I wish we had chosen a relaxing beach stopover in Hawaii! We're all absolutely exhausted after a long weekend in LA, much of which wasn't that great if I was honest.

Disneyland was pretty good yesterday, although we nearly never made it (more about this later), and we enjoyed Santa Monica pier, but the rest of the experience was generally overrated and disappointing. I haven't got time to go into now as the battery on my laptop is about to run out and Rach has packed away the travel adaptor in one of the cases, which are in storage until we head off to the airport later today, and I can't be bothered to go searching for it.

Next stop Brisbane!

Live from Smog City

I'm pleased to say we've safely made it to L.A. with all 7 cases. I admit it was a bit of a nightmare yesterday. Why oh why did we take the train and not get a hire care or taxi (my fault)?

I'm just glad we made the decision to get the earlier train. We left Retford at 9:30. The train arrived into Kings Cross 9 minutes late (no surprises there). We then had to queue for about half a hour for a taxi. It then took another half hour just to make the 2.8 mile trip over to Paddington Station, crawling in heavy traffic. It wasn't even rush hour - so much for congestion charging. From Paddington, we took the Heathrow Express to Heathrow central station. We then had about a 10 minute walk to Heathrow terminal 3.

When we got to the airport we were very surprised to find that there were no queues for check-in. We got checked straight in (relieved to get rid of the suitcases) and proceeded to Security. Unfortunately, the reason why there were no queues at check-in was because everyone was already queuing at Security. It must have took us nearly an hour to clear. It was really hot and stuffy, with little or no air conditioning. One of the walk-through detectors was broke which added to the delays. Everyone was extremely pissed off to say the least. One guy lost his temper and started shouting at the officials, as they seemed to be standing around not doing anything to make things go quicker. I'm surprised he didn't get shot - you know what they're like at airports these days after 9/11.

Once through we went to TGI Fridays for some lunch, seeing as though it was Rachelle's birthday. We were in there for about an hour, and then came out to find that our plane was already boarding - an hour before take off!

The flight was ok. I took about 11.5 hours (for some reason I thought it was going to be 13). The plane had a video on-demand service with plenty of the latest films. I watched Music and Lyrics with Hugh Grant which was a bit cheesy but funny nonetheless. Rach also watched Freedom Writers which she said she enjoyed. Lauren must have slept for at least 5 hours.

One of the best bits about flying to America for me is flying over Iceland. The view is absolutely spectacular. I took these two photo's with my camera phone (in Flight Mode of course):

After arriving at L.A. we got a taxi to our hotel. I got slightly worried after about 20 minutes into the journey because we seemed to be heading into really rough areas, with no signs of Hollywood or downtown LA to be seen. I guess I've watched too many films but I imaged us being taken into some rough area like Inglewood and then robbed by some Mexican family. Anyway, we made it safely to our Hotel. It took about 40 minutes and cost roughly $50. After checking Google Maps this morning I don't think we were taken advantage of. The route that he took looks about right.

As I'm typing this it's now 06:45. We've all been awake since 4am. Damn jetlag! We've woken up to find L.A covered in fog (or is it smog), and there seems to be a giant Elephant outside our window.

The hotel seems ok so far. Wireless internet in the rooms, most importantly, as well as a good coffee maker and large TV with loads of channels (shame about the wall-to-wall adverts though). Not that we're planning on spending much time in the room. We've got a fun packed 4 days planned.

All packed and ready to go

We've said the final goodbyes today and now we're all packed and ready to go. The taxi is booked for 9am tomorrow to take us to the station - us and our 7 cases. That's going to be fun and games tomorrow getting to Heathrow. I thought it would be fun (for Lauren) to get the train instead of getting a hire car down to Heathrow. That's a decision I'm sure I'll regret tomorrow. Us and our 7 cases will be getting a taxi to Retford train station, then the train to Kings Cross, another taxi across to Paddington, and then the Heathrow Express to the airport. I suppose we could have made it even more of an adventure and decided to get the tube to Heathrow but I'm not that much of a sucker for punishment!

I'm not sure how I feel. I should be excited about our first trip to LA tomorrow and then on to Oz to start our new life, but at the moment I just feel a bit numb - the last few days have been a whirlwind.

Rach is sat on the settee still sobbing after just saying goodbye to her family. They came over to spend an hour with us. It was purposefully short - neither Rach or her Mum could have stood it any longer, it was heartbreaking.

I'm glad we're doing this now while Lauren is only 5 and she doesn't really understand the enormity of what we're doing.

So that's it. Nothing left to say except Farewell England.