Do you know the way to San José? No, not that one. NOr that one.

The good thing about flying westbound is there's no jet lag. It's just a really long day,, with time elongated as you spend 11hrs on a plane travelling to a place 8hrs behind, therefore landing only 3 hours later. So really you're just pulling a very late night, and you're so knackered when you get to your hotel that it's easy to fall asleep and wake up already in the local time zone.

Of course that all goes to shit if you've slept for 5hrs on the plane. So, after going to bed at around 11pm on Thursday night I woke up at 1.30am and couldn't get back to sleep. By 3am Helen was also awake and suffering the same fate. We'd had a 6am alarm set anyway, but now thought, ah fuck it, let's just get the shuttle bus back to the airport at 6am.

Sadly, we hadn't drunk the free BA birthday champagne, so Helen left it as a gift to whoever would be in our room next, along with an empty amenity kit bag. I'd never think of doing something so nice, though even I didn't want to neck it for breakfast.

At checkout I was handed a receipt with my credit card number Xed out apart from the last 4 digits, at the top.. and my full credit card number at the bottom, under numerous occurrences of my name. What on earth!? Tore it into tiny pieces and threw it away as we waited for the shuttle, which Helen attempted to board too early. In the 7 minutes the driver said we had to wait there was time for a photo op.

Mood somewhat elevated.
Pool; 2/3rds of LAX sign; yet another transport selfie.

We spent most of the journey chatting about how different the traffic was to the night before... and then we hit really bad traffic. For fucks sake, it's only 6.05am and LAX is rammed. One other passenger is a bit perturbed that we drove straight past the terminal he needed to be at; apparently at LAX the shuttle buses are second class vehicles who can't park right outside the doors.

What I assume is air traffic control.

I'd tried to check us in using the American Airlines app and it had refused, saying "Agent takeover needed", and to see someone at the airport. I knew from my February trip that this isn't strictly true - it's just that someone or something needs to see our passports because it's an international itinerary. So we went to a self service kiosk and successfully were issued with boarding passes for the 0945 flight to San José del Cabo, Mexico. For shits and giggles I also made it print me out a full e-ticket receipt with breakdown of costs.

I'd never been to terminal 4 of LAX before, and the last time I flew from here at all would've been ... 2011 I think. So it's all fairly unfamiliar. We're in the priority area, but the sign near the lone escalator says TSA Pre-check and I know enough to understand we're not part of that scheme, but a guy spots us confused foreigners, looks at our passes and says no, you can go up there, today only OK? with a wink.

Up top of the escalator it becomes clear why we're allowed: there's two lines, fast track and even faster track. The latter is for TSA pre-check, the former is for those flying in first and business class like what we is. Security is pretty straightforward and I like the American habit of having someone regularly shout clear instructions to the assembled throngs.

So then we're airside, and Helen's first ever visit to the USA is over. What a holiday eh? I'd spent a while reading up on how there's an "airside connector" - i.e., corridor - linking T4 with the Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) and since we were 3.5hrs prior to the flight, I convinced Helen we should do this on promise of better lounges than the Admiral's Club near our departure gate.

The corridor was deserted. Better yet, so was the international terminal's check-in desk area, which made it look fantastic in the morning sunlight.

And the end of our walk was the area full of airline lounges for long haul international departures. We joined the queue to get in to the Qantas/oneworld business class lounge, about which I had heard good things. That there was a queue at all was surprising; ahead of us was a group of 3 people taking a ridiculously long time to be allowed in, followed by a man who had turned up somehow 9 hours before his flight and without a boarding pass, thus having no valid way of getting in. He was shunted back landside and to ticketing and we stepped up.

Apparently, our boarding passes did not let us into this lounge either. The reason wasn't overly clear, but I already had in my hand a backup plan: if we're not coming in by virtue of our travel, can I get us in with my shiny card? Yes, yes of course. So she scans a boarding pass, lets me in, scans another one, and is about to go look up the airport code for our destination when I say "Oh, it's SJD" as if that's a normal thing. Meh.

The lounge is amazing. Like, holy shit. There are only about 5 other people in there when we arrive so we've got the run of the place and before we've even sat down a member of staff has offered us coffee. Really, for a business class lounge I am staggered.

Let's start with the food options. There's a buffet of fruit, pastry goods, hot fried stuff, pancakes, toast, cereals, juices. The warm and friendly staff member, without much else to do, keeps offering us new things - do we want pancakes? More coffee? Maybe a danish? Mostly we say thanks but no thanks, but I do let her make me a freshly squeezed organic juice mocktail thing - freshly as in, she squeezes the stuff with the juicer right then and there - and it's amazing. Within a few minutes it seems to have had an effect on my digestion though.

