This very day, 365 days ago, marked the beginning of my Summer vacation 2011. Certainly a holiday I’ll never ever forget. It was my second venture out to the U S of A but it was my first ever solo trek (well, I was going to meet my cousin to travel in US itself) across Pacific Ocean. But alas! 15.5 hours later, and more than 15,000km displaced, we have touchdown in the world famous LAX. Of course, I’m keeping a keen lookout for any celebrities but no such luck came my way. Oh wells.
I’ve got to say, it was kinda intimidating clearing the US customs alone and security is at an all time high. When I was there, US was in the midst of the budget woe and hence the airport was seriously understaffed to handle the inflow of passengers. A supposedly quick and painless 30minutes process turned into a 3 hour long wait to clear the customs!
Once customs was cleared, I slipped right into the American lifestyle and took public transport to my hostel! Still remember that I met this incredibly nice lady on the subway who gave me a truckload worth of useful advice to stay safe from thugs in LA. I still thank God for sending her to me.
3 week itinerary for US West Coast Summer Vacay:
1) Los Angeles
2) Las Vegas!
+ Grand Canyon
3) Back to LA!
+ Universal Studios Hollywood
4) San Diego
5) San Franciso
+ Napa Valley
The three weeks I spent in the US has taught me tonnes of valuable life lessons and brought my independence to a whole new level. It has opened my eyes to a whole new world. Even though I’ve been to the East Coast of the US (NY etc) before, the West was just a whole new adventure and story to tell, places to see people to meet. And especially so as I stayed in hostels and met people from all around the world and managed to clear their misconception that Singapore is NOT in Malaysia or China! I’m not kidding! They all were serious when they asked me “Oh Singapore is in China right?”. So yea.
Time passed so quickly in the US that it didn’t register to me that 3 weeks had passed when I was preparing to head to the airport to get a transfer flight back to LAX as I ended my trip in San Francisco. Once again, God was with me as drama ensued from the notorious domestic flights delay in US. Had no idea that my domestic flight was delayed but thankfully I overheard a gentleman beside me asking. So I found out and somehow, by the grace of God, and even though my flight was a no change (in details, ie timimg) flight, the airline gave a concession and just managed to squeeze me onto an earlier flight (which happened to be delayed, so the “earlier flight” departed at the time of my original flight). If not I would have missed my flight back to Singapore!
Every single memory from 2011 Summer Vacation is still strongly etched in my mind and probably will stay on for a pretty long time!