The human bird shall take his first flight, filling the world with amazement, all writings with his fame, and bringing eternal glory to the nest whence he sprang. ⎯ Leonardo da Vinci.
Flew 13,869 Km away from home was amazing experiences. The excitement, the curiosity, the nervousness, all mixed together in your brain and spread over all of your body; specially when our ANA Plane landed safely in LAX Airport. It was the first time we put our feet in American continent.
5 PM of Los Angeles time. We ran out from the jetway with full of excitement, down the escalator and heading straight to the immigration checkpoint. All expected to be straight forward and easy because we have all of the itinerary document, visas in place. But, the reality is completely different. United State Immigration is the well known as one of the most secure department, any small issue on processing your visa & document will lead you into trouble. Well… not a really big trouble, but at lease will make you full of stress.
I was at the immigration desk with my girlfriend with me. We checked with the officer and found out that my finger print was not detected by the scanner. This happened because we spend 10 hours in Japan with quite cold weather, and it made my finger’s skin crack. Due to this issue, i’ve had to proceed the additional check at Immigration office located at the same floor of those checkpoint gate. I had to do this my self alone since my girlfriend has no issue, and she can walk away to pickup our luggage.
The visa verification process only took 5 minutes, BUT… the queue in the room before you get your turn took about 3 hours. YES 3 HOURS! And what made me stressful was, I had to sat there with strangers all over the world whom had many different issue with their visas. From fake visa, blacklisted name, to someone whom came in without visas at all. Further more, we all not allowed to use any mobile phone in the room, so basically I was totally lost contact with my girlfriend. Scary heh? YES IT IS, it feel like watch “locked-up abroad series!”
Long story short, finally I got my turn after 3 hours of waiting, and they only asked me to explain my travel itinerary then just let me to walk away easily. So what I can advice to you:
- Try to have all of your visa/document processed by your self at American Embassy.
- If you ask for travel agency to help you get the visa, make sure you double check with the embassy about the authentication of your visa, you can also check the visa status HERE
- If you get the same experience as mine above, just keep calm, and prepare your group member to wait outside at luggage belt for about 2-4 hours. And make sure you bring your Itinerary document with you because immigration officer might ask you about it.
Welcome To The City Of Angels
Los Angeles, is the second-largest city in the United States, after New York City, and the most populous city in California. Los Angeles is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity, celebrity culture, traffic, and the film and television industry. People who have never been to LA have a stereotypical view of it as a land of superficiality and vacuous inanity. To be sure, there is a certain amount of that. People who visit here are disappointed because Hollywood is just a street, and you’re not having lunch with stars every second. Still you’re bound to see some. But if you live here, or get to see it from the insider’s perspective, it’s an amazing place to live. Whether you are looking for the newest designer couture or the best place to eat fish tacos while soaking in the SoCal sun. Los Angeles is a city of endless entertainment. Let start exploring!
Day 1: Beverly Hills & Santa Monica
It was amazing experience that we had chance to stay in the most iconic area of Los Angeles, Beverly Hills. From neighbourhood boutique hotels to luxury hotels that are five-star, five diamond retreats, indulge in world-renowned shopping along famed Rodeo Drive or catch a glimpse of a celebrity at any number of star-studded events. With so many luxury things to do in Beverly Hills, make sure you hold your girlfriend secured, and stay away from the shopping centre 😀
Beverly Hills was a good place to stay, it was a quiet neighbourhood, but if you are a public transport oriented, this place might be less suitable. The bus here was always late, and they only have few of them operated. So you might need to rent a car or call for Uber Taxis.
Instead of travel around here, I preferred to heading west to Santa Monica beach area. They have more affordable shopping district at Third Street Promenade. My favourite things about Santa Monica was the Sunset. Each evening the sky explodes in layers of orange, pink, and purple, all rippling against the ocean tides.
Day 2: Hollywood & Highland
Although Hollywood is a neighbourhood in Los Angeles, for some it’s more a state-of-mind. Though it has long represented the glitz and glamour of the film, television, and music industries, most studios have moved away from this quirky district in favour of other L.A. neighbourhoods, like Burbank.
Nevertheless, Hollywood still attracts millions of visitors each year who travel there to pay homage to their favourite stars and perhaps even catch a glimpse of a few famous personalities. Sometimes they’re lucky! For millions of visitors, Hollywood is an essential part of the Los Angeles experience. Things to do in Hollywood include must-see shows and attractions, celebrity-frequented restaurants, and world class hotels. The state-of-the-art Dolby Theatre is home to the Academy Awards. Universal Studios Hollywood is a world famous theme park that includes the mind-blowing “Transformers: The Ride 3-D.” Other things to do in Hollywood include the shops, restaurants and Walk of Fame at Hollywood & Highland Centre.
Day 3: Griffith Park Observatory
Griffith Park is Southern California’s gateway to the cosmos! It’s a facility in Los Angeles, California sitting on the south-facing slope of Mount Hollywood in Los Angeles’ Griffith Park. It commands a view of the Los Angeles Basin, including Downtown Los Angeles to the southeast, Hollywood to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the southwest. The observatory is a popular tourist attraction with an excellent view of the Hollywood sign, and an extensive array of space and science-related displays. Since the observatory opened in 1935, admission has been free, in accordance with Griffith’s will. However, some planetary shows inside have a small added charge.
Explore the popular tourist destination in Norther California, known for its cool summers, fog, steep rolling hills, eclectic mix of architecture, and landmarks including the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, the former Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, Fisherman’s Wharf, and its Chinatown district.