Most things we write come out of a moment of enthusiasm
Time to brush the dust off this blog… About a year ago I headed off to America and here I am yet again. This time for a 5-6 week holiday travelling from Los Angeles to New Orleans, to Washington, to New York City, to Monterey, To Las Vegas, to the Grand Canyon, and back to LA for the flight home. I am travelling on my own which is both exciting and nerve-wracking. All the more reason to make friends along the way!
This was the first time heading overseas that I didn’t have someone to see me off from the gate at Adelaide airport. I thought I wouldn’t mind a lot, but leaving on that plane alone drove home the devastating loss of a long term relationship. This trip was originally booked with my then boyfriend who ended the relationship about two months ago because of his own personal issues. But anyway.
Generally, the flights were uneventful, as they usually are. I watched five movies from Syd-LA, and slept a little. I had to fix my headphone adapter (why are planes still using those stupid two pronged designs??) after it disintegrated when I bumped it shifting position about 30 minutes into the flight. Luckily I was able to collect all the little pieces, and then had the brain teaser of getting them all back together with zero knowledge of how such a thing even worked. But all the pieces fit together nicely after plenty of thinking and fiddling and I used a band-aid to hold it together for the rest of the flight.
I have to say, despite the bad rep plane food has, it doesn’t taste half bad. I opted for the vegetarian penne pasta, which I got steaming hot and was quite delicious served with salad, bread roll and chocolate cake. Later we got chicken sandwiches and potato chips. Breakfast was warm crepes filled with warm mascapone cheese and blueberries, served with stewed apricots, fruit salad and a blueberry muffin. It was a delicious breakfast, much better than expected.
Clearing immigration and customs was no issue, although the guy checking passports seemed determined we were all terrorists (or maybe just hated his job), and didn’t return my friendly “good morning” greeting. Not even a smile.
Next fun adventure was to try and get to my couch host’s house in Glassel Park. First of all, I had only realised shortly before boarding my plane that I had made a huge error and would be arriving in LA a day before I told him I would be. I also wasn’t sure if I’d be able to access wifi at LAX, and I didn’t have a phone. Finally, I had been told that the house was somewhat difficult to find. All in all, I was pretty sure I was going to end up in a hotel for my first night in LA. I needn’t have worried. LAX offered free wifi so I was able to log on to see that Aaron has left me very detailed direction of how to find the house and an invitation to just let myself in if he wasn’t at home and which bed to sleep in. Next I had a lovely old cab driver armed with a GPS and a smile. It also turned out the house wasn’t that tricky to find, but some people apparently just can’t follow clear directions and markers. I found the house, Aaron was there, and I was able to get clean and use the internet. All was saved.
My only goal for the first day In LA was to get a SIM card for my phone. Last time I had just purchased a crappy phone that could make calls and send text messages, but this time I needed something a bit more versatile. I packed my smartphone so I could skype home while on trains that didn’t have wifi, Facebook, etc. No one seemed to be able to offer any advice on which network was best, so I opted for T-Mobile. Armed with directions to the local shopping centre via bus, off I toddled.
I suppose I should detail some of the sensory aspects of LA. The smog makes all the colours seem washed out, hazy, and the air feels dirty too. It was a bit over 22C and people were dressed in jackets and commenting how chilly it was. I walked around in a t-shirt and shorts and thought I should be wearing sunscreen and a hat. Everything about LA feels big. The streets go beyond the horizon and the tall downtown buildings are plastered with advertisements to keep you entertained as you fly down the freeways. Big cars are driven by big people in big hats. I visited a supermarket and had to walk past the bakery, snackfoods, freezers and cleaning aisles before I found the fresh produce section tucked up the back. Any Australian supermarket leads you to the fresh foods right by the entrance. The nectarines and peaches are in season over here, but the colours still seem washed out, or over-exaggerated like the grapes that looked like plastic. Again the packaged foods are big, giant buckets of icecream for less than $5 and 1.3kg bags of cornchips on special. It makes me feel a bit sick just shopping there, the colours of the packaging are too garish. It makes me think that the poor relationships Australians have with alcohol is mimicked in the relationships Americans seem to have with food. Big serves, sources of entertainment and pleasure.
Armed with apples, nectraines, water and a functioning smartphone, I made my way home. Bed time was at 5pm and despite the loud Saturday night party next door, I slept soundly until 5am, and again from 8-12:30.
I now feel exhausted, just tired, jet lagged. Not so much sleepy, just missing energy. So today is a home day. Hopefully sort out my couches for when I visit New Orleans and beyond, and just rest.