Friday, June 25, 2010

America, here we are

We were very glad to arrive in LA.  There was a longish wait at immigration, but finally our finger  and thumbprints were taken, and there were no problem with ESTA visa waiver - we didn't even need the printout I had ready.   We had no problem getting our bags thanks to Fish: Cricket and I were walking around not seeing Cricket's bag but it was the first one Fish had collected so Fish was looking for his own bag. It was a longer line at customs although when we got to the point, the actual procedure to get through was very quick. Turned on phones and found we had local services, thank you AAPT.

We asked a couple of people and found the domestic terminal (Alaska airlines) rather quickly and within walking distance. Used a machine outside the terminal to get boarding passes and start checkin of bags (feeling proud of myself for use of new-to-me technology). Completed checking inside then entered line for security passage to gates.  Long line.  We could have taken our little suitcases as well as our backpacks as carryon, saving $20 each but we knew this before we left and had brought toiletries which were not permitted in carryon. We were early for flight so after finding our gate we had tea at Burger King, having forgotten that American "large" meals would be too large. 

During the flight I tried Gogo internet which was free on Alaska airline at the moment, and had no problem connecting, but I was too tired to think of what to write where and to whom. It was also the wrong time of day to communicate with anyone.

There was hardly anyone at airport in Portland when we arrived (11:30pm)ish, so we followed signs nervously to baggage claim, which was right near the exit and friendly staff helped us find the taxi rank, as Sarah had told us the hotel did not have a shuttle (perhaps she meant at that time of night). I wasn't sure the taxi driver had understood which hotel to take us to, but he got us to the right one and my first tip was incidental as the $20 bill I had was a good tip over the cost of the fare.

The night superintendent at Hilton Garden Inn Portland Airport was a welcome and sympathetic sight.  There was some confusion over our rooms as he saw in the computer only a room with one bed and no spare, certainly not the connecting rooms Sarah had told us about.  He changed our room, then when we arrived at it he rang through to apologise for the confusion as he had found another booking under Cricket's name.  We ended up with a second room down the hall, a king bed for me and double each for the boys.  My key wouldn't work and on the way down to sort that a staff member was on his way up with a letter of apology for the confusion and vouchers for complimentary breakfast. After showers, a quick email to Ursula as I had forgotten to send her a text about our safe arrival and it was now too late at night, we tried to sleep.

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