Travel

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It’s a cool 62 degrees outside here in LA, although the outlook is anything but the typical sunny vista Los Angelinos are accustomed to. It’s raining like a mofo right now. There have been evacuations in some counties, as torrential mud slides are expected before the weekend is over. Coming from Baltimore, following blizzards, thunder snow, ice storms, tornado warnings and–yes–a few perfectly sunny days, I suppose mud slides are just another thing. If a wrinkled old mystic had warned me in recent days to avoid mountains, then I would have done well to listen.

Rainy downtown LA.

Rainy downtown LA.

 

Christine is off at a conference, some small gathering of academics trading discussions on the indigenous peoples of the Pacific. That’s how we ended up here, but we’re extending our stay to explore and visit with friends. It is for both of us a much needed break.

I’m in my pj’s in the hotel, trying to figure out how I can work in two lunches today, so that I can cross multiple food explorations off my list. Local institution Philippe’s is a few blocks away, and Roy Choi’s Chego a few blocks from that. Dinner is already planned at new local darling Alma. We made the reservations a month ago, and I expect to be impressed. I am quite disappointed that we were not able to fit in a trip to animal. Next time, LA, next time.

This excessive meal planning is par for the course for a food nerd like myself, and as you might imagine Christine is no different. Before I said a word, she already had a list of LA restaurants not dissimilar from my own. I really have no idea what to think about LA yet (I’m trying to reserve judgment), but at least when I come to town here I know there’s food of every kind to be explored.

I did get my first real sense of LA’s sheer scale yesterday. It was during a long $75(!!!) cab ride from the airport. I had understood LAX to be in LA, and I guess it is, but if you set the needle of your compass at downtown and extend the arm to the airport and it’s a sheer hour away… are we really in the same town? Or at some point did someone just say fuck it and decide the whole county was itself the city?

It seems to me almost immediately that when so many Americans say they don’t like LA, what they really mean is that they’re exhausted by LA. The town exacts a toll of mental fortitude, and payment is expected immediately upon receipt. No skipping out on this check. I haven’t had much time to socialize here, but the social aspect seems little different from what I know of it. Rigid pretentions and expectations about carved out personal identities. We’re a little less interested in that on the East Coast. Or maybe we just pursue it differently. A number of our personal rivalries are fought by proxy of our sports teams, for example, not by the make of our clothes or who we might know.

It’s been a long time since I’ve written in here, and there’s been a lot going on. I’ve actually had some health issues going on lately, though I’m not sure that’s anything I need to get into here. But my doctor has advised me to make some adjustments, and I think that journaling might prove an appropriate outlet yet again.

More posts this weekend, maybe. But they’ll need to be short. Typing at length on this tablet without my keyboard (that I left at home) is akin to squeezing the toothpaste back into the tube. Not exactly fun.

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