••• tiff firth photography •••

Thursday, January 26, 2012

los angeles - LA time - 26.1.12

26th Jan 2012  aussie time

Had a very pleasant trip from Adelaide to Auckland.  4 hour flight. In economy during this stretch and that ended up being really lovely with a spare seat between me and the lady by the window.  Was able to plug in my iphone to charge in the usb slot.

The ‘ditch’ was very blue today.  (pic)
In flight reading  (pic)
We had a very French and very gay flight attendant. He even pursed his lips and looked so down his nose. 

Connected to the next flight from Auckland to LA inside 30mins.

I'm travelling on a brand spanking new plane only 1 week old. Very flash shiny paint job.   (pic)


I’m sitting in Premium Economy. If you have the chance to fly PE I would very thoroughly recommend it.  The seats are very very comfortable, private with oodles of leg, elbow and shoulder room.  There’s a USB hub to charge the iphone and listen to your own playlists, a universal power point for the laptops, ipads etc.

Hot towels, chandelier painted on the toilet wall,
Linen napkins and the best service I’ve ever experienced during flight.
The entertainment system is impressive. Touch screen everything with a very large assortment of Utube selections, music, movies, games, news.
Comfort packs (eye cover, eye cream, lip balm, moisturiser, toothbrush, toothpaste, ear plugs, socks, and a pen) and large warm blankets are provided along with bottled water, and as much wine as you’d like. I really can’t recommend Premium Economy enough. I’ve heard it described as the 90’s standard of business class.

As we boarded the plane, Business and Premium Economy get to load before the Economy class. Those in Economy walk through our area to get to theirs and I heard a lot of ooohhhhhs and ahhhhhhhs and wishful thoughts outloud about our seats.

Did I mention the service? Now that is first class.  And I’m impressed with the airline meals.
(pic menu)

I watched the evening colours rise even tho we are heading east. Lovely clouds.

I’ve been up since 5.20am local time and I’m not sure which time zone I’m in atm, but suffice to say I hope to sleep well. I am weary, comfortable and warm.

Nite nite.

Ps. In-flight tip for return trip – pack spare hankies and anti histamines.  L

26th Jan   LA time.

There was a double space seat spare in the centre of the plane that was empty. These are designed for the couples in flight. I stretched out on them to sleep without much luck. Despite the eye mask and ear plugs I didn't sleep much. About 2 hours I reckon, and only lightly as that. I think I am just too excited and my mind just won't switch off.

So I got up, got the laptop out, plugged it in (yes, there's a universal power point in the Space Seats, and worked on some images for awhile. While in flight I didn't have any internet service, so I put my blog notes in Word to copy paste later on.

Before the rush of others waking up and going to the loos, I decided to have a wash, teeth, hair. Afer sitting back down and working on a few more images, others were beginning to stir. My eyes were beginning to feel a bit gritty and I was starting to feel a bit tired so I thought I'd have another go at sleep. I think I managed an hours power nap, which is better than none.   So for the total flying time of of the LA leg where I hoped to get to sleep, I really only managed 3 hours out of the 13 hour flight.

I can very thoroughly recommend anyone to fly Air New Zealand. Service is spot on and the flight really was so pleasant. I would really really really encourage to fly Premium Economy. It was just the best way, not cattle class and without the expense of flying business class.

Glimpsed the Hollywood sign upon descent.

Customs/Border Security was a bit tedious. It was very warm in the aged airless room where we shuffled through. Very antiquated building with non smiling staff. All dressed in black and intimidating as hell. Especially the Negro ladies. They looked so stern. I think watching the odd snippet of Border Security on TV put the wind up me. The actual process didn't take long at all.

Once thru there, picking up my suitcase and tripod bags (very glad to see they both made it all the way thru from Lincoln without me seeing them at all) I headed outside to catch the shuttle bus to the Ramanda Hotel, Anaheim.  (so close to Disney Land).  It was all very noisy outside waiting for the bus pickup and the cars travel so fast. I must admit to feeling a little bit intimated by the thought of just me by myself mostly because I discovered that my Travel Sim Card that I bought at home and set up wasn't working. Up until Auckland I was working on WiFi wherever I could find it, but now I couldn't even find that.

I was a bit concerned as I wasn't able to contact Lee-Anne and Danni, couldnt txt, skype or ring home. Couldn't Facebook msg. It was useless as a house brick in my hand. I was fairly pissed off with it as it was all set to just work when I landed!!!!!! Despite much fiddling and playing with a few settings that I could think of (instruction booklet that came with the SIM was in my suitcase and I didn't really get the chance to unlock the strap and padlocks to open that up. So I just shoved it in my pocket and thought dark thoughts about it.

