Well we nearly didnt even get to the US! As some of you know, we had changed our flight tickets out of the USA a long time ago. To get into the USA you need a ticket out, and the only one we have is dated May 9th. We changed our flights whilst we were in New Zealand, and because Virgin Atlantic don't have an office there we were to collect out tickets at LAX when we arrived here. Knowing we might have a problem, i phoned Virgin in the UK. "No", they said, "You'll have no problems. Just keep the outdated ticket and explain that you are collecting your ongoing tickets from our ticket desk". However, when we went to check in with Air New Zealand at Rarotonga Airport/Shack we were told that if they couldnt get confirmation that we had an outgoing flight, we wouldnt be getting on the plane. We had no proof, so we had a very nervous 1 1/2 hour wait whilst they rang around. It was Saturday night in the Cook Islands, meaning it was Sunday in most places meaning everywhere was shut. With only one flight a week to the US from Rarotonga, we considered our very limited options-sleeping on the beach! Air New Zealand called the UK, USA, Tahiti, Hawaii and got no answer. Finally they tried New Zealand and someone somewhere said we did have a flight. We were saved! When we got to LAX the much-hyped immigration there didnt prove too bad, though they do have both of our finger-prints and mug-shots on file.
We made our way to our accommodation in Venice Beach, it was Sunday meaning the beachfront was packed! Coming from Rarotonga (population 8,000) to Los Angeles (population 12,000,000) was a bit of a shock! We had a quick stroll down Ocean Front Walk dodging the hundreds or cyclists, roller-skaters, and joggers before heading back for a rest.
The next day we walked around Venice Beach again which was thankfully less crowded with it being a monday. We had a look at famous Muscle Beach, watched some locals play "Paddle Tennis" and then walked to Santa Monica. We then booked ourselves onto all the tours we wanted to do, Universal Studios, Disneyland and Sea World.
Universal Studios was good, not too many kids and the queues weren't too long. We did all the classic rides: Jurrasic Park, Back to the Future, The Mummy Returns. And i had a chat with Donkey from Shrek!
Disney was also amazing, though far too many kids (though at Disneyland i guess you cant really complain) who were far too overexcited. The place itself is impeccable, so clean and the staff (or Castmembers as they're called) so friendly! They had Fast-track ticketing which helped with the queues here so that wasnt too bad either. We watched the famous parade, met lots of characters, watched Mickey fight the the bad guys in Fantasmic, and finally watched the fire-works above the Princess Palace.
The follwing day we went to Sea World in San Diego. This was a longer trip and we got stuck in traffic a little (traffic in LA is awful, despite the fact the highways have 7, yes 7 lanes!). The best parts here were the shows, typically American and over the top (with slogans such as "Nothing is impossible if you believe") but great fun.
The next day we braved the buses (a couple had a full blown argument right next to us- "You're nothing compared to some of the men i've been with"- nice) and went to Hollywood and Downtown. We walked along the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and peered through the smog to look at the Hollywood sign.
The following day we hopped on the bus again (this time some kids were trying to sell a woman a dog) and went to Beverley Hills . Now this really was nice, we walked down famous Rodeo Drive before setting off for the Beverley Centre for some shopping! We didnt buy too much, having not shopped for a year whilst saving meant it was all very strange!
The next day we rose early for an American Breakfast (pancakes) before catching our shuttle to San Francisco.