Travel@HamHamFarm - The World, Here We Come!
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USA
(West Coast)
(27 Jul 2012 - 19 Aug 2012)

Day 22

Los Angeles / Tokyo / Singapore (17-19 Aug 2012)

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Good Morning LA! After 3 weeks of holidaying in the States, we’re (finally) returning to Singapore today! :P

Vance: It’s been a while! :)

We took the Prime Time Airport Shuttle (Shared Ride) from Coral Sands Motel to the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). A shared ride is the most economical way to travel to/from airports in the States. Save at least half the cost of a taxi and most routing are efficiently organised such those riding with you are traveling to the same part of the city (aka no time wasted).

Arrival at LAX (Tom Bradley International Terminal).

Unlike most countries, for USA, each checked baggage cannot exceed 23kg. However, each passenger can check-in 2 pieces of luggage (i.e. 2 X 23Kg instead of the usual 20 kg limit).

Vance: Though the weight looks like a lot, there are size limitations for the 2 check-in luggages. So effectively it would be like being able to check-in a normal luggage + a hand luggage (Dimension-wise). So look out for the dimensions too.

We like the fact that weighing scales were provided in LAX before the check-in counters (I don’t see this being provided in Changi International Airport). We have 1 luggage each that’s less than 23 kg (i.e. our luggage limit wasn’t fully maximised).

Vance: Actually we had with us portable/handheld digital weighting scale to ensure we don’t get caught rearranging our luggage beside the check-in counter :)

Having been to various international airports, I seriously think that Changi International Airport excelled in various aspects. Changi International Airport is like a small city with everything that you want. It’s clean, efficient and the wide range of restaurants and retail stores would seriously put a lot of airports (including LAX) to shame.

Departures at LAX is (again) a very long and inefficient process due to extensive security checks (See Day 5 of our trip). Instead of the usual 2 hours check-in before ETD, do plan at least 3 hours before ETD since security clearance would be really extensive here.

After security checks, we reached Gate 140 in no time. But wait, how come there’s no immigration counter for ‘chopping’ our passport (aka no USA Exit Stamp)??!! Here’s the reasons why. Upon arrival into the States, the airline should give you a blank I-94 form (or I-94W for Visa Waiver Program travelers) and a Customs Declaration form (6059B). Singapore is one of the nations under the The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) which enables us to travel to the United States for tourism/business for stays up to 90 days without obtaining a Visa [Click here for official visa information website of the U.S. Embassy in Singapore]. So for Singaporeans, we do not need a Visa to USA but we need to apply for authorisation though the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).

[Above] Samples of I-94 form (White) and the I-94W form (Green).

As a general rule, visitors departing the States are required to surrender their Form I-94/I-94W when leaving the United States. Departure (based on the I-94/I-94W form) are then recorded by the immigration. If the I-94/I-94W form is not surrendered, then it may cause difficulties trying to re-enter the USA. So ensure that you don’t fly home with the I-94/I-94W form still in your passport, cos if you do that, it is possible that your departure was not recorded properly. The latest good news from CBP (As of 21 March 2013) is that I-94/I-94W has been successfully automated. Visitors will no longer need to fill out a paper form when arriving to the States by air/sea. The change will go into effect 30 days after the rule is published in the Federal Register.

  Going on board SQ11 (LAX – NRT – SIN), total travel time = 20 hours 10 mins!!! *Faints* Thankfully, we were on board A380 (Upper deck) this time round.

Vance: With our private little corner on the A380, which is kinda nice :)

After 11 hour 30 mins of bum baking, we have finally arrived in Narita International Airport! Reminds me of our 2008 Japan trip. When will I ever have a chance to revisit the land of the rising sun?

[Credits to http://stuffwecollect.com/ for the above photos]

If you have a chance to visit Japan, don’t forget to pick up these special Matcha / Sakura Kit Kat from Japan. A must try for chocolate fans! :)

Vance: And lots of other very nice Jappy Snacks too!

After another 6 hours 5 mins, we arrived in Singapore an hour earlier than the scheduled arrival thanks to the tail wind….. Home Sweet Home! :D

The above sums up our 2012′s USA Trip :)  Now’s the time to share on our respective loots from this trip.

Vance: These go onto our fridge!

Vance’s Loots

Vance: These toys are all packed (flat packed) in the luggage!

 

 

 

Fiona’s Loots

Vance: Lots more Censored – not featured! – :P

Vance: These are certainly not all the stuff that we brought back.. 1/4 of our luggage are stuff for others! :)

We would like to end our last entry with the below video.

Route 66 (Depeche Mode) – unofficial video from Jakub Gorajek on Vimeo.

These guys travelled on Route 66 around the same time as our 2012′s USA trip and they made a video of their trip. We definitely hope to return to the Land of the Free someday! Ciao! :D

I would like to take this opportunity to thank my ‘Hairy Porter’ cum chauffeur cum photographer who have craft out all the routing/GPS points etc by himself. He’s courageous enough to drive on the other side of the road (which is pretty impressive for someone who had zero experience driving on the right side of the road). Special thanks to my family for taking care of our hamsters while we’re away. Last but not least, I would like to thank all those whom have shared their USA itineraries / travelling experience with us (You know who you are).

Vance: This has been our longest overseas trip thus far and I must credit Fiona for getting much of the initial groundwork/planning done (which is a lot of work!). We have had many many late nights researching, running though the details, making reservations/bookings, corresponding via email/calls to tidy the details and readjusting the routes and the big task of planning/arranging for transportation as we are our own! (Really big headache task as we are moving around so much). I enjoyed the trip very much and all our hard work planning has gone without a glitch.  Thanks Wifey and looking forward to the next one with you again! :) *Muacks*

[P/S : We have put up our 2012 USA itinerary for reference (Here) . Hope this would be useful for those planning a trip to the west coast. If you have a trip itinerary to share with us, please email to WebMaster@HamHamFarm.com]



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Travel@HamHamFarm - The World, Here We Come!