Friday, 7 June 2013

Canada Hols -Tues Leaving Australia and getting to Vancouver via LA

Tuesday - Stupid QANTAS! Their itinerary said that check-in closed 90 mins before the flight, so we left home at 4:30am, only to find that the airport was closed when we arrived at 4:45, and the QANTAS staff did not even rock up to work until 5:30am (ie 15 minutes after check-in apparently closed!)...oh it would have been nice to have another ¾ of an hour in bed!

The actual flights were fine. QANTAS definitely has more legroom than Virgin, so Darryl was far more comfortable than the last trip. I watch the “Life of Pi” which was quite enjoyable...and different. The flight was around 11 hours. When we were going through LAX customs, a customs officer asked us where we were going, and, when we told him Vancouver, he said whatever we do to avoid East Hastings Street. Later I realised that this was exactly where we had booked out Hotel! We had arrived in LAX at about 6am, and were not due to fly again until nearly 9pm, so we took the free shuttle bus to the Central Bus Station (initially thinking that the name meant it was actually in the city). It was really a big car park and bus interchange, and when we got there we realised we didn't actually have any US money, so took the free shuttle back to the airport to fix it. Of course the money from the ATM was $20 notes, and the bus required the correct change...luckily for us, the bus driver let us on anyway. We headed off to Santa Monica Beach.
There were amazing high cliffs with squirrels living along the edge. I initially thought we were right on the beach, but to my surprise there was a whole highway below and then further houses between that and the beach. 

We walked down to the water, and people were swimming even though it was quite cool. Lifesavers had 4x4s right on the beach. 

Then we went up and onto Santa Monica Pier, where there is a Fun-fair. 

Right along the beach is a walking/cycling path, so continued north until we got to Venice Beach. All along were lots of homeless people, just sleeping on the grass and sand, quite a lot with bicycles. At the Southern end of Venice Beach started the street vendors, who were selling rubbish paintings and other junk. It was like some sort of surreal market. All along were shops selling bongs and marijuana. Although we were wanting to eat, until we got to a fairly normal looking cafe, we weren't really game to stop, although there were plenty of other tourists. A bit further north was Muscle Beach, but there wasn't much happening. Further along the street, we called into the library, trying to find the road we needed to get our bus. After working out where we were, we took the long bus ride back to LAX, ate at the airport before going to our terminal. Although our whole trip was booked through QANTAS there was no agreement for lounge use, which was annoying. I went online, and got an email that our Hotel booking in Vancouver had been cancelled. This was because I had accidentally booked it for a day early and we were then a no-show. In some respects it was a lucky break, as Darryl was pretty concerned about the location after the warning from the custom's officer. I booked another Hotel near the airport, for 2 nights. Eventually we boarded our Air Alaska flight. The flight arrived 20 minutes early in Vancouver, and we went to collect our bags.
Mine eventually turned up, but eventually there were only two bags going round and round, no one else waiting, and Darryl's not coming out. He went to the desk to find that his bag had been sent on an earlier flight! We went out to get the free shuttle, but when I called the Hotel they didn't seem to have our booking. The clerk said he would send the shuttle anyway and sort it out when we arrived. On arrival it turned out that had not sent through our booking, despite sending me the confirmation, and, the Hotel was completely booked out as an Asian flight had been cancelled. Luckily, just at that moment, there was a cancellation and we were put in a twin single room. We were pleased to have a bed, and it turned out that the 'single' bed was just like a normal double bed. By the time we 'hit the sack' it was 1:30am.

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