Day 1 (Nov 20th, Thursday)
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
After a gruelling 14-hour flight from HKIA to LAX (not to mention the previous 4 from KLIA to HKIA), my family and I finally touched down on U.S. soil on 20th Nov, around 8.30pm Asia Pacific Time. Truth to tell, by then I was too washed-out by the long travelling hours and the tight confinement of an Economy class seat, not to mention the mixed feelings of anxiety and fear of getting picked for Special Registration to clearly appreciate the fact that I had, already, arrived in America!
Call me hopelessly brainwashed by Hollywood, but visiting the U.S. of A had long been my childhood dream - even when my British tuition teacher sniffed up her high nose in response to me choosing the U.S. over Britain when I was 10 years old. So when I was feeling less than appreciative of my surroundings, a little voice in me scolded myself, "C'mon you! It's the U.S. of A for God's sake! Where's that little spark of excitement in you? Give it to me!" But I had patience. Maybe not yet, not at that moment, but I knew I would surely gain that 'correct' feeling somehow, that special feeling one can only have, once you step into fabulous America.
Half an hour later... (at the arrival hall after smoothly passing through U.S. immigration, phew!) - I saw him! I saw him! We had been apart for what, just 4 months (now that it's in writing it seems curiously few!) yet I was missing him every minute of the time. He looked so Americanized, blending perfectly into the people around him by wearing that Guess jacket and carrying a huge hardcover (it could only be Stephen King) under one arm. He looked fatigued as well, the poor thing worn-out from his 7-hour drive from Arizona, but every bit the loving boyfriend I had remembered him to be. It was worth every moment apart.
My family upon arrival at LAX - I'm in mom's dorky sweater. No worries about seeing that sweater on me again - it had shrunk to baby size after putting it in the dryer!
Santa Monica pier
The first thing we did out of the dingy airport was to grab a footlong Subway and stop by Santa Monica pier. Wait a minute, did he mention Santa Monica? Immediately, the Savage Garden song sprang to mind: "Santa Monica, in the wintertime, the lazy streets so undemanding..." It was really Santa Monica in the wintertime! However, it was already 10p.m. and the place was devoid of in-line skaters waiting to knock us down.
We took a good long walk at the pier, taking deep long breaths in the salty sea-breeze and trying not to chill to death. It was cold, but not winter-cold yet, just the chilly breeze from the sea trying to knock us off our feet.
The pier was beautiful, not to mention surreal - I felt like I had stepped into a Hollywood movie set. My brother and I remembered the pier from a movie we watched when we were little, about a kid trapped in Tom Hanks' adult body. It even had Zoltar the fortune-telling machine, which I also remember seeing in the movie. By the way, the Santa Monica Pier is really a favourite shooting spot for movies. The film 'Hancock' featured it near the ending where Charlize Theron took a walk with her family. Because my family camera went dead, we didn't take many photos then but surprise, surprise, fate brought us back on the last day before I left U.S. so I'll be posting Santa Monica pics on the last post of this trip!
Dad trying to pull a Forrest Gump at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company
Dropped dead on the bed in the motel afterwards... but not before a nice bath with almond-and-oatmeal soap!
My first stay at a U.S. motel - complete with kitchenette!
Next up: Yosemite National Park! Stay tuned...