We have (finally!!) arrived
Jan 9, 2008
|Greetings from LA from 6 weary travellers! It has been such a busy 2 days - sorry about the delay in filling you all in on our trip thus far. We got off to an exciting start with the aborted take-off half way down the runway in Brisbane. One student's comment:"If my mum saw that she probably fainted!" A bird flew into an engine so we sat on the tarmac for 2 hours while an official inspection took place, then the paper work had to be done (which actually took longer than the inspection!). I have to confess to being a little anxious about making our connecting flight to Honolulu.
Fortunately the plane was delayed for us. After collecting our baggage we ran to get a taxi (2 actually, because of all our luggage). Once arriving at the International Terminal we ran again to Check-in then through customs then to our boarding gate as it was well after the original departure time. Perspiration was pouring off us by the time we arrived only to discover a huge long queue - they were having difficulties with the boarding pass equipment! So we left an hour and a half late from Sydney. 2 late departures.
The flight to Honolulu took almost 10 hours but little sleep was had. We did get a 250ml complimentary bottle of water - thankyou Jetstar. The free in-flight entertainment system wasn't working so no movies except if we paid for a portable player. We experienced some turbulence, but nothing too drastic.
Everyone wants to go back to Honolulu because they found cheap Pringles and Skittles (so much for the landscape!) I am so thankful that I took the travel agent's advice and decided to book the tour for when we are there for the day and 2 nights otherwise, due to the plane arriving 2 hours late we would have missed the tour and forfeited the money. So that was a blessing. Customs was a breeze - none of our bags had to be checked and everyone was so friendly to our little group.
Late departure no. 3! Due to the plane we were catching arriving late we left almost 2 hours late. American Airlines is somewhat more generous than Jetstar, with: free drinks (water, juice, softdrink), blanket and pillow and the TV worked so the kids got to watch a movie and some TV - though there was some sleeping this time. Another 5 1/2 hours flying.
We finally arrived at LAX about midnight - 30 hours after leaving Brisbane. Took an hour to get our bags due to a malfunctioning carousel but they all arrived, which is more than I can say for many others! Phoned our hotel, they sent a mini bus, checked in and fell into bed at 2am.
A little chilly - about 15 degrees celsius. Quite cloudy and smoggy. Apparently when it's clear we will be able to see snow-covered mountains. Pancakes and fruit for breakfast then we were met by the assistant chaplain from LLA who drove us to Loma Linda. The principal, Brent Baldwin, took us to lunch at the Rainforest Cafe - the food was delicious but none of us could eat it all - the servings were huge! Then on to the Academy where Brent took us on a tour of the campus. Got to see into classrooms (listened in on a band rehearsing, saw sport classes etc). Hung out in the Library until the students were met by billet parents and children. They seem so nice and are very excited about having our children stay.
On Sabbath we will all have lunch together which will be lovely. There are about 15 Adventist churches in the area. We will go the the University Church which has 6000 members!
The week after next the Monday and Tuesday are school holidays and the billet families are interested in taking us to the snow for some boarding and to Disneyland. Any problems with that? The kids eyes did light up at the mention of these things!
Tomorrow I plan on taking photos around the campus and if I can work out how to upload multiple photos to this site you should have a better idea of where we are.
Hope they've all phoned you! If not, they are well and enjoying themselves.