Friday, October 19, 2012

Asian Eyes' USA -Texas Austin

           Sep/30/2012: I visited my head quarter in Austin, Texas for 2 weeks. I took the early morning 7.40 am Cathay Pacific CX692 flight from Penang Airport. The plane was quite full with passengers but the boarding was smooth. It flew off peacefully on time and soon it was breakfast time. I had prawn sambal rice and it was nice, not hot but flavourful. Not long my plane landed at Hong Kong International Airport 4 hours later. Since it was a Sunday, I do not have to clear emails, so I spend the next 4 hours lay over lounging in Cathay Pacific's Pier lounge, absorbing the latest magazines and even had shower there too. There is a good noodle bar in the lounge, so I had my fills of Hong Kong wanton mee as well as dim sum. At 3.45 pm I boarded Cathay Pacific flight CX882 to Los Angeles for my second leg of my journey. On this 12 hour journey I managed about 6 hours of sleep and in between I spend the rest on watching the small screen attached to the back of the seat in front, absorbing some of the latest films offered by Cathay Pacific. My plane landed at Los Angeles' Tom Bradley International airport on time and I make my way to the immigration counter. There was a long queue and it took me 40 minutes to reach the immigration counter. After some formalities and documents checking with the unsmiling officer, I finally had my passport stamped and waved through. I retrieved my bag and breezed through USA custom and rechecked my bag at Los Angeles' domestic airport for the last leg of my journey to Austin. 
             I had a 2 hours layover for my final flight, so I decided to get lunch. I had a Burger King's fillet fish and befriended an Aussie lady who was travelling to Yosemite. Finally its time to board American Airlines 6.45pm flight AA2246 to Austin Texas. American flight was very different compared to Asian flight. The stewardess were much elderly and the service was nothing to shout about. They only serve light drinks, while food and alcohol were paid extra. Nevertheless the plane did get me to my destination safely. I managed to retrieve my bags and out of the terminal within 30 minutes to the car rental building. At National Car Rental, there was a long queue and by the time I selected my car, there were not many choices left. I was allowed to choose any car I want, but at the end I settled for a small Toyota Yaris. Since I have to wait more than half an hour, the person in charge offered me a half tank of gas free, meaning when I returned the car, I only need to top up the car to half full, not full tank. Not a bad deal - that was worth some US$20. I keyed in my hotel location into car's GPS and set off. I took Airport Boulevard and then cut into I35 to go north and reached my hotel in about 40 minutes later at exit 250. Since it was already late when I checked in, I decided to skip dinner and go straight to bed. It had been a very long journey, 30 hours to be precise, half way round the globe, yet I still reached my destination on the same day I departed - Sep 30th, 2012. Here are some pictures I took as I worked my way to Austin:
Snapping away at Hong Kong International airport. Normally airports are the gateway to a country, and much can be learnt in an airport itself.
Shower room in Hong Kong Cathay Pacific's The Pier lounge. This one is close to gate 64.
Smoked Salmon meal in Hong Kong Cathay Pacific's The Pier lounge
Waiting at Hong Kong Airport gate 22 to board my plane to Los Angeles. It will be a 12 odd hours journey
12 hours, 6 movies and 2 naps later my plane approaching Los Angeles as captured on the video in front of my seat.

Obama welcomes you to America at the entrance to immigration counter at Los Angeles's Tom Bradley International airport
Hallway in Los Angeles domestic airport after I cleared the immigration and checked in my bag to Austin.
Billboard in Los Angeles displayed my final flight information
My plane to Austin AA2246 departed on time.

AA auntie stewardess at your service. It is not a glamorous job to became a stewardess in western countries.
AA only gives soft drinks refreshment. Well better than nothing.
Austin at night as viewed from my plane. By the time I checked in hotel it was 1.30 am. Good night.

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