LA – Burbank – memory bit 1
It’s getting to a while ago now, that trip to California though I never did get round to ending that bit of brain dumping before the space was entirely formatted to make room for nothing that I can inmedidley identify.
Long Island ice tea or some sort of variant upon it, that much I do remember having along with my dinner. The plastic friendliness of the waiter was slightly less and the food though I have no recollection of what it was, was decent.
The Long Island ice tea relative was pretty good and after a couple there was bit of a base layer. We’d attempted a look at what looked like a prospective place of life and populous on our pre-dinner rounds, doing a recon mission just behind it boarders. Whatever it was was up some stairs and that’s about where I had gotten to, enough to hear the unwelcoming hollow echo of a none frequented upstairs. With such unsuccessful memories of our first circuit of the town centre in mind Mitch took up his third or forth favourite thing and began to enquire about local places with the nearest service sector person he could find.
For it is well understood and known in the small circle of familiars that it is the serving up of food or the standing behind of bars than can most entice Mitch, though being by most standards relatively withdrawn and passive in such matters a brief bought of conversation is about the level to which this will generally evidence itself to the world.
This was a male service sector person, who I believe had been doing something on the military previously – so his interest was simply in some generally unnecessary verbal exchanges that resulted in Us getting to know some barest minimum things about a chap we shall almost certainly never come upon again and which can’t be transferred as learnings to any boarder world experiences… These then are the types of things you get to know and clog up limited memory space with, when one of your number feels the need to share and insight back a form of polite acknowledgment response sharing.
He did mention some bars one of which seemed like we probably had missed it on our earlier circuit, somewhere additional to see if it contained the trace elements of life. With that information successfully gleaned and tucked under our arms it was time to head on out, to see what we might see in the night hours in Burbank.
LA – Burbank – memory bit 2
It was not immediately findable this other bar, the others all congregated around two central squares, this as yet undiscovered one had snuck of and located itself on the corner one further horizontal or vertical (depending on ones perspective) street down, not part of the generally accepted huddle.
The karaoke here, for while it was well populated, it was a theme bar from that seemingly much mourned 50s / 60s time of happy days and today it was having its karaoke time, was not up to San Francisco next top pop star standards, remained superior to what is customarily inflicted back home.
If memory serves this place had pints and with all the general to-ing and fro-ing time passed well enough. Groups were clearly in mini competitions with their friends as one got up after another and again sole seemed to put the performance first steering clear of the the types of beverages that would be the very rational for most Brits to be frequenting such a place. Soft drinks are after all for the designated deliver and there should be at least 4 or 5 others for each of these.
The evening had passed into night some time ago, it was enjoyable enough, relaxing, in a diverting but basically uneventful sort of way, until eventually it seemed to make more sense to begin the stretched out largely straight meander back to the safari inn .. Or whatever it was called – shall surely be reminded when it comes time to rifle about in the accompanying photos.
LA – memory bit 3
This was our one full remaining day in the USA and the question, which at some no longer recalled point was answered, what to do with it?
We had our car but hearing bad things about central LA or for whatever other reason, perhaps simply wishing to try for ourselves the U.S. Interpretation of a public service, we opted to head for the train station instead. For that was the day’s intent, to pay a visit to Central LA.
It was quite hot out and although we arrived rushing at the station with only moments to go until the departure time, the train did not.
We could have dumped our tickets and headed back to the car but it was a 15 min walk and the talk was of a 30 min delay. Talk was wrong, the more local people who shared the platform were scarce and though few trains came or went in either direction it became clear from the utterances being expressed that this challenge of operating a functional train service was not an uncommon one in these parts. Disgruntled persons melijgered and we waited it out, regretting not have more swiftly returned for our car because clearly that what people around here are meant to do – take to the overly congested road system and soak it up.
You could argue that the train did eventually come or you could suggest that intact it never arrived and that what we all eventually got onto was in fact the next scheduled service, that had been due to run anyway that considerable time later.
It was so so very hot, the train had been a pleasant temperature controlled escape but now it really was quite something. My brain could barely cope with or without none to fashion statement hat shade, I could feel the heat melting things upon which I felt myself generally reliant. Water, shade
At a cross roads we stood opposite a palatial great monument of a building in opulent splendor that transpires to be the police hq, not quite the prefabricated relic of glorified shed more customarily seen scaring towns throughout the UK with its 50/60s blight. To our right a road ran alongside, shopping trot after shopping trolley some forming an upright support to s modest test of unpleasant looking materials, a vast unedifying row of destitution and homelessness, a mini shanty town before the glass towers that were soon to commence before us.
You could hope that with a fresh start and so much knowledge of our mistakes, that the new world would have been somehow more than what it left behind. Instead the extent to which its stuck in a modern incarnation our past, a dismally disappointing retrograde step, rendering it at best perhaps as a glaring warning to us all, of what can be allowed to happen if you learn only how to do wrong from the wrongs that are done to you. It is not the sight of such warped priorities that is the warning, those can be seen in part wherever you go, it’s not even the unabashed extremes in which it displays itself, it’s the apparent devotion to it all, a blight of the mind with no sign of fading into time. It’s kind of a tragedy for all of us, though less selfishly it’s a more present and less abstract one for the people whose trollies lined that street.
