And then it was time to go home. A Los Angeles departure via the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX, a seemingly endless long flight aboard the comfortable Airbus of Emirates, an overnight stay in the hotel at Dubai International Airport, another long flight down to Cape Town, and being welcomed home by Chantelle and the girls.
Honestly, I have no idea why I put off sorting through and posting all the content from my USA work trip for over two years now, but I think that I was simply overwhelmed by just how much content I had managed to generate over the course of ten short days. This was after all a work trip, but somehow ended up being the most fantastic tourist adventure as well (which I can only thank my two US colleagues Johann and Carl ever so much for).
Anaheim, Disneyland, NACUFS ’16, Angel Stadium, The Queen Mary, Venice Beach, Disney California Adventure Park, San Diego, Sabre Springs, La Jolla, The Torrey Pines Gliderport, Del Mar, Cabrillo National Monument, USS Midway, Embarcadero, Shogun Kobe, Old Town Trolley Tours, Old Town San Diego, Hotel Del Coronado, Balboa Park, San Diego Zoo – I mean, what more could one ask for?
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All in all USA #2016 was an absolute personal delight, and I hope that maybe some of all this personal record keeping might just be a spark of travel inspiration for you in the future. Happy travels.
As per usual when you fly with Emirates, the trip gets split into two segments, the first being the 9 hour long flight from Cape Town to their massive home base hub at Dubai International Airport in the United Arab Emirates.
Apart from the length of the flight, the first leg went well for me. Loads of in-flight entertainment to pick and choose from on Emirates’ ICE system, food as always was decent enough, and thanks to my strategy of picking aisle seats in order to give me the most leg space with my still not 100% leg, I sat pretty comfortably for the most part.
Happily, I wasn’t completely out of my element once in Dubai International Airport, having learnt a lesson or two from the last time that Ryan and I had found ourselves there.
For starters, I didn’t get lost and successfully navigated my way around the massive complex (Ryan would be amazed), secondly, I didn’t have anything in my luggage that would set off flags during the security check (again, Ryan would be amazed), and most important of all, I was in my designated boarding area with plenty of time to spare!
Of course though, the real test of the journey was now here. That 16 hour long flight from Dubai to Los Angeles.
Yes, the Airbus A380-800 is certainly a comfortable plane to be flying in, but 16 hours? Now there’s a long time to be stuck in a confined space! (Incidentally, this route is currently the longest distance commercial A380 route in operation).
Nevertheless, similar to the first leg, this second half of the trip went pretty smoothly for me as well, and as an added bonus, the fact that we flew over the North Pole region to get there was a pretty cool thing too!
Touchdown. I was in the United States of America.
Naturally, it didn’t take long for the first Stars and Stripes flag to make its appearance, and a relatively quick and painless trip through security and customs had me collecting my bag and stepping out of the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX and into Los Angeles.
Well not really, no.
My SuperShuttle bus arrived right outside the terminal, meaning that I didn’t technically step out into Los Angeles. Still, I got to see the dreary grey concrete that makes up most of Los Angeles from the shuttle’s front seat (I lucked out in getting that), so that counts, right?
(Hint, Los Angeles is not particularly pretty. Large swathes of it is in essence a slab of concrete, which you’ll see as you head out down the highways.)
Nevertheless, I was in full on tourist mode, my mouth wide open as I took in all the sights of the area as our bus whizzed on down towards Anaheim, the real destination for the actual business part of my being here in the first place.
Eventually we turned into South Manchester Avenue in Anaheim (early evening if I remember correctly) where I hopped out the bus, thanked the driver for his wealth of local information, and headed into the Holiday Inn Anaheim Resort Area , my home base for this first leg of my trip.
(In case you are wondering about the unwieldy name, it’s because we’re in Anaheim which houses both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park. In other words, prime hotel estate, and thus multiple Holiday Inn establishments in the area!)
Greeted by a entrance wall decked out in original Disney artwork, I checked in, unpacked my bag, took a quick peek around the hotel and its amenities (nice pool, small gym, cool adjacent sports bar/restaurant called Burger Theory) and then hit the road, eager to properly stretch my legs and take in some American sights before the darkness descended!
So I took a leisurely stroll down Katella Avenue, one of the main roads leading up to Disneyland and also the Anaheim Convention Centre (where the expo was to be held), enjoying the beautifully maintained sidewalks and taking in all the interesting… Americanisms around me.
I turned around at the giant Moreton Bay Fig outside the convention centre, and because at this stage I was still walking around blindly (i.e. I hadn’t yet checked out any maps), headed straight back down the same way that I had come.
