Everything happened so quickly, I had the house boxed up (ready to move) and finished work (after a super fast handover) before shifting our all of our worldly possessions either into a container, my folks house or our bags for the Tahiti trip. Once this was complete we then cleaned and said goodbye to our lovely home, moved in with Mum, helped her get the house ready for Summer let’s and then jumped in the car once more for the airport. In addition the kids had a long weekend camping with their Dad and his family and I had a number of goodbye drink meet ups with good friends. By the time we got to the airport and rushed through security in the most comical way (I had a spanner and dive knife tucked away in my hand luggage, Mum had a number of toiletries and Liz forgot to empty her water bottle) we collapsed into our aeroplane seats and switched off to numerous films, meals, and sleep (plus wine for me!).
12 Hours later we landed in L.A. even more exhausted, jet lagged and looking forward to getting to Motel number one. Little did we know that we had a good few hours left to wait until that moment.
Upon entering the automated Immigration sorting system we were unexpectedly filtered into the extra long – you need to be interigated further – que. This took an extra three hours of painstaking queing and occured only because Mum accidently pressed print twice on the automated ID/passport machine….. we were all totally exhausted and after we lugged all of our kit out to the car rental shuttle and got a ride to the car we were please to be getting closer to that trusty motel bed. Of course it didn’t occur to me that they might not have our rental booking, or that the booking would not appear on their system for another hour and a half while we tried to figure out what on earth to do (It was 12am local time). Amazingly the only cars left that Avis had were 4 times the price we had already paid for our prebooked car. And of course because they didn’t have the booking we needed to pay the entire Bill- NO WAY! I couldn’t quite believe this was happening so after refusing to pay the extra and trying to shop around elsewhere (with two very tired kids camped out on the rental office floor and a confused and upset Mum), the attendant finally found our booking -miraculous!?!
All packed into the car, totally exhausted and ready for sleep we had missed three weeks prior (and since) we drove to the motel. It was an interesting experience hitting the LA freeway with it’s 5 or even 6 lanes in an unfamiliar car in the middle of the night surrounded by superfast vehicles with no apparent lane disiplines.
We arrived at the motel and I gave the woman behind the counter my booking reference she quite unapologetically said that the booking had been cancelled and that we needed to go else where as their systems where down and they couldn’t check anyone in. We have to do what!?!? The unremorseful, I couldn’t care less expression on the woman’s face left me speechless…. I walked out.
Another hour later (7 hours after we landed) we found a motel, rolled into bed and passed out before our heads hit the pillows.
What a trip!
Luckily the next two weeks were fantastic and writing this seems incredibly comical, a long lost memory. I am very lucky to have two super cool kids who don’t complain and just went with it, crashing on the floor if needed or chatting away keeping everything positive. They are the perfect travelling companions.