“Every day I live in the hope if not quite conviction that a person’s weaknesses can also in roundabout or direct ways be their strengths”. Might have gone to a new paragraph too early. “If ignorance was once bliss for me, those days are in most ways long gone. Only the reasoned, believable or analytical arguments of others and occasionally even myself can comfort me these days”. Oh, I get it. I’d decided to list (what I thought were) poignant thoughts in among the more matter-of-fact recordings of my journey. I’ll keep on listing them because whether they make sense or not they must’ve actually been what I was thinking at the time, perhaps unbelievably. “I never get to know people who make incorrect judgements of me too well, because through their ignorance and prejudice they build walls I cannot scale.” How’s that for poignancy!? The Lost Boys theme played appropriately from a cafe while I walked down the Venice Beach boardwalk, on this occasion. Not sure why right now, but I decided I hated airports that don’t have direct train services. “First mistake: not flying into San Fran”. What? I didn’t then nor do I now have any knowledge that San Francisco’s airport has direct train services from the airport to the city. I must’ve been in the final stages of lingering jet-lag. “I’m courageous and, like everyone, where my courage reaches its limits, I’m stubborn, should the situation call for it.” Ha ha ha ha. That’s good. “The world is overpopulated. A person’s importance is diluted by the sheer mass of others in existence. The best way to learn the lesson is to fail the first test.” I think that last bit was in reference to giving the reggae dude $8 for his shitty CD that sat in my satchel for most of the trip and ended up being thrown in the bin somewhere in the UK. “Shock was the reaction when the young man flying 10 hours didn’t want an alcoholic beverage”. Oh, that was the flight from Auckland. I must’ve had that double shot of Johnnie Walker at the bar before takeoff. I think I was ignorant of the fact that booze is free on long-haul flights.
The Del Monte Speakeasy was a bar across Windward that I enjoyed more frequently than any other in LA. According to my notes, on this day the previous night’s details were hazy. I remembered talking to some guy who paid my bar tab. Someone, I can’t remember who, said it was common for well-moneyed locals to pay for the drinks of friendly, boozy tourists. I also wrote that I was sure I’d recall our conversation with time. I was wrong. We probably stuck to political and philosophical differences between the US and Australia. I asked one of a group of Swedish girls how her night on top of a nearby hotel, which could be seen from the hostel, went. She said her friends and her hadn’t gone up there. They must’ve changed their plans. The “legal” marijuana grower’s name was Freddie. One of the most ill-suited to his name dudes I’ve ever met in my life. I sleep a lot, according to a conversation I overheard while “sleeping” between him and the happy Pommie guy – James. I can’t believe I was still getting over the jet-lag at this point. The day was “shot to hell” by my hangover. I read and chatted in the smoking area to three clean-cut Melbournian guys in town for a wedding. “The only person I have to argue with about travel plans is me.” Kind of a random thought. Perhaps I was reminiscing on driving from the Gold Coast to the Whitsundays with an ex-girlfriend. Though the only conflict I could remember having with her was wishing she’d get over her timidity and share the driving.
On this day, I first experienced heavy west-coastal fog that moved in from the ocean and smelled of methane. I also decided that Bryce Courtenay wrote “heavy shit. Awesome though.” Man, I didn’t finish that book (Tommo & Hawk) until New Orleans, more than a month later. I must’ve been having a damn good time. Uh oh: “To be sure, I’ll only scratch the surface the entire trip. Life has a certain rhythm to it that you sometimes find yourself tapped into. And sometimes don’t.” Sometime after these ruminations I recorded sitting at on the hostel’s balcony with Aussie Sylvia, Melbournian James, Pommie James, American pot-head Freddie and Pepe the Bulgarian cleaner. We talked about everything, and nothing. I remember putting a status update on Facebook something to the effect that only while travelling could you possibly be mingling with such a variety of represented nations. Well, I guess it’d be more likely if you worked at the United Nations. Back at the Del Monte again tonight. This time for a band playing downstairs, and my Morning of the Earth t-shirt got me free entry. The Youngs were playing. I have absolutely no memory of their music. But I did meet chunky Egyptian-American makeup artist Alex, whose own band’s bassist was playing for The Youngs. She described their sound as a mix of Pink Floyd and another band I can’t remember the name of. How helpful. I’d, apparently, add Nirvana. Who said grunge was dead? She had “Cleopatra’s face, but unfortunately Napoleon’s body”. Bit harsh. Apparently she had spent some time in Egypt, though she was US-born. A very intelligent yet unfortunately built makeup artist. This turned out to be the first drinking session of the trip for which I remembered going to sleep. The jet lag had finally been defeated. Go me.