Maree & Jack do Mexico, Cuba and California travel blog

Maree and the mammoth

La Brea courtyard

Jack and the Bison

Guess who we met

A view from the observatory

At Tullamarine we met Karen and 30 St Helena students. The purpose of their trip being to perform a production at Disneyland and then do drama workshops in New York, They were on the same flight as us.

Our flight from Melbourne was long and uneventful. Neither of us managed to get much sleep and I watched four or five movies to pass the time. The painful part came after we disembarked to find that there were 8 or 9 other planes, including three from Australia that had landed at the same time. The queues to get through immigration and customs seemed interminable. Bye the time we stepped out onto the curb to get our shuttle two and a half hours had gone by.

I almost made a massive mistake when collecting our luggage off the carousel. I saw Maree 's bag and right on top was mine. What a coincidence that they were next to each other. I grabbed them both and we made our way towards the customs barrier. There was something odd about the way my bag rolled. As I looked down to check the wheels I realised that, though it was as the same size and colour as mine it was NOT MINE. I rushed back to the carousel hoping that the owner of this bag had not taken mine by mistake to find a worried Japanese gent who was delighted to get his bag. Mine turned up soon after. Whew!!

Our shuttle took well over an hour to get us to the hotel we shared it with two Aussie families. One of the guys could not stop talking it drove us almost to distraction. Maree was feeling completely worn out so we arrived at the hotel intending to see if we could get an early check-in only to find that it was offered to us before we even asked. The extra $30 didn't matter a bit. Within minutes of getting our room at around 10 am we were both in bed with the alarm set to wake us at 1 pm.

Maree managed to get some sleep but, once again, I only dozed. After dressing we headed to reception where the concierge suggested that the best way to get to the La Brea tar pits was for us to join Uber, the private ride sharing service. I did this while Maree went off to find a coffee at a local deli. The Uber vehicle was clean and the ride was smooth. The coffee was terrible!

The La Brea tar pits are a park where fossils of many extinct animals have been found submerged in bitumen. In the past there were vast bitumen marshes where many animals became trapped, died and had their bones preserved. There were sabre tooth tigers, wooly mammoths, mastodons, dire wolves, many kinds of carnivorous birds and giant buffalo and bison as well as a selection of smaller critters. Only one human skeleton has been found in the tar pits. We spent a good couple of hours there before catching another Uber, driven by a Cuban called Yuri, to the Griffith Observatory which overlooks Los Angeles from the Hollywood Hills. A couple of pleasant hours were spent wandering through the exhibits and checking out the panoramic views of LA all the way to the coast. As we were getting ready to leave I realised that my phone was almost out of charge and that we had to find a different way home because I was not able to call another Uber vehicle. This caused me a bit of a panic until We found that there was a shuttle bus whichq, for the princely sum of 50cents each dropped us in Hollywood only a couple of hundred metres from our hotel. After a very tasty pasta meal we returned to our hotel determined to get a good night's rest.

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