For some reason I decided that my first meal in America should be a fast food item, and as things turned out (i.e the restaurant was slap bang at the end of my route), this then would be a burrito from Del Taco – for which I was mercilessly teased for the rest of the trip by Johann and Carl.
Following that, and now eager to sample a selection of commercial beers and snacks in the comfort of my room before turning in for the night, I then hopped into this dodgy little Chinese-run shop (called Satellite Market), which ended up being a place that I would visit more than once whenever my snack supply started running low!
And of course, as expected following that 5 km walkabout after all those hours upon hours of travelling… I slept like a log. #USA2016
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(This is where the hotel is in case you’re interested)
Related Link: Holiday Inn Anaheim Resort Area
To be fair, the ‘vs’ in this post title is completely misleading – but it just so happens that I’ll be experiencing both the Emirates Boeing 777-300ER and the Emirates Airbus A340-300 on my trip from Cape Town to Japan and back again (with stop-over in Dubai) – which kicks off this morning I might add!
Both planes came out in the early 1990s and both carry more or less the same amount of people, so it will be interesting to compare the flights across the two. Three out of the four legs of the journey will take place on the slightly more modern Boeing 777-300ER, though when I remember that each leg is roughly 10 hours in length, my excitement for these flights diminishes ever so slightly. (That’s a lot of flying to NOT particularly be looking forward to.)
Still, the Emirates in-flight entertainment system looks promising, so hopefully the time goes by faster than what I’m dreading…
The Boeing 777 is a family of long-range wide-body twin-engine jet airliners developed and manufactured by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. It is the world’s largest twinjet and has a typical seating capacity for 314 to 451 passengers, with a range of 5,235 to 9,380 nautical miles (9,695 to 17,372 km). Commonly referred to as the “Triple Seven”, its distinguishing features include the largest-diameter turbofan engines of any aircraft, six wheels on each main landing gear, a circular fuselage cross-section, and a blade-shaped tail cone. Developed in consultation with eight major airlines, the 777 was designed to replace older wide-body airliners and bridge the capacity difference between Boeing’s 767 and 747. As Boeing’s first fly-by-wire airliner, it has computer-mediated controls; it is also the first entirely computer-aided designed commercial aircraft.
The 777-300ER (“ER” for Extended Range) is the C-market version of the -300. It features raked and extended wingtips, a wing aspect ratio of 9.0, a new main landing gear, reinforced nose gear, and extra fuel tanks. It also has a strengthened fuselage, wings, empennage, and engine attachments. The -300ER is powered by the GE90-115B turbofan, which is the world’s most powerful jet engine in service, with a maximum thrust of 115,300 lbf (513 kN). Its maximum range is 7,825 nautical miles (14,492 km), made possible by higher MTOW and increased fuel capacity. The -300ER can fly approximately 34 percent farther than the -300 with a full load of passengers and cargo. Following flight testing, aerodynamics refinements have reduced fuel burn by an additional 1.4 percent.
Number built: 1,212 through June 2014
Unit cost: 777-300ER: US$320.2 million
Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_777#777-300ER
The Airbus A340 is a long-range four-engine wide-body commercial passenger jet airliner. It was developed and produced by Airbus, a consortium of European aerospace companies, which is a subsidiary of Airbus Group (which was previously known as EADS). The A340 was assembled at Toulouse, France. It seats up to 375 passengers in the standard variants and 440 in the stretched -600 series. Depending on the model, it has a range of between 6,700 to 9,000 nautical miles (12,400 to 16,700 km). It is similar in design to the twin-engined A330 with which it was concurrently designed. Its distinguishing features are four high-bypass turbofan engines and three-bogie main landing gear.
The A340-300 flies 295 passengers in a typical three-class cabin layout over 6,700 nautical miles (12,400 km). This is the initial version, having flown on 25 October 1991, and entered service with Lufthansa and Air France in March 1993. It is powered by four CFMI CFM56-5C engines and uses the Honeywell 331–350[A] APU, similar to the -200. Its closest competitor is the Boeing 777-200ER.
The A340-300E, often mislabelled as A340-300X, has an increased MTOW of up to 275 tonnes (606,000 lb) and is powered by the more powerful 34,000 lbf (150 kN) thrust CFMI CFM56-5C4 engines. Typical range with 295 passengers is between 7,200 to 7,400 nautical miles (13,300 to 13,700 km).
Number built: 377
Unit cost: A340-300: US$238.0 million
Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airbus_A340#A340-300
(In case you are wondering just why I am so excited by this flight prospect, please take into account my love for planes and the fact that I have never ever flown overseas in my life before. That’s 34 years of looking up at the sky and marveling at these metal beasts of burden!)