Meanwhile my head was embarking upon an attempted tail spin, lightly steamed and loosing traction with itself and things in general. Never have been wholly stunned to the hotter climate leaving my brain captain looking and trying to wrestl back control from assorted members of his crew who overcome had either downed tools and started running around in circles or were at there post cackling manically to themselves.
We found an underpass, it was shady, cool and had a shop which had among its available produce assorted options of bottled water, most gratefully purchased.
Still we were exploring the city on foot, conducting the now quite familiar exploratory circuit but on the full glare of the midday sun, it went somewhat easier with those bottles, melting was a more gradual process but it was a process beneath the high glassy buildings of the somewhat sterile streets.
After training it back I rather imagine I took once more to the pool, what with the temperatures and all.
As evening fell we headed of to the much recommended universal studios walk way – neither of us could muster the beginnings of an understanding for why anyone would ever recommend a person to venture to these parts. A cheap sort of open air shopping center consisting only of those stores that you would never normally or now venture toward.
There was the large universal globe spinning, we took photos of that because we were here and left.
This is going to sound terribly grouchy but we then headed for Hollywood boulevard, because we were here and it seemed like a logical thing to see while we were here. Finding a space was challenge and by then it was dark, the area was properly grim, unclean and aside from some stars embedded in the paving with which to play spot the name of someone famous, there was truly little to see. We took a picture of one those more famous stars that we happened upon, never saw the Harrison ford one and returned to our car.
Getting out of there proved tricky and the return to Burbank, defeated in our aim to find an alternative place of interest to eat and take in the evening, took some time. Late for dinner we dumped the car in a side road close to Burbank center, saving some precious walking time and went to seek out something that met our standards, something that was still serving.
We ended up at a Chinese, I like Thai, I like Japanese, Korean, i like many of these countries foods very much indeed. This was a Chinese restaurant, carefully chosen through the merit of being all but next door to our initial choice who had welcomed us in but then confessed to having supply issues with any number of the theoretically available dishes on their menu.
Still we’d gotten about and seen the sorts of things that ought to be worth taking in, the fact that they weren’t was almost secondary.
What to do after dinner was a problem, the options there were, had been fairly much explored yesterday and now we could repeat or not, if not then what?
We dillied and dalied about the place, one foot in one foot out and turn it all about, eventually returning to the place we’d turned out back on the day before, the place with the echoing upstairs, today the only place with a semblance of life about it.
Upstairs a tribute band that had barley escaped the 80s, but suffering overly from Stockholm syndrome had opted to take a great deal of it with them, they were offering up some of their once favourites now one might suspect painfully familiars. For all that they weren’t bad. Getting served at the bar that was the primary issue.
It was uneventful or if there was an event then it was the sort that has subsequently faded.
LA – last day memory bit
On the last day the flight was not until the early evening so there remained much of a day at our disposal.
We took to the car and drove off, first toward the Hollywood sign, the roads were not really overly sign posted and grew into quite narrow mountain side tracks.
Unclear on how close the road got to the thing we would drive along and see where it took us, stopping of once briefly before deciding that if we followed it further we could surely get closer.
So it was, though movies where people loiter or sit upon the signs, this was not, up up there upon a hill there were letters – that is all.
We passed a bunch of congregating people and headed on, perhaps there was a better view of a footpath that bent up to get a person closer.
As we stood taking the look we are here photos two others materialised and wondered up to us, they were young and with an accent that I couldn’t immediately be place. I think they wanted us to take their photos before the famous sign.
It transpired they were German as we transpired to not be American either, one was here to do an internship with a politician somewhere up the coast -around where we’d been earlier in the week and would be out here for a while yet. There is something pleasantly direct often about the Germans a thug about their apparent cultural norm that makes a lot of sense to me.
To my mind the priority was seeing about potential path ways up, as pleasant as these two were the sense that there must be some sort of route up the hillside occupied thoughts, there was not, least not one that was located, merely some signs warning people that patrols were armed in these parts or something to that effect. And why not.
We now took a diverted route back to the coast, via Beverly Hills. It didn’t need a sign, suddenly and out of nothing the roads were pleasant, they had grass verges, the properties set back and looked like they had been build with more than the next 20 years in mind. The thing snot the place were the vivid lines of division and brazen stark contrasts, there was not doubt though, this was aesthetically at least a very nice place to be living. We weren’t stopping and drove on though, onward toward the coast.
This is where LA seemed at its best, mile upon mile of golden sand beeches accompanied by attractive little town/villages. If you wanted a beech holiday and didn’t mind a bit of flying then this was certainly a fine place to come.
Most of the time was spent in leisurely coastal driving though we did stop off briefly on a couple of occasions.
The destination end point at which we were to turn around was to be where we’d started, that first evening with ‘uv gawht it’ waiter and his not so substantially supported general utterances. When we got there or there about and wondered the pier, the realisation that this wasn’t half as nice as some the areas we’d passed through on route was not a hard one to stumble upon.
