Day 1 - Tuesday 20th February, 2018
The Adventure Begins...
Tuesday has arrived and I still had this surreal feeling this morning that the foreword journey was all but a wish or desire yet to materialise. I guess once my feet hit terra firma in Iceland, this journey will become a reality.
All bits ‘n pieces that I had previously ordered had arrived in time and I was even able to test out the HyperDrive 500GB SSD Backup Drive. Nice!! I will write a review of its function, utility and reliability once it has been extensively used.
Bags are all packed - all 22kg in the suitcase and another 11kg of camera gear. I do generally travel light but the yet unknown range of cold temperatures and weather in general has made me add some clothing ‘insurance’.
Melbourne Airport beckoned and I arrived with sufficient time to enjoy a Cap. Checked-in and prior to boarding we were subjected to in intensive security check now required if flying to the States. Of course this was passed with flying colours.
Seat 2G in Business Class of the 777 is super comfortable, I’m enjoying being one of the ‘pod people’ in my cocoon with juggling a gorgeous Tasmanian Pinot Gris, feet up and iPad keys being tapped.
We have already settled in at 9,447 meters at 909km/h while passing over Wollongong or otherwise affectionately known as ‘The ‘Gong’. The outside temperature is -42C. Is Virgin Australia trying to acclimatise me to the soon to be experienced Icelandic weather and negative temperatures?!
So in the next 5 minutes we will be departing the Oz Mainland into the charted waters of that big ocean to our East.
More to come...
A very pleasant evening at the communal bar helped pass the evening before returning to my already made up bed to grab some zzzzz’s.
Waking to the smell of breakfast and a check of the screen revealed we are 862km from LAX screaming along at 873km/h at 11,900 meters. Not long to go before - touchdown!
LA - Tattered Flag - Terrific Tucker...
Exited the Tom Bradley Terminal in LAX only to find the Uber “surge price” kicked in going from $50 while in baggage claim to $75 on the kerb in the space of 5 minutes. Opted for a taxi to the Ramada in West Hollywood and only $52.
Alighting from the taxi outside a Wells Fargo branch next door to the Ramada Hotel and I was most surprised to see a very tattered and worn-out Aussie Flag next to a very pristine American Flag on the flagpoles above their entrance. I took a quick snap and posted on my Instagram inviting @wellsfargo to show some respect by replacing our Flag with a new one.
A quick shower and a 2 hour power snooze and the body was recharged and ready to go.
Before heading off, a quick check revealed a message on my IG from Wells Fargo, to their credit, they had read my post and sought the exact branch location so they to could inform the branch manager to raise a new Aussie Flag. A win for Oz and kudos to Wells Fargo for responding and acknowledging action. The power of social media certainly reinforced my opinion that social media is a catalytic tool with potential to effect a paradigm change.
A short walk down to The Belmont on Nth La Cienega Blvd to try their famous Belmont Burger with a copious quantity of the most delicious caramelised onions and the body was rehydrated with 1.5lt. of iced water. Feeling much more human now!
LA friends, Neal (LAPD) and his wife Jessica played host for the evening; starting at a real funky bar, The Umbrella on Melrose where the decor was understandably umbrellas and a fantastic mix of 60 & 70 music. An amazing cocktail menu was tested with fabulous drinks receiving The Umbrella’s take.
A short Uber drive to Chi Spacca also on Melrose, for a most enjoyable evening and amazing tukker. Six courses comprising Marrow Pie, a salad, without doubt one of the best I’ve enjoyed (I'm hoping to get my hands on the recipe), Focaccia, and a 50oz rare steak accompanied by a Chianti. Amazing!
Sitting at the table enjoying good company and the atmosphere was wonderful, but the added bonus was seeing our huge slab of meat on the grill, ever so slowly changing colour and juices dripping. Mouth-watering and anticipation was very high and once served did not disappoint.
I would rate the venue, staff and meal at 12 out of 10. Highly recommended but it will dent your CC!