My flight out of Calgary was not as smooth as I had expected. It started out simply enough doing the self check-in at the kiosk. After that, everything went downhill. I had arrived early as to survive the interrogation that is U.S. customs. Getting past the border guard was simple enough. Dude didn’t look like he was enjoying life & casually let me through.
Poor dude, I feel his pain having to ask the same questions over and over & dealing with some of the unwashed masses with less than stellar intellects. Anyone who works in IT knows exactly what I’m talking about.
Anyway, when it came to the whole bag screening thing there was a giant log jam since there were only 2 groups of security personnel slowly going through the bags. Once another checkpoint was opened up things sped up and just when I thought I was safe and clear I was chosen for a random bag check. Oh great.
I complied as my gear was set aside and scanned for weapons of mass destruction and whatever else could possibly bring the plane down. I’m an IT guy/J-Pop fan. What could I possibly bring on board with me that would be considered a threat? After easily passing the terrorist test I was allowed to go to my gate.
Since I was quite early it was still locked so I stopped by Burger King for an early dinner. I got one of those Swiss & Mushroom Steakhouse XT deals. It was good but really messy. I’ll give Burger King some props, they really go heavy on the sauce which cause a right mess if you’re not careful when eating.
After spending some time downing the burger I returned to my gate only to see that it was still locked. An announcement came on the PA system in French that my flight was delayed. I remembered enough French from high school to at least get the gist of the message. Around the time I was supposed to board, another announcement was made in English that my plane would be delayed by an hour.
Well that was just wonderful. After bitching on Twitter I sat in the closest open waiting area and cranked up the iPod for an endless wait. Around 7:15 PM the gate was opened and I boarded with the other grumpy people waiting to get to LA. When I got on the plane I discovered that an elderly woman had taken my aisle seat. Already exhausted from being delayed I decided to just take the window seat and be done with it. I just wanted to get to LA.
The flight itself was rather uneventful and I spent the majority of the time watching AKB48’s music videography on my iPad. You know, studying the group I’m going to be seeing in a couple of days. I was surprised upon hearing AKB’s ballads. Their choral style really makes those songs hit an emotional nerve.
Overall the AKB sound does have its own unique take on the idol genre. I noticed Aki-P’s use of melody and the fact that there are mostly different producers on board differentiate it from the one man army that is Tsunku and Hello! Project. That’s just an observation, don’t you H!P fans get your panties in a bunch over that.
Anyway, after wearing out my eyes I put the iPad away and took a short nap. When I woke up the plane had arrived in the Los Angeles area. Unfortunately the pilot had missed the landing area and had to circle around which extended the flight a little bit further.
Around 10 PM passengers were allowed to disembark from the plane. I have only been to LAX twice, Anime Expo 2009 and when SMTOWN had visited in 2010. I never noticed how busy it was, but wow. Even at 10 PM the place was packed with people and a lot of shops were still open.
Eventually I made my way to baggage claim and then the cluster fuck that is the outside of LAX. What a fucking zoo. So many cars and people and they’re all pushy and shove you out of the way. I didn’t see any celebs or TMZ cameras by the way so I was kind of disappointed at that.
Having survived the wave of people outside the airport I found the platform where the hotel shuttle bus was supposed to be. It took about 20 minutes or so but my bus did arrive. After I boarded I commented that the traffic was crazy. The driver mentioned that Sunday night is usually nuts and after watching dude thread the needle between cars to make pick-ups that was extremely evident.
My hotel was not too far from the airport and I could have walked the distance in 15 minutes. Given that my sense of direction is usually crap I think I made the right choice. The ride was complimentary of the hotel after all. After a quick check-in, up to my room, which was conveniently located right next to the elevator bay. Good stuff. Once inside I took a few snaps and videos of the room, cleaned up and got to working on this entry.
Yeah, I’m not sleeping. I have plenty of time to sleep on the plane I guess. The flight is 11 hours after all. Hopefully I don’t get seated next to some cranky elderly, seat stealer. I can’t sit down for long periods of time these days, so the option to get up without bothering other people would be nice.
Anyway, that was the flight into LA for me. By the time I arrived Hiro & Dave were already checked in for their early morning flight. I’ll see them on Tuesday night and when the final member of our party arrives on Wednesday that’s when the real shit storm begins.
August 19 Gallery