On an environmental level, LA was a very bad way to get to South American, unfortunately for the environment though, life doesn't always work out in it's favour. So, after a 16 hour flight crossing the international date line, we arrived in LA 4 hours before we had taken off in Auckland. We were lucky to be met by my old friend and colleague, Mike who I last saw in Bristol/Edinburgh while working at Computershare. Mike is now working in LA and was kind enough to take the day off to show us highlights in our 24 hour stop over.
At the slight risk of making Mike out to be some sort of saint, he really did make our visit to LA worth the detour, after the long flight which was designed solely to mess with our body clocks. Luckily, as well as Mike being a very generous host, he was also very patient as we spoke to him in half sentences and gestures that he interpreted as real English.
First stop for us was a camping shop which was the highlight of most shopping days in New Zealand, but in LA wasn't so much a highlight as an essential trip. Seth was able to get some new walking boots which should help with our intended treks in South America. Next Mike took us to the observatory. In theory an observatory in a major city like LA is a bad idea but LA being LA did it differently and it was great. We had an amazing view over the city and of the famous Hollywood sign, and then they had a lot of information about the sun rather then the moon and stars, it was inspired. It really was a great way to see the city.
As superficial as this sounds (and is) there is no way I could go to LA without seeing where the stars go for the Oscars and the famous Beverly Hills homes, luckily with Mike as an expert guide we saw all of this. It might not be real in the real world, but it is real here and it was great to see. The film studios were smaller then we expected, and much more central to town, but the shops were just as glamorous and the houses (not even the ones of famous people) just as big. We were only there for 24(ish) hours but it really is a world in itself and we will be forever grateful to Mike for taking the time to show us this city - there is no doubt, we wouldn't have been able to see it without his help.
Next stop was another long flight all the way to Santiago in Chile...