather empty business class cabin (we upgraded ourselves using frequent flyer miles). The new Qantas Skybeds are an improvement on the old Dreamtime seats … but still not quite as good as first class I feel !
Didn’t get as much sleep on the flight as I would have liked – simply wasn’t tired enough … and there were three good movies to watch (“Without a Paddle”, “The Bourne Supremacy”, “A Shark Tale”), which kept me amused for a lot of the flight. I think Leanne enjoyed flying in business class – she seemed to get a more decent amount of sleep than me anyway !
We tried taking a change of comfortable clothes (ie. trackie dacks !) to wear once on board so that we had relatively clean clothes to change back into at the other end – which turned out to be a really good plan – I’ll have to try that again in the future next time I have a long haul flight.
Arrival into LAX was uneventful – took around an hour to clear customs and get out of the airport – a little longer than I would have liked – they seemed to be taking quite a while to process each traveller compared to when I was here this time last year.
We finally got outside and found our way to the rental car bus stop to wait for the Hertz bus, which fortunately was only a minute or so away. After a short bus ride around to the Hertz lot, we found ourselves sitting in our Mazda6 – on the wrong side of course – all very confusing (especially to Leanne who has never been in a left-hand-drive car). Spent 10 mins or so familiarising ourselves with the NeverLost navigation system, which seemed pretty easy to use once we worked out the basic controls. Set our course for the Four Points Sheraton Santa Monica without too much trouble.
After a brief detour thanks to a wrong turn (navigation system thought when we started, we were too close to the road we needed to bother telling us to turn, meaning I went over it rather than turning into it), we got underway – with the navigation system thoughtfully warning us of how far until the next turn, and then again shortly before the turn and once more when we were at the intersection. Quite handy actually – and easy to follow the instructions.
Took about 15 mins to get to the hotel without any dramas, and they had a room available for us (was about 10:30am by this time), which meant we could dump our luggage straight away and take a much needed shower and change of clothes – which was great. We were pretty beat by this stage – having been up for nearly 24 hours with only 2 and a bit hours sleep (I think Leanne got closer to 3.5-4 hours). We decided to have a snooze for a bit, setting an alarm to get up after an hour so that we didn’t sleep all afternoon !
Headed out around 1pm down to Santa Monica beach, walked along the beach to the pier, then along the pier and had lunch out there at a little takeaway place. Continued back up to Santa Monica Place shopping center to the visitor center and then wandered along the 3rd Street Promenade enjoying the vibrant activity and buskers.
We walked back to our room for a rest and to drop off some of our gear before walking back to the promenade and went and caught an early movie – The Incredibles, the new Pixar animated movie … it was excellent – really worth seeing. Had dinner afterwards at a local cafe before wandering back along the promenade (nice lights in the trees and lots of activity and buskers still !!), then back to our room.
Leanne has hit the sack already, feeling pretty tired … I’m trying hard to stay awake for a little while longer so that I’m really tired and will have a good chance of sleeping through the night.
Tomorrow we plan to do a bit more wandering around this area – and also we will hopefully get over to the Warner Brothers Studios for one of their VIP tours.
I’ll write more soon !
You can see more photos in the gallery: Santa Monica