Earlier this week I flew to Los Angeles (yes, I hate myself too). This being my first time in the States, I was told by well-travelled friends that I was well and truly diving straight in the deep end by visiting the City of Angels first… Turns out they were right.
This place is nuts. Having been here only a few days, my insight into the city is limited, but it’s such a bizarrely inspiring place that it seemed a shame not to dedicate a few words to it.
A few days back I was sat in Heathrow at some unholy hour waiting to board my first ever long-haul flight. In theory, sitting in the same spot for 13 hours is undoubtedly tedious, but as a first-timer it was all such a novelty for me.
I found the mini-individual TV screens so cool I sat through movies I would never have watched otherwise. I ate and drank everything offered to me throughout the flight, whether I wanted it or not; flying regularly with Ryanair makes you pretty stingy.
Once I landed, the shift in temperature was immediately apparent. Off with the jumpers (or sweaters as I may now start calling them), and out came the suncream (factor 50 every time, typical ginge). Sun is pretty amazing because it seems to drape happiness over everyone it touches. My body clock was trippin’ out, but as soon as I stepped out into the warmth, everything was good.
The first notable difference for me was the customer service here. As I filled out forms in LAX I was greeted immediately with a huge smile and a “Hey ma’am, do you need any help?”
It’s crazy how a gesture as simple as that can make you feel so welcome; a stark contrast to my experience in Heathrow, where I asked to switch seats and the woman at the check-in desk made me feel like the most difficult person on the face of the earth, and that by making her tap a few computer keys I had single-handedly ruined her entire day.
I’m still in super-tourist mode, taking pictures of every cactus, restaurant and highway road sign; just wait until I visit Hollywood because I foresee Facebook posts of the sign from every angle.
I experienced my first earthquake yesterday, mid-burrito. Everyone was pretty terrified, but the tourist within me was nothing but excited; I figure that surviving an earthquake (no matter how mild) makes me instantly a bit cooler than I was before.
The scenery here is pretty surreal. I really can’t get over how much it feels like another era. Looking around at sun-tinted pickup trucks and pastel-coloured houses makes me feel like I’ve momentarily stepped back in time. Cool.
As much as I’ve yet to believe it, I’m over here for musical purposes. Ahead of me is three weeks of shows, video-making and songwriting sessions. My immediate fascination with the city led me to question some LA residents that I’ve met and worked with so far.
Yesterday I wrote with a guy who described it as a “city of lost souls”; that most people that end up here came from elsewhere, and just didn’t quite fit in at home.
Others described it to me as a city of people all playing a part; that those serving you in bars and restaurants aren’t just waiters and waitresses, but budding producers, writers, musicians, directors and actors simply playing a part, following dreams and working away at something big while just doing what they could to get by.
I guess I haven’t been here long enough to form any rock-solid opinions about LA, but I can tell that it’ll be inspiring. I’m not entirely sure I quite fit in here, but I don’t think anyone does; maybe that’s the charm of the place.