Bookending my visit to the loo I go on a brief tour of the lounge and take the photos above. The bar is staffed and serving (there's 4 beer pumps!) r I could just pour myself some wine or bubbly from a bucket, but it doesn't feel like sauce is a good idea especially with Helen still feeling a bit poorly. No doubt my experience here is heightened by how empty it is - when we leave, there's still only about 20 people around - but I really really want to fly from LAX again though just to spend some quality time getting shitfaced here. Plus I'd like to sample the non-breakfast food - there's space for some kind of manned carvery stuff up the way as well.

We leave the lounge a bit early and have a wander around the main bit of TBIT downstairs. It's not exactly deserted now, but nor is it busy. Seems like there's only a couple of flights leaving in the next two hours or so. The shops are open, and the central area is bright and spacious and really quite pleasant. It's a big change from T5's claustrophobic layout where you never really feel like you're outside any of the shops.

Back to T4, and everything still says our plane is on time with boarding starting at 0905. There's a few people hanging around the gate but not many places to sit. Just as boarding is meant to start, I look on the app and it says our incoming flight is landing after boarding is meant to start. Sure enough, the tannoy comes on and things are delayed. About half an hour later it finally starts, by which time they've announced that it's completely full, they might have to force people to check bags if they don't volunteer, etc etc. Also, since this is an international flight you absolutely must have your passport ready for inspection along with your boarding pass.

American (and Americans) seem to do fast track pretty well; priority boarding is announced and we walk through the crowd and on. They don't look at our passport at all. There's only 8 business class seats on the plane, 2 rows of 4. We're in row 2 on the right hand side of the plane, so can place stuff under the seat in front and our bags are fine up top. Phew, no need to collect bags at the far end. Travelling with checked luggage sucks.

Onboard I'm impressed, again. I had low expectations for AA's business class (aka domestic first class), expecting it to basically be the same as BA's European business class. But actually these seats are wide, legroom is very generous, there's large and modern inflight entertainment screens and they give you blankets and earphones and serve you alcohol while you're still on the ground. Inspired by the woman in seat 1F who I hear and see order a mimosa and then post a photo of it to Facebook, we order mimosas too.

I dick around with the entertainment system and start an episode of the Simpsons. Our moods have switched gear from the previous night and earlier in the morning, and my enthusiasm and energy has given way to a desire to just watch TV while Helen is all excitement and wanting to chat. D'oh!

I end up giving up on the Simpsons. The captain announces a flying time of under 2 hours, and I keep playing with the system. There's a scrolling menu of all the booze you can order, though sadly you cannot actually place the order via the touchscreen. No matter, the lady running the business class cabin keeps everyone well oiled throughout the flight.

Pre-ordered food arrives; Helen went for the cranberry cinnamon waffles, I went for the egg tortilla with chorizo and potatoes. It's all fucking lovely, including the "biscuit" which isn't a biscuit and winds me up every time. IT'S A SCONE, DAMN IT. Oh, and is it too early for a beer? Hell no it's not too early for a beer. I"ve given up trying to only drink unique beers all year, but as it happens this is my first Dos Equis of 2016 anyway.

Helen loves window seats and flies less than me - and, as debated during this leg, is still not sold on the idea that taking 4 flights when one or two would suffice is the right way to behave - so I'd assigned it to her, and then badgered her for 40 minutes to take photos for me.

The inflight entertainment thing is actually largely broken; we both tried to watch stuff and each system froze, then rebooted. So we resorted to the map, and learnt that Cabo is pretty much bang on the tropic.

It's a fancy new terminal since the last one got destroyed in a hurricane a few years ago, but there ain't no airbridges. Walk down the wobbly stairs and across the tarmac, yo. Christ, it's hot.

Supposedly, we knew what we were doing on arrival. We'd already filled out the immigration and customs forms, read up on the procedures in place, and knew where to get our transport. First, immigration. There's a very long queue but it moves ridiculously quickly. Tons of people still haven't filled out the forms, which are handed out on every incoming flight to the country. There are A4 versions sellotaped to pillars with felt tip scrawled "FILL OUT HERE" on the top and bottom sections. There's even a special cordoned off pen where people who haven't done so are shamed into standing.

Once at the front of the queue we're called forward and a marvellously surly border officer doesn't even look up when I say hello. She riips our forms apart at the perforations and aggressively stamps everything in sight and gets rid of us, the whole interaction taking about 5 seconds. This is not the plodding and officious nature of Mexican immigration I had read about.

