Notes; I travelled to NYC to meet up with my best mate, his brother and another close friend for a bachelor party/week of hanging out and exploring the Big Apple.
Impressions of NYC:
People are doing shit. From our apartment, we walked a block and through a park in a relatively quiet area of Manhattan (if that is possible) to find every square inch of the park literally filled with people, dogs and several hundred squirrels (..a guess?). But what really surprised/impressed me was not only was everyone out n’ about! but that every chess table, every table-tennis table and even every downball-wall was being utilized by the park goers. This theme was apparent in every park we passed in our adventures. I could not help but think that if that this was Australia, that all these park features would be most definitely be left unused.
My last morning in NYC, most-likely still feeling the ill affects of intoxication from the night before, I managed to stumble out of the apartment and down the street again in search for food and refreshments. I crossed one block over to explore a new street I had not seen in the last five days. I was almost stopped in my tracks as a vegan market was in full-flight. My previous experiences in the US and NYC were that of cheap-nasty fast food, something I had barely even seen let alone tasted in this entire week. While I gazed at the fresh and healthy options, I noticed some activity on the street behind the marketpalce. Police, Fire Engines and Ambulances lined the street, the road had been closed off at either end and the police and fire department were actively entering an apartment block. I realised I had witness all of this in no more than ten minutes…
Notes: We then travelled to Los Angeles, where I spent a few days catching up with my Family, travelled around california before the big Wedding.
Impressions of LA: One of the first unusual qualities of LA were the drivers. Possibly due to the high risk of getting ‘sued’ in California, LA drivers are unusally friendly and courteous to pedestrians. I was almost welcomed to cross infront of on-coming traffic, although I was waving the car to continue driving, they insisted that I indeed cross the road. This requiring the driver to slow down to a near complete stop on a main road with no traffic lights in sight. I felt almost guilty knowing that if I was driving, I would indeed be infuriated at some ingnorant pedestrian walking out infront of me but this is common practice in LA and the rest of California. I think in general, Californians live a fairly relaxed lifestyle which makes them good drivers (except for SF bay drivers in the snow).
Another common theme I noticed was that Los Angele-ians(?) and Californians are very dramatic people. I met many big personalities while I was there. While they are generally very friendly and social people but every little issue or story was told or acted out like the plot of day-time soap drama. Like I was watching The Hills or Gossip Girl LIVE 24/7! Well maybe not to that extent, but taking seat along the Venice Beach Boardwalk, wait 5-10 minutes and you are sure to witness:
a) An Market Stall owner complaining how the guy next to him copied his work
b) a homeless person muttering gibberish to themselves
c) religious freak claiming “the apolaclypse is upon us..”
d) street dude yelling gibberish at passer-bys
e) a marriage break-up
f) group of middle aged hippy/indies discussing how depressing the world has become
I also had the pleasure of living in a house no more than 50 feet from Venice Beach. Those lively characters that you see on the boardwalk also need to find their way to and from wherever they come from. This usually meant via the street I was staying on. I felt a little too close for comfort to these people. I think I said that “I’d rather be staying ten blocks from here, visit Venice Beach and then never come back…” The first morning I spent at the house, I was making my way out the front door to overhear some fruitful profanity. It seemed that some guy was not happy with ‘gary(??)’ and was making this apparent to the lady in his car. I listened in from the safety of behind the five foot high fence that secured our house from the outside world. I decided that this was not the best time to venture outside. The next time I walked outside, I could visibly see an oversized mohawk bobbing up and down along the fence line. The individual wearing the mohawk seemed to be also very tall and I could also see tattoos. I decided that this also wasn’t the best time to venture outside. The third time, I could hear several voices and see several what some may call gangsta’s bobbing up and down along the fence line… I had decided by now that I would rather take my chances with the dodgy back alley instead of the front gate.
One thing I did notice about Los Angel-ians is that most do not leave LA…. EVER! When I asked several LA-ians for directions to Agoura Hills (a place not far from LA) the response was either, “Never heard of it,” or “Oh that’s ages away, that’s like a ONE HOUR DRIVE!” …Hmmm, I’m pretty sure it takes more than one hour to drive a few blocks in downtown LA in peak hour, but a coastal cruise up the 101 Highway is seen as some kind of ordeal.
- What can be found outside LA. (Photo courtesy of my Sis)