Day 1 & 2 Los Angeles

Day 1. In which #KiwiChickInUSA is sleep deprived and snarky. 

After an uneventful flight from NZ to Fiji, with a five hour layover in Nadi where I managed to get some words on my WIP down, we finally boarded our 10 hour flight to L.A. As usual I tried, and failed to fall asleep. In fact I think I was lucky to even dose, so by the time we were approaching LAX I was like a mama bear when someone steals her morning coffee along with her favourite cub. Waiting in long lines to clear customs was not fun, but a lovely border security lady who *sorry* was simply the nicest person I’ve ever encountered at a US airport took some of the sting out of the one hour wait. The heat was a shock to the system as we stepped out of the frantic LAX and collected the Jeep Cherokee rental—along with Bon Jovi blasting out of the rental car building’s speakers. Awesome but quite surreal – we have definitely arrived in the USA!

Back to reality after being trapped in a long hot drive on the I105 down to a dealer to check out a Dodge Challenger we’re looking at buying. So here’s the deal. DH has been e-mailing a salesman back and forth, negating a price and the salesmen KNEW we were coming in this afternoon from NZ to look at the car. What did we find when DH and I climbed into this car – a brand new car, btw…carpets hadn’t been vacuumed and were covered in dirt, there was traces of mud on the interior door, and from where I was sitting in the backseat, scuff marks on the back of both the passenger and driver’s seat. New, my ass. If that wasn’t bad enough, the salesman (not the one in contact with DH over e-mail) kept making excuses and saying things like ‘that’ll buff right out’. Uh huh.

He kept wanting us to fill out paperwork when we hadn’t even decided whether to buy this vehicle, and while in the showroom, he followed us around, keeping a good two-foot distance from us the whole time. I expected him to rugby tackle us if we made any move to leave…only he didn’t know what rugby was. The last straw was when he hovered over us while insisting we have a coffee, and then *twice* turned and spat into a rubbish bin. I think I threw up in my mouth a little, and I definitely didn’t enjoy that coffee. We’re staying in a hotel in Hawthorne, which reminded me of many that are featured in the TV series ‘Supernatural’. Maybe I’ll stop at the local market and stock up on salt…and I’m signing off after 20 something hours without sleep.

What this Kiwi Chick loved most about today: Arriving safely in the USA! Whoop whoop!

What this Kiwi Chick learned today: That I get snarky (at least on the inside) when dealing with insincerity and lack of professionalism.

 

Day 2 In which #KiwiChickInUSA meets a former marine & sees her teen idol.

Today was all about finding a car to do this road tripping thing in. My DH is a writer in his own right (member of the respected NZ Motoring Writers’ Guild) and is writing a book about driving a car around the US and then bringing it home to NZ – so research trip, right?! If you’re nosy, check out his FB page here: https://www.facebook.com/usa2nz/

After starting the day right with coffee and breakfast at a local Denny’s, we hit the road south to look at cars. I tell you, this Kiwi Chick is not used to the summer temperatures yet! Thank goodness the rental we’re driving has air-conditioning. Next stop, another car dealer, but this time we had a very cool salesman with a southern accent. I nearly shoved all our money at him just because he was polite, friendly and genuine – oh, and being an ex-marine kinda helped too, ha ha. Of course I had to restrain myself from peppering him with 101 questions, because, man in uniform, ladies!

IMG_4604

Today we saw a lot of this…

 

Did I mention it is HOT here? Even in the mid-eighties the temperature is still much warmer than Wellington summers. So with SPF 50 sun lotion on, DH and I hit the I5 toward Irvine Meadows Amphitheater where we’re seeing Bryan Adams perform. Not to fan-girl too much, but OMG, he was my ultimate favorite as a teenager. I had his posters on my wall and recorded his songs off the radio before I could afford to buy his album on tape. Yes, I am that old. And boy, did we get a surprise at how good our seats were – I could’ve almost thrown my knickers onto the stage and hit him. Though I didn’t. I’m all about restraint and not getting arrested. It was an amazing concert and now I get why some of my writer friends are into writing rock stars! He had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand, and the sound of the whole amphitheater singing the opening verse of ‘Heaven’…gave me chills (and maybe my eyes got a little nostalgically damp also).

IMG_4621

DH and I pre-awesomeness.

DH and I pre-awesomeness.

 IMG_4624

 

What this Kiwi Chick loved most about today: Bryan Adams making me sing and dance and laugh and cry like no one was watching – all the feels.

What this Kiwi Chick learned today: Vending machines don’t like $20 notes. That it is categorically impossible to walk into Walmart for 1-2 items and not come out with three bags full of stuff.

What food this Kiwi Chick loved today: (Because a lot of y’all e-mailed to recommend restaurants – many thanks) A turkey and avocado sandwich from Togo’s – one of the nicest I’ve ever had.

