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From east to west

Time to hit Carliforn-i-a!

sunny 25 °C
View Sarahs 30th birthday trip to USA on Sarlou's travel map.

I have an OK nights sleep but there is some kind of generator or air conditioning unit that is really noisy next to my room which is soooo loud, so quality of sleep is debatable!

I pack my bag and don't quite leave as early as I would have liked but my enthusiasm for early mornings is wearing off fast! I am eager to get my pictures online and keep facebook and this blog up to date, so I pay for internet access in my room, what happened to the free wi-fi everywhere?!?!

I have also decided that I no longer come under the bracket 'world traveller', meaning spending time washing my clothes is beneath me, so at about 10 I head to the shops to buy some essentials which should see me through to the end of the trip. I head down State street and get a few things. This time I venture to Filenes basement to find it is actually really good and very cheap. I get some goodies and have to stop myself from buying all the Blowfish shoe...mmm shoes!!! I also find a local jewellery shop whic is the same as the one in Boston but much bigger. It has a lot of the same stuff, I manage to find a ring that fits and I actually really like (only taken about 3 years)!
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I get carried away shopping and don't leave myself much time to get across to Willis tower (Sears tower as was, it changedin 2009 due to the building name rights being sold to a new company). I decide to get my bag from the hotel and walk across town. My hotel has a screen with all the flights on, appears mine is due on time, although 15 minutes later than the original time.
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Until now, this city is not very windy! Except I have no free hands and now I can't stop my dress blowing up, I'm sure some people get an eyeful, but theres not much I can do about it.

I head to Willis tower but decide walking is easiest and quicker than getting 2 metros, so off I go. Time is running out so I'm not sure if I will get to go up or not, depends on the queue, if I can get straight up, I should be OK. When I get there, there seems to be no queue and the woman says there isn't. However, when I get out of the lift, there are 100s in line waiting and so I go straight back up in the lift and walk out. I'm a bit dis-appointed to have not gone to the top as it has a big glass floor which you stand on, although I think that would have seriously freaked me out.

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It is the 5th largest building in the world (was once the tallest), although standing at the bottom it doesn't look that tall. I take some pictures and head to the metro to go to the airport. I get to the next block, but I have gone momentarily blonde band have been looking at the totally wrong line, which means I have to walk another few blocks! Time is ticking...

When I eventually getto the station platform, there is a crazy man singing about god but actually very funny. Another man starts talking to me, he explains he is homeless and sleeps in the station or on the trains. Hes soooo sweet and I feel so sorry for him. He asks if he can have my train ticket. It has about a day left on it so of course I hand it over. There is so much homelessness everywhere I have been, all quite sad really.

When I get on the metro, I count the stops 1...2...3......19!!! Oh my god, I think I might miss my plane, it didnt seem that many coming in!

I say goodbye to Barack Obama again (I don't even know if he was at his 2nd home (this is where he lived before the Washington DC!) and watch the Chicago skyline which is very nice. Willis tower stands taller than the rest, you can see its height from this angle much better. But my pleasure is short lived as I start to panic, watching my watch and checking the time constantly.

My plane is at 17:15 and I arrive at the airport at about 16:25. I get off the train and run towards terminal 2 crossing my fingers and toes. The airport is massive, it is one of the biggest airports in America and HQ for some of the biggest airlines so I'm worried about finding where I need to be without wasting time!

I get to the Delta desk and do the automatic check in, so far so good and get through, I feel lucky, but I think America is well set up for this, so many people travelaround (especially internally) that it seems like a well oiled machine. When I get through security I grab a drink and a sandwich (as I remember I'venot had anything today yet) and head to the gate and literally step strraight onto the plane. Its a tiny plane and seems quite old and rickety, with 2 + 2 seats (but they are so close I know the man next to me intimately). I sit and read my book for the 45 minute flight. The couple in front have 2 kids. The little boy is about 3 and so naughty, I feel like saying something. They are a stereo-typical Californian family and do nothing. I bite my tongue as its only a short flight....

The stopover is in Cincinatti where I have 45 minutes to kill.I look around the shops and buy myself a new thumb ring to replace mine as it has broken, pretty happy to have got two rings in one day!

The 2nd plane is much bigger. When boarding a lady asks me where I got my dress. I tell her H&M UK, she says I look so cute (whic makes me smile) she says its not as good in the US, although I'm sure they have the same stuff.

I get settled in my seat reading my book when...the family from the last flight get on and sit in front of me again and this isa 4 hour flight!!! The boy is called Larkin (what kind of name is that anyway?), he tears it up for about 2 hours, but eventually falls asleep thank god!

The flight is generally OK. When we land at LAX, there is congestion of planes in front of us, it takes about an hour for us to get a space to get off. People are starting to kick of because everyone is supposed to stay in their seats which is difficult for some people with kids. It kicks off with the stewards, but eventually we are back on land again.

When we get off, I head to collect my bag. Its absolute chaos, there are works going on and there are people everywhere. I wait at the carousel only to find it has changed. When my bag arrives, it is all ripped, but fixable (thank god I brought my sewing kit).

Outside is even worse than inside. Its about 11pm and I wait fro the bus that doesnt seem to want to come. All buses coming are full of people. I start to get really fed up and almost upset because I am tired. I call Rich to hear a friendly voice, but I actually want to cry, I just need to get to my hotel! There are cars, taxis, security and police everywhere, its good for a spot of people watching, but not much else.
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I realise that I can get a different bus so stand further down the ramp. Eventually after about an hour, I get a bus and I am on my way to downtown LA. It takes about 20 minutes to get to Union station and is too late for a metro so I get a taxi to my hotel.
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When I get to the hotel, it is such a relief to see that it is really nice! The bar area looks really modern and funky and when I get to my room it is gorgeous. A glass shower cubicle is in the middle of my room with a step up to the bed. I am so glad, it makes the journey here that little bit less horrible. I think about going to the bar, but judging on the looks I got from the Californian 'it' girls when I walked in, with no dress or heels, I think I would look really out of place. I decide not to bother and head to bed instead.
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Posted by Sarlou 16:55 Archived in USA Tagged chicago

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