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Alain was dully dispatched at LAX at around 8:45 a.m. while Cliff and I had another 12 hours around LA, so Eunice took us shopping for a book (Flora of the Mojave Desert) of which Alain had bought the last copy at a shop a couple of days earlier. Then on to Vern’s place, where again we were impressed and surprised of how many of the plants that we struggle to keep alive in heated greenhouses in Europe were doing very well, either planted out in the garden or in pots on the large patio.

Just one small incident on our departure from LAX – my bag weighed in at 61 lbs, with an allowance of 50 lbs, so a potential extra cost of US$ 150!! Must be all those maps and a few books that I had acquired over the last 5 months. Nobody in Chile or Peru seemed to have worried, but here the check-in clerks were on the ball. It turned out that as a long haul passenger, I was allowed two free bits of hand luggage and it just so happened that right at the bottom of my hold-luggage bag, I had a spare rucksack, having left my worn out purple monster behind at Eunice’s. So right in the middle of the departure lounge, a quick repack ensued, with dirty clothes strewn around to trip up bemused onlookers. Next hurdle, I was convinced that the guy at the check in had kept my passport as well as the tags for my bag. He claimed that he had not. So once again bags were opened and searched top to bottom when as usual, it proved that I had one more pocket than I had allowed for and this was where the missing travel document turned up.

The plane was 30 minutes late leaving and I slept most of the way to New York’s JFK where we arrived at 7:30 a.m.

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