Monday, January 30, 2017

Journey to Longbeach California

Subtitle: A 30 Hour Journey is never Fun

Today we are time travelling back to December 30th when Marcus and Agata started a Journey to Longbeach California via Istanbul.

The Relative Value Argument
The proposal is along the following lines:  We are prepared to consider any expense.  However if the difference between Doing it Yourselves or Choosing a Commodity Option is preposterously different from the Best in Class, we pretty much always go economy

So Air Travel Then
In our case we selected Turkish Airlines to get us from Geneva Switzerland to Los Angeles California because at half the price of the other options we thought that the extra travel time would be suffered.... We will see

 Not the best of starts.  Some twat next to us on the Geneva train with their dirty shoes all over a seat that somebody else will need to sit on.  Is it too much to ask for them to take their shoes off?

Turkish Airlines
Our summary of the plane and service for the flight to Istanbul and then Istanbul to Los Angeles is

+ The food served was great
+ Yes, they do serve free alcohol even offering a Turkish Red
+ The entertainment system was an individual screen linked to a choice of over 100 movies and other attractions.   Simply overwhelmingly good
- Marcus and Agata always try to do some limbering up exercises on planes.  As discretely as possible.   Today given that less than 10 hours after landing in LAX we have to run a marathon, we need to keep focused.  Unfortunately the staff objected to us doing our subtle exercised.  Hmm.
- The airline forgot to mention that to get to the StopOver hotel we would have to buy an exit visa from the airport.  It turns out that was the least of our troubles

Chaos in Istanbul
When we landed we found the airport full of people.  I mean full!

 If this was 24 hours later when Istanbul town was the centre of a major terrorist attack, we can imagine a different sort of problem.

Anyway weather difficulties had cancelled and delayed many flights.  Long queues for stop over hotels were in evidence.  Most people had been waiting over 4 hours.  The officials did not have any clear plan or system to allocate hotel accommodation.  And now we were competing for our agreed room with hundreds of unexpectedly delayed passengers.

At some point in a long, random, queue some barriers opened and a confused crowd including us surged forward & spent another hour getting on a bus without a clue as to where it was going.

 Arrival at a big hotel in Istanbul.  

Personally I do hate it when I have any sort of Religious indoctrination or literature forced on me in my hotel room.

 Marcus has lectured in Istanbul and I do recall spending time in Nightclubs there instead of sleeping.  Tonight, sleep is a priority.  The next flight is over 12 hours long.

Due to previous Terrorist attack all your bags are scanned in an additional security check for all passengers going into the airport. We had to wait in a bloody freezing queue for over 15 minutes just to get in.

12 hours later ...  It was cramped and sweaty, but that was to be expected.

American Landing Annoyances

There were several and I talked already about it

It is late at night and we are tired and we have a marathon in less than 12 hours time.  But now is no time to spend too much money.

We decide it will be the Metro for us!

As planned we have only dual rucksacks each, no wheelie bags.  So we are pretty mobile which is handy to get up some large flights of stairs  (no escalators) at several points of our journey.

The Metro is full of what Marcus can only describe as rather desperate but harmless looking people.  It is sad to see the underbelly of American society this early in our holiday.

With out 3 SIM from the UK working providing Internet we were able to figure out what the best Metro exit stop was and then even catch a bus.

Rather than stay at a hotel we took time in the planning phase to research where our forthcoming marathons would be located in LongBeach California.   We planned

- To pick an AirBnb accommodation that was walkable to the first marathon
- Near washing machine facilities
- Near shops would be nice
- That we can get to arriving from LAX airport 

We stayed at Heidi's house 

and here is her profile  Her flat met our above criteria well.  We did not save too much money over a hotel but we did get a small apartment all to ourselves in the location we wanted. We paid upfront and were guaranteed the accommodation.

By 23.00 on Friday December 30th Marcus and Agata exhaustedly climbed into bed.   We have to get up to run a Marathon in 6.5 hours.