I was unprepared for what I was seeing. The dazzling glow below me stretched forever. The 747 had been descending for some time but the sea of red, orange and white lights showed no signs of letting up – if anything, they were getting brighter.
I tried to do the calculation in my head. If our airspeed was averaging two hundred miles an hour and we’d been on the descent path for more than fifteen minutes that meant we’d already flown over fifty miles of buildings and freeways and lights. Was that even possible? Just how big was Los Angeles anyway?
We touched down at seven-twenty pm on November 16th, 1976. As I walked toward the customs and immigration a huge poster of Mayor Tom Bradley welcomed me to ‘Los Angeles, The City of Angels’. I was actually here; I was in America for the first time.
Like millions of hopefuls before me I had come to seek my fortune and build a new life. I carried with me a backpack, a suitcase, a return ticket on TWA departing December 15th and a headful of dreams. I had less than thirty days and four hundred and fifty dollars to build a base here or to return to Torquay with my tail between my legs.