Greetings from Los Angeles. A few good things worthy of mention during my journey here:
Friendly airport staff (SG). I was greeted by the friendliest female security guard (who was incidentally of Amazonian proportions) and another ever-smiling official who inspected my check-in baggage.
The new Singapore Airlines carriers. I flew straight from Singapore to LA in just less than 16 hours. The economy seats are now more spacious, and come with the usual personal TV screen for watching shows and playing games. My arm rest also had a three-pin multiplug power adapter and internet port!!! 😀
Luxurious dining. Also to be commended was our gourmet meal of beef in red wine sauce with spinach and mashed potatoes, specially concocted by Gordon Ramsay. Mmm!
The only thing I didn’t enjoy about the flight was the horrible turbulence. Now I’ve travelled by air all my life but this was pretty bad weather we were flying into, somewhere in the middle of the journey. I had that roller-coaster ‘falling’ feeling for perhaps 20 minutes as the plane dipped and swayed, and I even felt nauseus, which usually NEVER happens to me.
Decent treatment at LA airport. Contrary to what the Straits Times reported recently, there weren’t any odious LA airport officials to grapple with. Almost everyone in my queue passed through smoothly save for a pair of attractive-looking Asian ladies who endured a long Q&A session with a stern-faced official who looked Hispanic.
I ended up having a friendly chat with a younger Hispanic official who asked me a few simple questions and wished me good luck with the casinos in Vegas! Customs let me through, but I had prepared for a rummage, having ziplocked all the contents of my suitcase just to be safe.
[Interestingly, almost everyone at Immigration was Asian / Hispanic. Hmm!]
Funky relatives.I was picked up at the airport by my grand aunt the doctor and my grand uncle who runs a small studio in Hollywood. We had dinner at a Cantonese restaurant in Chinatown, took a drive through the Mexican zone, and then to their home.
They drive the new Toyota Prius*, a car I’m considering switching to myself. It is so high-tech that it comes with a computer touchscreen which can display the components of the car being used in real time. It is amazingly quiet as it is powered by batteries, only switching to gasoline at higher speeds. It is also very intelligent. There isn’t a need for a key slot, as it can detect the key in the driver’s pocket as he opens the car door. You can even control your garage gate with the Prius (note: before selling your car, delete all settings!).
They also showed me some devices which reduce the harmful effect of cellphone transmissions. One small device, stuck to the cellphone, absorbs radiation (tests were conducted at a conference they attended, which showed that less radiation was produced). Another device transmits what the person at the other end of the line says, into an FM frequency for the driver to tune in and listen to. He then replies to the other person through his cellphone’s microphone. I guess it works the same way as my Belkin FM transmitter for the iPod.
For the environmentally conscious: I’m told a new ruling in California gives cars carrying two or more passengers the right to travel in the fast lane (extreme left) on highways. A lone woman driver contested the law when she was fined, saying she was pregnant and therefore there were two persons in the car. She won on the premise that an unborn child is considered a human being. I can imagine a lot of female drivers now telling police officers they’re newly pregnant… Unless someone else can now contest the law and say that only foetuses aged xx weeks and above are considered human beings.
While accesing the internet here, I found to my delight that my funky grand aunt and uncle use Mozilla! Woo-hoo!
It’s time for a shower and a small ‘doze’ of Melatonin… goodnight!
* Apparently it is pronounced ‘Pree-us’ not ‘Pry-us’ as I usually call it.


  1. Maria

    Sounds like your visit to THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE is starting off well. 😉
    It’s neat to read your perspective on California–I take carpool lanes and cell phone patches for granted… and your use of the phrase “the Mexican zone”, while accurate, is not at all what I am accustomed to hearing when discussing the Hispanic neighborhoods. 😉
    I hope you have a blast in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Keep your audience posted.

  2. Lina

    It’s good to hear you’ve arrived in LA smoothly. I heard about the new non-stop SQ flight to LA but didn’t know they’d already begun the route. Anyway, I will take that the next time I go back to S’pore. Hey, enjoy your time on West coast! Any chance of visiting us on the East?

  3. vantan

    Maria – Yes I don’t think we’re so environment-friendly and health conscious yet. At most we’re asked to recycle and eat more vegetables 🙂 And while cellphone customisation is common in Singapore (covers, ringtones, logos…) nobody back home uses a patch.
    Lina – Due to time constraints I won’t be going to the East side this time, I was last in NY a year before Sep 11.

  4. Karen

    Have a ball Van !!
    Am heading up to KL for Wedding number 2.
    Catch you when u get back !!

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