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!
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).