Next, customs. The way Mexico operate random searches is that you hand someone your form saying you don't have $10k on you, tell them you don't have $10k on you, then hit a button. If, upon hitting it, the light goes red then someone will X-ray and maybe rifle your stuff; if it goes green you can walk through. Ours goes green and away we are.

Next up, two more rooms. First, a room full of timeshare salesmen and other aggressive folk trying to guilt you into responding to their lies - "this is the only place you can collect transport!" etc - and shamefully we fall for it. One guy goes, oh yeah, for supershuttle you have to go see that bloke. We go to that bloke - fuck knows why - and he quickly twigs that no, we've actually already paid for our accommodation and transport and there's really nothing he can do for us.

The next room is basically more of the same, but this time we don't bloody talk to anyone. I hate this shit in every country where it happens. Outside is even more chaos, though actually no-one looks like they're trying to sell a fare - it really is the pre-booked transport meeting point. Also there are THREE cocktail bars, literally 10 steps away in each direction from the doors. Hundreds of men (seemingly, all men) are. holding up signs and Helen spots the Grayline guy in lime green. He has stuff with my name on it, the destination, and a print out telling me we must call them to book return transport due to government regulations.

He hands us over to another guy, who walks us to a minibus with a family already in it. He seems surprised and borderline unwilling to take my tip. We're the only other fare so away we go. straight down the motorway to San Jose del Cabo. There is basically nothing picturesque about the journey and even the sign and entrance to the carpark for our hotel is pretty unedifying - I thought we were in the historic town centre, but we've just pulled off a ring road into a carpark with sleeping dogs lying.

We walk through the grounds, and oh, wait, this looks great. The pool looks inviting, there are palm trees and cats and birds in cages and a nice small reception area with a friendly woman and we're checked in. Is a ground floor room next to the pool OK? Yeah, go on then, let's see what that's like.

It's like this. That thing with the roof is the swim-up bar.

Paco the parrot.

Well I guess this'll do, won't it? We're a bit tired. The room is big and airy with aircon and a fan. I instantly put the TV on because the most important thing is whether I'll be able to watch AFC Wimbledon vs Plymouth Argyle in the League Two play-off final on Monday morning. There's no guide, paper or electronic, so I flick through the 100 or so channels and at least 6 of them are showing football or other sports. This bodes well, I hope.

First port of call is to go sit on the loungers by the pool. This we do for a while, but not actually too long; I get pretty pissed off pretty quickly by all the flies and insects, and besides we could do with some currency and liquids and other stuff so we go for a wander around town. The exit to street is indeed in the opposite direction from the car park and, oh, wow, we really are in the historic centre.

Fuck me, it's hot. But it's lovely. Quiet, calm, clean, and we're only around 20 metres from a large open square with bars and restaurants and galleries all around plus a very nice church. But it's too hot to stop and appreciate anything and we've things we need; I get some pesos from an ATM, and we nip into a shop to buy insect repellent, water, diet coke, and a few other supplies. Back at the hotel we have a siesta, and then go for some food.

The restaurant attached to our hotel is one of the best restaurants in the whole area - not just San Jose, but Cabo San Lucas (the party town half an hour away) too. It's beautiful inside and we kick things off with a couple of mojitos. I don't like mojitos usually, but the blueberry one takes the edge off the mint just enough that I really enjoy it. While being rickrolled by a Girl From Ipanema-esque cover of Never Gonna Give You Up, we order food.

Queso fundido con chorizo is a starter and is almost enough to fill both of us up. Well, I say that, but it's a lie. It's filthily unhealthy though - basically Mexican camembert. Here's some tortillas, now scoop a ton of freshly melted cheese into it and scoff that down. It's accompanied with salsa the likes of which neither of us have tasted before.

The piped covers give way to the live resident band. For main, Helen has a wonderful spinach and blue cheese salad while I go for more self-assembly in the form of shrimp fajitas. Another mojito and a beer too, why not. Best of all, we can charge this to our room.

The band are a bit too loud for our liking so we opt not to go sit at the bar, but we do fancy a drink. Ideally some takeouts, so we research off licences and google maps tells us there are none or at least none currently open. This can't be true, we decide, so head out and left this time, past numerous sellers of sexual potency drugs and into Oxxo, a shop like a petrol station only without the petrol. There are fridges full of beer so we buy 6 cans of Dos Equis plus two bottles of Diet Coke and the whole thing comes to less than £4. Blimey.

Apparently we've made it through the day, despite our jet lag, and so might finally be in the right timezone. What's more, there's no more bloody planes to get, for a while at least.

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