The flight from Rarotonga to Los Angeles was a pretty nasty one. It didn’t leave until nearly 23:00 and then had a stop at Pape’ete in Tahiti. We had to leave the plane for an hour and sit in a, admittedly quite nice, transit lounge. Back on the plane our hopes of stretching out were scuppered by the arrival of someone in the third seat in our row. Damnit. The rest of my flight consisted of the usual uncomfortable shifting about. I discovered I could drop off if I lay down with my head in Gemma’s lap, but the circulation in my leg would be cut off and I’d be unable to feel it until I pumped my foot for about 20 minutes. I gave up.
Quite sensibly we had predicted what we’d be like after the flight. Although we’d arranged to go stay with Gemma’s cousin, we had booked into a Travellodge at LAX for our first night in the USA. We didn’t think it was fair to land on Gemma’s family all smelly and worn out and just wanting to go to bed. We rang Rachel (the aforementioned cousin) and arranged to be picked up the next day. Our first day in the USA wasn’t too exciting. We uploaded some photos to flickr, had dinner at the Denny’s restaurant attached to the hotel, channel surfed and slept.
In the morning Rachel came to pick us up and take us to her home in Yorba Linda, Orange County. We had an excellent couple of days just vegging out with the family and their lovely dog, Mitzi. We had a day out at Newport Beach, which I believe is the setting for The O.C. TV show. After a meal in a ‘50’s style diner, finished off with a pumpkin flavoured milkshake (super-nice by the way), we walked along another beach which was part of a state reserve. The beach was pretty cool, with some rock-pools full of anenomes and hermit crabs. As an added bonus we got a nice sunset thrown in. It was great to meet everyone and to have a chilled few days, as if the pacific islands hadn’t been chilled enough!