25th April

The Flying Kangaroo finally touched down on the North American continent  at LAX.  Wind conditions were such that the landing approach was from the north, presenting us with a magnificent views of the Californian coastline.

The USA Hostel on Schrader in Hollywood is always welcoming, clean and  secure. This time was no exception.  I have stayed there several times before.  The 14+ hour flight had left me tired and I ‘crashed’, even before the room had been cleaned.  When I awoke, some five hours later, the room had been vacuumed and bathroom cleaned, and I slept through it all. 

Since this stay in LA was to be  for just 30 hours, the rest of that day was spent shopping for a few essentials I was going to need over the next few days.  Ended the day with a great meal of fish and chips (not fries) at Mel’s drive-in on Highland Ave – right next door to the Hollywood Museum (which was closed), and only a few doors from Ripley’s Belief it or Not, on the corner of  Highland and Hollywood Blvd. 

The following day, a Sunday, was spent getting ready to board the South West Chief, for the trip to Chicago.  Since I had far too much luggage to take to Union Station in one go (short of paying for a cab fare), I decided to make two trips on the subway.  Imagine my surprise to find that seniors (and disabled) may travel the subway at weekends for just 25c.

Another lovely, albeit frustrating surprise was the Farmers’ Market in Ivar, only a couple of blocks from the hostel.  I would dearly have loaded up with fresh fruit and vegetables, but, with no way to keep them, settled for an orange and some freshly roasted peanuts.  I do recall chancing upon this market when staying at the same hostel in 2004.

Union Station in LA, besides being large, reminded me of the old railway stations in Europe.  It had that lovely old world feeling about it, though the staff and service were friendly and efficient.

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