What I Did On My Holidays


Chapter 8

L.A.

10/11/99
Day 4 Part 2

We are now in L.A. In truth we didn't plan to be in L.A., we don't want to be in L.A., we are only here to see Max. This might be bad for his ego.

Max is a guy Linda knew around ten years ago when he was finishing school in Oz. He then headed off to university in the US and popped back to Australia once in a while. I met him a few times way back then.

We last saw him just before he headed back to the US. The previous night had seen him drinking too much at a farewell for him. He drank so much that he was forced to wear sunglasses the next day when he had lunch with us. This wasn't because of the hangover, but in a vain attempt to hide his newly shorn eyebrow.

His eyebrow is singular. Thick black and fails to divide in the centre above the nose, so he really only lost one quarter of his eyebrow. Anyway, we laughed at him. As he left the country and I said, "Bye Nax." (Visual gag that one, think of the letter 'M' and shave off one leg... get it?) None of this is entirely true.

Maybe this offended him, because Max then ceased to exist. He wasn't the type to reply to letters or ring, and this was the olden days when email was unheard of outside universities, so nothing was heard from him. There were rumours of his death, that he joined the army, or he'd been kidnapped by aliens and had bizarre experiments performed on him. Well, I made that last one up so he would be happier with my final theory that he was recruited by the CIA for covert operations. This would also explain the strange and irregular hours he works...


So Linda tracked Max down somewhat accidentally a few months before we left. He said he was in L.A. and we said we were going to S.F., wanna meet? He said, after a long silence when we thought he'd disappeared again, that his job was really unpredictable, he often worked 12hr+ days and weekend and was on call the rest of the time, so name a date and he'd do his best to fit us in.

We land in L.A. and we're hoping Max can "fit us in" but we haven't talked for a few weeks.

His best was pretty darn good. He hired a car (because his is a two seater MX5), took two days off work, picked us up from the airport, showed us some bits of L.A., some good restaurants, spent a lot of time with us, and two days later dropped us off at the airport. What a guy!

The eyebrow had grown back. (He did have a driver's licence with a picture of him with an embarrassingly pink patch where his eyebrow wasn't. I laughed.)

This first thing I noticed about L.A. was the atmosphere of the city. This atmosphere was visible before the city was. It obscured the surrounding hills. It extended over the sea. It tasted bad. It was a good day for L.A.

Next was the accommodation. The hotel room had two queen size beds, a wardrobe and shower. All for half the price of a room in Japan, and it didn't smell of old cabbage. A friend had just returned from the US complaining of the lack of quality coffee. This room had a coffee machine which we didn't even use because we got so much good coffee elsewhere in L.A. C'est la vie.

We have now seen Venice Beach and the canals around there. Nice but a tad weird. We saw Muscle Beach and no-one was working out. We had no desire to see any of these sights because we didn't  want to see L.A., we wanted to catch up with Max. But we could do both at the same time since we were in the area and they were an experience. Definitely an experience.

That night, a tour of Santa Monica, or at lest a few bits of it. One street, two bookshops, both open at 10:00pm on a Wednesday. Barnes and Noble, three stories of books and a lovely coffee aroma. Just how books should be presented:)

There is also a nice little rock shop thereabouts. Perfect for the 100 kg egg shaped shiny rock, the limestone slab coffee table complete with fossilized fish, or even that polished rock sphere you've always wanted. Amazing stuff, but rather expensive for my budget and tough on the carry-on luggage.

We also heard that there had been another earthquake in Turkey (see the  Prolog  for a list of disasters before our trip except for the Japanese nuclear stuff up where some workers put way too much uranium in a heap and were then surprised (and scorched) when it did the nuclear chain reaction thing). The world is shaking apart and we're sitting in  a fourth floor apartment in L.A. Ten out of ten for style, minus several million for good thinking. (© Copyright Douglas Adams)


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