We took to the speeder highways and headed back toward the airport but first toward one of those pleasant little beech side areas that lay close o it. We would have out last hour or so and out pre flights meal intake there instead.
One rather large burger later time was more than up, the car needed unfortunately (for I’d grown all together to attached to the oversized road blimp) to be returned, fuel filled and the game of guess the top amount played, then bus it back to the terminal and prepare for the Ryan air reject flight that would be the first leg of our return journey – this time via New York.
Arriving into New York we made our way as promptly as possible to our connecting gate…Mitch having studied the time and mentioned it was a close run thing … It was closed, no sign of anyone, we’d missed it.
So of to the United desk with us and a query of what next … Now this was both good news and somewhat oh I c news at the same time – our flight had not gone, it would not be going anywhere for some time, Mitch was very much on California time and had therefore come to a flawed conclusion on the nature of our situation.
There was time for sitting, time for breakfast (it was not the finest, scrambled eggs and bacon-esk offering in a transparent plastic receptacle contact- visually more appealing than digestivley) and pointless drifting wondering about circuits.
Then it was time to head home.
Our experience of San Francisco was over, we left as early as access to breakfast at the hotel would allow, so as to hopefully avoid any business rush hour traffic. The Jeep was parked up in the block next door, within one of the many multistorys with the erroneous priced advertisements but within very handy short distance.
We loaded up and headed off, once more at the mercy of the Sat-Nav and its occasionally unusual take upon the concept of point to point navigation.
Leaving San Fransisco never easy – it seemed – having past some familiar sights from the night before some time ago, things kept on going rather from there. Suburbs it seemed or something akin to Suburbs, either way about an hour past, largely unimpeded by any vast traffic build up and we didn’t seem to have left the place, most expansive.
The route we were taking back was quite different to the trip up, a direct and straight line through inland California, no stops were planned just to get ourselves back down to LA in as shorter order as we could, today was dedicated simply to that purpose.
The memorable bit of this journey centered around the main trench of straight upon which we found ourselves. About us there was mostly nothing, though surprisingly in certain patches things that looked like farms appeared, the landscape looked like it was verging on dessert and not particularly well disposed to offering lush vegetation and nutritional bounty, appearance must be deceptive as clearly something was growing among the dust.
The air con was on, windows being open was doing little other than letting the suns rays in unintentionally and a whole load of warm air with them, the air con was not exactly victorious either. It was warm out.
We stopped sometime after midday at the site of some sort of road side stop off place, it wasn’t a town, it didn’t appear to be near very much at all, so I think it was just that, a place for petrol and pause among the hot and the nothing.
There were burritos on offer at the first place we wondered too, it was made up to look like an old western town a bit like you might see in such movies. Mitch in what clearly transpired to be something quite apart from infinite wisdom wanted to go an inspect the Taco Bell. No one should ever go and inspect a Taco Bell or least if they do they should go with one clear though in mind, do not eat the merchandise, never consume the merchandise. We did, that was a fine lesson harshly learnt – those were not beans, they didn’t taste like beans and the brown molten mess did not put me in mind of any sort of bean, at best a superheated bean by-product. I feel though this must be a thing known to all domestic dwellers of taco bell infested lands and is probably something that none domestics should be better apprised off upon arrival.
With my digestive systems and many of my senses stunned it was time to head on, the second part of the day, my turn to drive. It ought to be simple driving in straight line, its not and technically it is but it wasn’t, between the heat and the apparently unending hypnotic straightness of things the concentration has its wobbles. By now the cruise control was familiar and the idea of accelerating and slowing by pushing steering wheel adjacent buttons was a familiar, yet in equal measure, a still intriguing and peculiar approach and one I tended toward abandoning whenever other vehicles were in any kind of proximity. The gears though, they went quite untouched, that lesson it seemed had been learnt along with the Taco Bell, admittedly the second one, never tested but I feel fairly confident that something was learnt this day.
I cant say that I believe there was so very much else to recant about the days travels other they past in reasonably swift order and we arrived at our next stop, a hotel in Burbank LA, at the earliest juncture that we could have expected, late afternoon.
It wasn’t so much a hotel, again more a motel, a collection of rooms no more than two storeys high but it had a pool and it was nowhere near so late as to warrant not using it. Mitch went for a run in the not quite but still altogether very present, midday sun, I being somewhat and ever more all to about the limited excursions, went for a wallow.
We were not in central Burbank, as evening arrived and it became to venture out once more in pursuit of dinner it seemed we were about 20minutes or so away from central Burbank, though it was a simple straight one road walk to get back there. We did a customary lap and settled on a bar/restaurant that lay around the end of that lap. The center was quite small and closely wrapped, laid out like a digital figure eight..
Meanwhile in Zurich I’m attempting to watch some house series 7 – it seems like quite a weak series so far – watching in on the balcony while Grandfathers sleep, to a background of rain and the occasional departing and arriving flight, during such moments its best to pause the DVD, for the aging Fujitsu laptop it compete most poorly with such things and such things they come at relatively regular intervals, during which time I get to look out at the green, the grey and the wet, its still there.