A Martyr in LA by Jammy

What? Wales playing in LA?  A part of me thought “oh no”.  I had already committed to going to China and thought that would be my only big trip of 2018 but I’ve never been to America.  A few of the boys did their usual “Yes I’m all over that” but when it came down to it I expected the inevitable fact that I’d be going on me todd.  The boys love to tease though, more than those girls behind the bay windows in Hamburg.

The first thing to sort out after flight and hotel was the ESTA visa.  Now this was a fairly straight forward and cheap process compared to the rigmarole of a Chinese visa, and probably something we are all likely to have to get used to post-Brexit. I say likely because who knows what’s going to happen with that but that’s as political as I’ll get here.

So my journey to Gatwick began. First by train then a night in a Travelodge before my 6am flight.  I flew with Norwegian Air and got a cheap flight.  Norwegian are an airline I’d recommend but they seem to have adopted the Ryanair model of cheap flights with subsequent charges for everything.  Hand luggage only for me so I get on my flight and off I go.  10 and a half hours later I land in LAX.  Going through US customs and hoping my visa was all sorted I reached the finger print machine. Now this was an ordeal.  No matter how hard I tried I just couldn’t get the machine to record my finger print.  My nerves and my head were not helped when a customs officer rebuked me because my hands were sweating too much.  I had enough about me to hold back a sarcastic retort which would have been along the lines of “sorry love, but perhaps it’s because I’ve been on a flight from the UK for the last 11 hours having woken up at 3am to get to the airport”.  I thought I’m in Trump’s America now though so it’s probably a good idea to shut up and get out of here.

So off to Santa Monica I go.  A rather helpful tourist information officer gave me the low down on how to get where I needed to go.  Now I was warned beforehand that the public transport system in LA was poor and boy were they right.  Absolutely terrible in fact.  Still, I get to Santa Monica on a train system which made Valley Lines look decent.

Now I’m not one for the heat but boy was it hot. Venice beach was spectacular and my feet were burnt by the end of the day.  I made the decision after talking to a regular traveller to hire a car.  Now this was the first time I’d driven outside the UK so the first time I’d ever driven on the right and also the first time I’d driven an automatic car so I was rather nervous.  But was it a good decision, enabling me to catch a glimpse of Hollywood sign and do the Walk of Fame which I wouldn’t fancy doing again after dark. A trip to Malibu Beach was also made along with Rodeo Drive.
I met up with Wolvesy and a trip to the baseball was arranged.  LA Dodgers play at the impressive Dodgers stadium.  The Americans certainly know how to put on a show and there’s a spectacular firework display at the end of the game.

And onto the football game itself.  It’s often described as the worse part of any trip but I’m not one for subscribing to that theory.  It was played at the world-renowned Pasadena Rose Bowl where The Beatles have played.  What a stunning venue! The finest I’ve been in.  The Americans like to do everything big and boy have they done it here.  There were 400 Welsh fans among 80,000 Mexicans who certainly love the weed by the way.    They also love to fight amongst themselves too. Club rivalry which is something we’ve seen creeping in with us too. Now if you had told me that day that the Mexicans would have gone on to beat the Germans in the World Cup after this rather dour 0-0 game then I’d have assumed you’d spent too much time in the Mexican end smoking their weed.  The game and another trip was over.  South America next year please drive.



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