This is a trip report from a holiday I took with Sciby in the USA in May 2012. I'm writing this largely to organise my own thoughts and serve as a reminder to myself, so it'll probably be hugely long and heavy on pointless detail. In short, we travelled through the Mississippi Delta from Memphis to New Orleans, soaking up as much blues history and southern comfort food as we could. If that sounds cool to you, read on. Note: for each day I include just a few photos, and at the end of each day, a link to the Flickr set of all photos from that day. They're a little jumbled in the sets due to using camera and phone and upload/timezone shenanigans. Background: My wife is very interested in nutrition, specifically the low-carb and paleo-food movements. She became aware of a "Low Carb Cruise" around the Caribbean where members of that communty could attend lectures and presentations and socialise etc. I'm not interested in that, but I am fascinated by vintage blues music and the history surrounding it. We soon hatched a plan to travel to the USA together, then split up in LA. She'd go to Texas to start her cruise and I'd go to Memphis and start my blues trip. She would of course meet up with people on the boat, but I was resigned to (and somewhat wary about) doing this trip by myself, until a chance conversation with Sciby at an OCAU meet in December revealed that he'd always wanted to do a driving trip in the states. Some planning over the next few weeks (during which we realised food was going to be something of a focus for us over there..) and off we went! Day 1 (Friday) - Arrive in LA - Santa Monica Wifey and I had booked our tickets months earlier, so Sciby was on a different flight and would meet us in LA. For the 13-hour SYD-LAX leg we flew Virgin Australia in normal Economy, but we paid a few extra bucks for the emergency row seating. I actually forgot to get a photo of how much legroom we had, but suffice to say, to get my bag out from under the seat in front of me involved undoing my seatbelt and taking a short walk across the emergency exit. So, despite being 6'3 with long legs, I had no issues with legroom. Actually, next to me on the flight was a guy named Kyle, and we got chatting as you do on a 13 hour flight. Turns out he's a professional movie stuntman and commutes from Sydney to LA regularly. Kind've a cool start to my USA trip. He previously flew Premium Economy but now prefers to do what we did, normal Economy with exit row seating. It's not much more than half the price of Premium but better in some ways. I will say though, you need your earplugs and eye mask if you want to sleep, as you are near the toilets so there's a bit of milling around in front of you, plus the toilet door opening and closing occasionally etc. Wifey slept fine though, bundled up against the window in a pile of blankets. However, I didn't sleep very well the night before due to planning/nerves/excitement, and didn't sleep at all on the flight, mostly due to being in the middle seat so not able to get comfy, and being absorbed in my little Android tablet media world. So by the time we landed in LA and went through the nearly 2-hour queueing process to enter the country (!) I was feeling extremely tired - and of course it was only noon local time. Like any gamer I've pulled my fair share of all-nighters, but I soon realised the plan to hire a car and drive around LA would have to be scrapped. I wouldn't have been that comfortable driving this tired at home, so was in no state to be learning to drive on the wrong side of the road in a strange, busy city like LA. Given we were splitting up for nearly 2 weeks the next morning, wifey and I were content to just hang out in LA rather than go mental for the tourist sights. Besides, we don't really care about celebrities or hollywood etc. Santa Monica sounded like a cool beachy alternative kinda area so we set our sights on there. I got in contact with Sciby and he was content to hang around his hotel, so wifey and I hopped on the bus, which for $1 each gave us a 40-minute look at the fairly unexciting bits of LA between LAX and Santa Monica. We mostly hung around the Third Street Promenade and Santa Monica Boulevarde - sorry if you now have that song in your head. As we sipped our drinks and watched the world go by on the arcade, we could have easily been in Melbourne. For some reason it really has the same kind of feel for me, both the city/arcade part we saw on Day 1 and the more arty alternate beach culture side we saw on the way back at the end of our trip. For lunch, wifey had a hankering for a burger, so we went to Johnny Rockets which is a 50's themed burger joint - seemed appropriate for our first meal in the USA. I think I had the Houston and a Cherry Coke. Wifey had a more standard burger (didn't eat the bread, naturally) and some salady thing. The big surprise for me about LA is how it's so obviously a desert that someone has planted trees in. I guess I knew that already, but to see the sandy flatness of it all from the air and on the bus was a real surprise. There's distant mountains on the horizon but between you and them it's so flat, and everything seems to be so far away from everything else, even coming from a spread-out city like Sydney. I can see why everyone has cars here. The air is quite smoggy and the sun has a real heat to it, even in May, which seems to bake the dust and soot onto everything. Like any major city you could spend years exploring it, but we only had a couple of days total (one at each end of the trip), so I'm reluctant to pass any real judgement on whether I like LA or not. I'd be happy to come back and spend more time here sometime, though. Anyway, after wandering around a bit it was starting to get dark, so we hit the bus again back to the hotel. Near the bus stop was a Carl's Jr, another burger joint, so my dinner was a Single Southwest Patty Melt, which was delicious! Something about the texture of the bread really made it. Here's all the Day 1 Photos.