It was with the greatest of relief to see them in the carpark outside reception when the bus pulled up. Lee-anne guessed I must have been having phone issues and had rung the shuttle bus company to find out the drop off time so she and Danni could be there to meet me.. Bless her for her thoughtfulness.

I was tired, wilted and my eyes felt like sandpaper. But I was also so damn excited to meet Lee-Anne and Danni in real life, to be on the other side of the world and just to think that I did it on my own. When they suggested a late afternoon exploring and seeing the sights of Hollywood with our personal driver, well hey, sleep could wait. I could do that later!!!! After dumping off the bags, rearranging the gear back into the camera back pack and a much enjoyed shower, we were off.

The cars whizz along so fast. 140km on the freeways and you take off so quick and rev the engine heaps to get up to speed fast when merging or moving into lanes. Mind you if you need to change lanes the car behind seems to always allow room to do that. More so than they do at home.  And it felt just damn wrong to be on the right side of the road. And when it was my turn to sit in the front of the car, I went to get in on the wrong side. whoops.

Lots of ribbons of concrete for all the exits of the freeways. I'll try to get a pick of them tomorrow to explain what I mean.

First stop. Photographing the Hollywood sign and the vista of LA. There apparently was very little smog today so it was the best day to see across the valley to the sign.  On some days you can't see it at all. Blrrrrgh.

We headed into Hollywood Boulevard to see the sights. Near the Chinese Temple I jumped out of the car that was held up in traffic to photograph it. The car was next to the curb and the driver was looking for a place to park. I said to Danni and Lee-Anne that Id stay by the temple to find me when they had found a park round the corner. They agreed as I was moving out of the car. After I got out, and the car moved on, and I took the shots I wanted. I then thought, oh dear, that was a bit stupid. My phone is still out of action and I had no way of contacting them, or them me.

And then of all things, I had some Negro fella try to flog me a Sony Digi Cam. He asked do you speak English. And I replied Nup, He said where you from, I replied Australia. He laughed and said, ahhhh you do speak English. I just smiled and moved on.  I just about shat myself thinking about it after. 

After waiting and looking around where I was for about 10 mins Lee-Anne found me. Phew. We walked the Star of Fame pavements, I had photos with the Transformers and Jack Sparrow (he was a bit yummy too) and came across the place that had Michael Jackson's family do his shoe impressions in the concrete only that day. It had been all roped off, with carpet on the ground and seating and all the cabling and equipment you could think of. The whole block had been shut off to traffic. When we got there it was all being packed up. The event had been at 11am that morning.

We got back into the car and drove along Sunset Boulevard, stopped at the Beverly Hill sign post so I could climb it for a photo, past the Bel Air entrance to the Estate, and high tailed it down to Santa Monica Beach to catch the sunset.

We got to Santa Monica Pier just in time to catch the colours of the clouds and the tide was out which gave fantastic wet sand to reflect the hues. I got my Rossi boots wet in the ripples to catch the photo I wanted.  (Nailed it!!!!!)

I took long exposure pics of the Cirque Tent and the Ferris Wheel on the Pier.  

I do believe we might head back to the Pier another night to enjoy it and have tea there. As it was, the driver was asked to have us for 5 hours and we were near the end of our booking time. He does drive a shuttle bus of his, so Lee-Anne had the thought of gathering a few of her contacts and having an evening there while we are here. Shit hot idea.

On the 2 hour trip back to the Ramanda (traffic was snailpace for most of it) I was just soooo tired. I was feeling lightheaded, and my head was nodding around a fair bit. I hadn't expected that it would take 2 hours to get back and I didn't go to the loo before leaving the Pier. There is no way you can stop on the Freeway and even thou I was getting a bit desperate I just had to wait until we cleared the snail pace freeways and got onto the road back to Anaheim. We did stop eventually at a Starbucks and I just ran in, and went straight into the empty mens loo as the ladies was being used. Ohhhh the relief. 

I had my first Java chip Frappcino while I was there. I think that's my ice coffee substitute. By the time we got back to the Ramanda, the caffeine had hit, and I was awake enough to download the photos off both cameras, sync the clocks on both cameras for ease of working images later, ring Backchat in Australia to sort out the phone (yahhhhoooooooo buckaroo) and have a bit of a yarn with Lee-Anne about things.

and then bed. Blissful bed.

sidenote- I probably wont be loading up a lot of images at this point. The wifi is dreadfully slow and as I shoot every shot in RAW it needs to be processed before I can load it up. For now, I am blogging when I can.  (all the above was done on the 27th in the morning while waiting for the other two to rise and shine)
I am taking pics with my phone and will be uploaded them onto Facebook when I can, into the Los Angeles Album.

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