I returned to America a year after my last USA trip because of a $600 Delta/Virgin Australia denied boarding flight voucher I needed to use within 12 months. It’s worth reading overbooked flight tips: compensation if you’re bumped off a plane in the USA.
This time around I wanted to concentrate on the arid desolate beauty of National Parks in the South West region of America and visit a friend in San Diego near the Mexican Border.
The Virgin Australia flight from Sydney to Los Angeles was just as good as my previous experience on that route. I found a new TV series called Arrow in their inflight entertainment system which I really liked so I watched a dozen episodes in a row.
After landing at LAX I checked in at my airport hotel Hacienda LAX. I recommend it highly as a budget hotel, it’s not fancy but covers the basics well and has a free shuttle bus to and from LAX every 20 minutes all day and night. I then proceeded to reacquaint myself with the Mexican fast food chain Chipotle, my favourite place to eat in America.
I spent the next few days staying at my friend’s place in San Diego via an enjoyable return trip on Amtrak California’s Pacific Surfliner train. Booking a business class ticket for a few dollars more guaranteed me a seat in the first class compartment as well as priority boarding, a complimentary newspaper, drink and snacks.
I loved visiting San Diego. If I had to choose an American city to live in it would be there because of the relaxed atmosphere, temperate climate, hummingbird migration path, and desert feel because of the common use of Spanish style architecture and cactus gardens.
While in San Diego I attended a baseball match between the San Diego Padres and the New York Mets. The Padres scored 2 home runs and won the match.
If you like desert plants and cactus then a free visit to the Desert Garden in Balboa Park is well worth it.
By the time I left San Diego I had reacquainted myself with American oddities like non dairy creamer, passenger seats being on the opposite side of the car and currency notes whose denominations are frustratingly all the same colour.