Free as a bird – flying so high

Holidays always start when you’re done working for some. For others it starts when you arrived on your destination. For me, personally, it starts as soon as I know I’m going to go on a holiday.

In a way this holidays started months before we actually went. Trying to figure out where we’re going, finding places to stay and so on are part of the fun as well.

But 11 May was the day we had been waiting for for a few months. After working a 10 hours shift at work (and finishing around midnight) I went home to make sure I had packed everything. Two hours later Carla and Paul arrived at my place to pick me up. Next stop: Yvonne’s. Getting all the luggage in the car was a small puzzle, but like any puzzle, we solved it. Dusseldorf, here we come.

After an hour in the car we parked our car, got our stuff and walked to the terminal. We had enough time to kill until we could drop off our checked luggage. The travelling drill was about to start: dump luggage, make sure you either drank or got rid of your drinks before going through security. Considering we were hungry, we bought a small bite. Luckily, a little diner was across from our gate. Around 5.45 am we were allowed to board our plane from Dusseldorf to Amsterdam (200 euro cheaper. Again). Flight KL1852 brought us to Amsterdam Schiphol in 30 minutes.

We transferred from this small Fokker 70 city hopper to a Boeiing 747. But first we had to go through passport control and we had to make sure we knew where out next gate was before we went shopping (and killing time).

Our plane to the USA left at 10.00 am (still Dutch time) and would bring us to Los Angeles, CA in one go.

The plane wasn’t packed and considering there were some really small kids beside us, Paul and Carla were offered two other seats so every party had a bit more space during this 11 hour flight. Yvonne and I had three seats for the two of us and Carla and Paul were given to seats where they could both place their legs in aisles and no kids were bothering us.

It was a very smooth flight and the light attendant in our part of the plane was very nice and considered. She reminded me of Margreet from Editie NL and Willemijn Verkaik (both looks and voice). It was weird.

The views were awesome from 11 KMs above the ground. I even found the Horse Shoe Bend (by accident to be honest). We got two meals (pizza included!!) and heaps of drinks and snacks. They kept us busy eating. I reckon I managed to sleep 2-3 hours (friggin’ long day).

Around 11.45 am Pacific time (8.45 pm Dutch time) we arrived at LAX. We were taken by shuttle bus to another terminal (Delta terminal 5) because there was construction work going on in Tom Bradley International Terminal. Although you want it to be finished at that point, we still had to go through border security. To be honest, it wasn’t so bad this time around. Only our flight was queuing (still 400 people). Fun fact: we didn’t need to fill in immigration forms because they have machines for that nowadays. So, we filled in all the information, let it take a photo and our prints before getting a print with either a cross or a circle. The last few times I travelled to the USA I got crosses. This time I got a circle and the only thing that was different for me was that I didn’t have to repeat the photo and fingerprints part when I got to the counter to get my stamp in my passport. They asked some questions (how long are you staying, when are you going home, what kind of food do you have and whether or not I had family in the US) before I was granted entry.

Last step (not mentioning the nth bathroom break) in the airport and border security part of our journey to the USA was getting our luggage and handing in the slip of paper the machine gave us.

From the airport we took the bus shuttle to Thrifty to get our rental car. We queued some more before we got assigned our car: a Nissan Quest (2017 edition) mini-van. Space wise we were happy, because we had been worrying our luggage wouldn’t fit in the car. Next stop: getting a SIM card at T-Mobile. When my phone was set and proud of owner of another foreign SIM card, we opened Google maps and set it to our hotel in Palm Springs, CA.

Around Anaheim, we had another bathroom break at Denny’s and we also decided to grab a bite of food while we were there anyways. Of course we overdid it, because we forgot we were in the USA and the meals are massive.

On our way to Palm Springs, all of us, Paul excluded (he was driving) fell asleep because we were knackered (sorry Paul!). That way it got another hour of sleep. Around 7.15 pm we arrived I  our hotel. We checked in and went out to get some water for the night. Lights out was around 9.00 pm and we couldn’t have managed to stay awake much longer. 4 hours of sleep between Wednesday 8.00 am and Friday 6.00 am Dutch time must be a new personally record. But hey! It was worth it!

Sophie Written by:

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