I gotta say, that LAX is about the weirdest place on the face of the earth. I can remember the first time I ever visited the States on a family holiday - I was about 13, my parents bribed my younger brother and I with a trip to Disneyland so they could then subject us to every major church and art gallery in western Europe... I can remember stumbling off the plane here in LA, staggered both by the thick smoggy air (I'd never actually seen smog prior) and the sheer size of everything and the throngs of people. Back then (1991?) LAX was a good deal grubbier, and seemed to be inhabited by hordes of aggressive Hare Krishna devotees all determined to "gift" me - and I assume everyone else with copies of a large book. I'd never encountered the "here's a present, now you must give me a donation" technique of fundraising. How good a target I appeared as an incredibly naive Australian tween, still rather eludes me, but they tried anyway.
Every time I'm back in LA I'm struck by just what an extraordinary place the Tom Bradley International terminal is. It's massive, it's packed with every possible nationality of traveller in every manner of national dress. I've been sitting here (I can't check in for another 2 hrs) watching people, and it continues to be just a kaleidoscope of people. Interestingly the first man who spoke to me this afternoon after I arrived was a south asian Indian?) guy thrusting yet another text at me, and, with nothing to identify me as such asking urgently "Are you an Australian or New Zealander?" I'm really not sure what it was that tipped him off. I rather thought that after almost 9 years living here that I'd have less Australian-ness about me - especially when you consider that I didn't actually open my mouth (an almost immediate give-away). I didn't stick around to find out which group he was recruiting for...
Anyhoo. After two days of what is quite honestly, a pretty grueling exam, I'm now headed south. In something like 20hrs I'll get back to my family who are currently enjoying NZ's beautiful Bay of Islands and then we'll head south for three weeks of R and R. Before the real adventure begins.
Fingers crossed my bag tranfers as it should from Seattle, all the way to Auckland else I'll be royally screwed.