Yellowstone Park

I am now in the Teton Park, these last two days have been totally disconnected from the outside world when it comes to phones and emails, hence your blissful ignorance. This does not seem to faze the thousands of mainly American tourists who tolerate electronic starvation by compensating at the meal table and takeaway cafeteria. Convoys of articulated semi trailers and refrigeration trucks speed into the national park in numbers and at an alacrity that make the siege of Berlin at the end of WWII seem like, well for want of a better term (and pun) the relief of a Sunday school picnic.

As in interesting aside, did you know that in the USA as far as I can deduce, all electric wall switches go down for on and up for off and that taps turn clockwise for on and anticlockwise for off! Thought you may be interested.

Creating an itinerary that has you arriving into Los Angelos airport at 6 am is not recommended. There are several flights, all from Australia, that disgorge, possibly dump is the better word, more than 2000 passengers within several minutes from at least 5 Airbus A380.

Negotiating immigration was relatively painless as they now have the electronic system we use in Australia, having scanned passport, face, fingerprints of 4 fingers and answering such complex questions as “are you a terrorist?” , a ticket is printed and the gates open. Sadly this reassuring journey grinds to a halt when entering the baggage collection hall, 2 lines of weary, sleep deprived passengers, from First, Business and Economy stirred into one giant socialist snake line that twisted and writhed around and passed the more than a dozen baggage carousels. Spasmodically there is an agonal convulsive jolt, the snake inches forwards by a millimetre, then settles back into a state of resigned acceptance of its fate.

All the while distraught families rush up and down outside the queue, pushing their mountain of luggage, approaching the customs staff wailing that they have a connecting flight to Delaware or Minneapolis at 7:45 am. They are told they must join the queue although I do admit it is done sympathetically and at no time did I sense that a gun was about to be drawn by either combatant.

I had a layover time of almost 4 hours, to my connecting flight to Salt Lake City, which I smugly assumed, as I surveyed the pandemonium would be more than enough to allow me to saunter past the avenues of fast food outlets that occupy the LA airport.

It took all of an hour for my queue to negotiate to the customs officer. In the distance I could just discern a huge billboard above the EXIT sign which as I approached came into focus. It was that iconic picture of the HOLLYWOOD structure on the hillside above LA. “Welcome to Los Angeles – have a nice day” . Not a nice start I seethed, but somewhat pacified that I still had time to make it to the Delta terminal and even partake of the “special dozen” Dunkin Doughnuts ” (two dozen for the price of one dozen) .

It was not to be, as in entering the hall I was confronted by an eye watering queue that seemed to equal that of the international interaction. After another hour (by this time I had resigned myself to the fact that I would only have time to buy a simple dozen Dunkin Doughnuts) the X-ray and body search counter was inching its way towards me – everyone was removing shoes, sandals or thongs. I enquired of the customs officer if indeed everyone had to remove shoes and she in a rather bored attitude, drawled “only if you’re under 75”. Apparently prodded into action by my seemingly innocuous question she peered over her glasses, looking at me and asked “Are you over 75?” Sadly I had to say no although I did for one millisecond, toy with the idea of saying yes. As I inched towards the security check I ruminated on the cut off age. Was a 75 year old much less likely to pack plastic explosives in their shoes or was it simply that at that age , having bent over to take off one’s shoes, a 75 year old would be crippled in the bent position unable to then safely stand upright?

Anyway here are some photos of my first two days In Yellowstone Park. I think they are stunning,

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