And now this Kiwi Chick (who is still wide awake at 12.28am – curse you jet lag!) better try to get some sleep.

 

 

Comments (16)

  1. Sharen sherman

    Reply

    So sorry about the car salesman moron. Although I have nothing to do with car sales, I have learned to walk away immediately if I am not treated as an intelligent consumer. That guy must have crawled out from under a rock and needs to return. My husband and I were treated superbly by the Kiwi folks on our trips to New Zealand and certainly hope we in this country do the same. Let me know if your journey brings you anywhere near Charleston, SC…we are about one hour drive away. Charleston has some of the best restaurants, too numerous to name. Enjoy your travels..this country is so diverse in landscape, people’s and culture.
    Sharen

    • Tracey Alvarez

      Reply

      No worries, Sharen. Normally I would’ve handled the situation better (in the end I saw the funny side!) but DH and I were exhausted. We have been to Charleston in 2007 – LOVED it – but unfortunately I don’t think we’ll be back that way this time. Hopefully next trip! 😉

      Cheers,
      Tracey A.

  2. Rhonda Brant

    Reply

    So glad you two got past the bad experience and moved on up to a good one with Bryan Adams. I love his music!!!! Look forward to seeing you in a few days. Be safe on out CA roads!

    • Tracey Alvarez

      Reply

      Hi Rhonda,
      Really, this guy was just a blip on my radar and soon gone. Actually more funny than anything else, he could be a character in Seinfeld that DH & I are watching back in NZ! Looking forward to seeing you too.

      Tracey.

      • Rhonda Brant

        Reply

        Are you a wine lover? Red, White? Hope you and DH are having a great time so far!!!

        • Tracey Alvarez

          Reply

          Hi Rhonda,
          Not really a wine lover, will just have a glass of white occasionally. And thanks, DH and I are having a fantastic time. I’m already dreading the end of the trip!

          Cheers,
          Tracey.

  3. Reply

    Oh, I’m looking forward to sharing your road trip! It’s so generous of you to allow those of us back home to enjoy the sunshine and the rock stars! Not so much the jet-lag, the pushy sales people and border control!
    So now you know why I love writing my dirty rockers….! Bwahaha! #pantythrowinggirls
    Bryan Adams is great. I’m so glad you managed to keep your panties on… and probably so’s your husband 😉
    Enjoy your sleep.
    Can’t wait for adventures from Day 3. 😀

    • Tracey Alvarez

      Reply

      Thanks for stopping by Toni! I’ve kept blogs all three times previously during our US adventures and it’s fun to look back on them, and more fun sharing my adventures with people.
      Hah – fortunately no panties were thrown (mine or anyone else’s) and oh yeah, Bryan still has charisma in spades!

      Tracey.

  4. Kate Sparks

    Reply

    You can check the car’s history by going to http://www.carfax.com/ and check the VIN [vehicle identity number located on the driver’s side viewed via front windshield]. The dealership may have used the vehicle as a day rental/sub vehicle while a client’s personal car is in for service.. or they could have brought it used.

    • Tracey Alvarez

      Reply

      Thanks Kate, we’ve got it under control thanks to DH & all his research. 🙂

      Tracey A.

  5. Rita Rae

    Reply

    Tracey – when we got our mustang we went to every place in the Fort Worth area and walked out of all of them & my husband really embarrassed me tearing up a check in front of the dealer! But, we got it in Arlington, half way to Dallas! Now we are waiting for our Lincoln Continental in Irvine in September. We are going to half to take lessons on it I bet! It parrell parks, can you believe it? Has 19 speakers, 46 adjustments on the seat, etc., etc. but, we will probably not get another car as my husband keeps cars forever! But, good luck on your trip and keep writing. How about the Righteous Brothers? That was my time!

    • Tracey Alvarez

      Reply

      Hi Rita,
      Thankfully we managed to get our car without too much more awkward/embarrassing incidents, but then again, I stayed in the car and let DH deal with the paperwork etc. I’ve been in one of those self-parking cars, it freaked me out a little. 😉

      Cheers,

      Tracey A.

  6. Sandi Koch Bedell

    Reply

    So glad you went to Togo’s, miss them like crazy here in Kentuckiana. My daughter and I are originally from the San Francisco Bay Area. Try In and Out if you haven’t yet. Good burgers you can get with grilled onions and GREAT fresh fries! Enjoy! Unfortunately you’ve landed in the middle of a nation wide heat wave. Love your updates. Have fun.

    • Tracey Alvarez

      Reply

      Hi Sandi,
      Haven’t had In and Out Burgers yet – hopefully they are on the East Coast too. And just our luck about the heatwave! 🙂

      Kind regards,
      Tracey A.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I am not a robot *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.