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2024 - February - Day 27 - LA to home

The overnight flight from Honolulu in the end only took 4 hours which meant we had little time to grab any sleep. Hawaiian airways in the non-extra comfort seats were closer to Ryanair rather than Virgin Upper Class. Food was available at a price and we were apparently offered one complimentary hot drink, which Karen said was foul. I was already asleep and so missed that treat. At least the seats had more room than Ryanair.

 

We landed into LA at 5am. Even the airport was still asleep at that unearthly hour. The baggage collection was in a different terminal meaning a very long walk to collect.

 

Our final flight home though wasn’t until 6pm and after our 3 hours wait here on the way out for the gates to open, we really could not stomach the thought of a 9 hour wait this time. I had found a website that rented out rooms at all the main hotels for a few hours each day. We had chosen the Embassy Suites as it was one of the cheapest and closest as well as offering a free shuttle. It was not initially clear where to wait for the shuttle and more by luck than chance we saw one going past and managed to stop it. It was just a few minutes ride to the Hotel.

 

Sadly, though we arrived at 6am and the room was booked only from 8am. The hotel was very accommodating and said they would do their best to find us one from 7am which they did. They also gave us free access to the hot breakfast which was very welcome.

 

The room was a proper big suite and after plugging in everything that needed recharging we climbed into the big comfortable bed and even I managed 3 ½ hours sleep whilst I woke Karen after 4 hours. We showered, packed up and then caught the shuttle back to the airport.

 

We were booked to go home in luxury in upper class on Virgin on the final return leg using points again. After dropping our bags, we made our way to their first-class lounge. It wasn’t a patch on the one at Heathrow though. We had some bread and cheese to accompany some bubbles.

 

The time went quickly. Then we were told that boarding was to be delayed in the end by another 50 minutes. We had another glass of bubbly to pass the time.

 

On board in our little individual cupboards, we had more bubbly and settled in for dinner. Take off was delayed further by the adverse weather conditions from the rain now battering most of California. I watched the movie ‘No Hard Feelings’ whilst eating my pre-ordered dinner of Sausage & Mash. After this we both converted our cupboards into flat beds and settled down for the night, which was a real tret. I think we both got about 5 hours fitful sleep.

 



We landed at 1.25pm and by 2.05pm we were back in car which we were very impressed with. The drive home was without incident and we came back to a warm house after I had remembered to turn on the heating as we landed. Within 5 minutes of getting home Karen went straight back out to visit her Mum, whilst I started the unpacking.

 

And with that we were back. Just over 4 weeks since leaving home and more than 25000 miles travelled. We had loved it and would do it all again if we could, and indeed we might. We wouldn’t bother with Fiji again – been that, done that. We have a route planned out around New Zealand again and are seriously considering whether to bring it forward to 2025 rather than 2026. Oh, the places we could visit and the things we could see.

 

We had chatted on the way home about the highlights from this trip. We agreed there were so many of them and many of them for different reasons. Karen’s conclusion in the end was just all of it.

 

It will however be lovely to see and catch up with everyone in the comings days and we already have a very full calendar with birthdays, another visit to London, football, theatre etc all before we head off again in 3 weeks to Iceland.

 

For now, though I will end this trop with this Maori saying that I will remember from this trip. Kia whakatōmuri te haere whakamua: ‘I walk backwards into the future with my eyes fixed on my past’

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