Although I've now been to the USA on several occassions, I have not forgotten my first impressions and reading back recently through the diary I kept at the time has been very interesting. My daughter has recently returned from spending a year in California and comparing notes has highlighted similarities and differences between her experiences and mine.
Of course I was only there for little more than two weeks on my first visit but we both flew into Los Angeles International and our first impressions were of California.
She sees it as the sunshine state of almost permanent holiday and never fading tan. I arrived, in June 1983, in dull, overcast weather and polluted air. Maybe that is the difference between September and June or maybe it says a lot for Californian efforts to clean up its environment, if so well done California!
Our experiences of customs and immigration were similar despite the 33 year time difference and the greatly changed technology.
My most recent visit to the US was in August 2017. A leisurely tour through some of the southern states including Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee. We were fortunate with our timing, arriving a week after parts of Houston and New Orleans had flooded and leaving four days before hurricane Harvey struck. It was my first time in the south and very different from my first visit to the desert states of the West, but more of that later.
First a transcription from my 1983 diary, starting with my flight to LA the day after Margaret Thatcher won her second term as Prime Minister in the UK. I do have photos. Old fashioned slides. They are somewhere, filed safely, in my attic. After I retire (not long now), I'll look them out and scan them to add pictures and a gallery to the diary notes.