The good, the bad and the ugly
My introduction to America came by way of the City of Angels. It was a bumpy introduction, a rude awakening of sorts. In our naivety, we had booked an Airbnb near the downtown area. As we drove through the rugged streets from the airport, I felt like I was reliving my days of playing San Andreas. But I was not CJ. Homeless people pushed their trolleys along the sidewalks and decrepit buildings plastered in graffiti glared at us as we drove past. Our accommodation was located in an industrial area and it was hardly close to any shops, and those that were close were barricaded by characters lingering the street corners. All my tourist fears came to life, every rap lyric from Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dog, Dr. Dre, The Game, Tupac and Eazy-e about the hood became a possibility. Where was the fast life I had seen on TV?
We soon came to learn that public transport in LA isn't the best - I began to miss Melbourne trams - so we hired a car through this awesome app called Turo. Driving with the top down we ventured to Venice Beach and encountered so many wacky and interesting characters, watched some basketball and enjoyed some cocktails under the Californian sun. I loved the relaxed atmosphere. Everybody was so friendly. A new side of California emerged and some of my fears subsided.
The filmmaker fanatic in me came out when we went to Hollywood Universal studios. It was such a blast exploring the movie and TV show sets. We even had the chance to take part in a stunt show which was awesome. My fiance, Tenda got to dress up as an astronaut. I won't spoil the story. Watch the video below for the twist!
In our adventures we couldn't miss out on a night in Beverly Hills and Hollywood Boulevard. The night came alive. girls dressed to the nines. Porches, Escalades, Ferraris, Lamborghinis filled the streets. I caught a glimpse of the high life, people ballin' and the rapper lifestyle. It became a game for us. How many Ferraris can we spot in a minute?
In our time in LA, we encountered so many friendly people. They were happy to meet some Australians but they always warned us. 'Be careful,' we were told. 'There are some shady characters in LA.' 'Welcome to crazy city' one of our Uber drivers exclaimed. I'm glad to say we didn't encounter any of these characters. But we did meet a man by the name of Rigo. He was of Mexican descent and had moved to America many years ago. He had lived in this country, Canada and New Zealand but at the time he was working as a cleaner for a restaurant for $13/hr . He told us he had two kids and making ends meet was a juggling act. He spoke with a fondness for Canada and New Zealand with a hope of one day moving there.
As an introduction to the United States of America , Los Angeles showed me that America is as great as it is terrible. The duplicity of its character was inherent in the racing Ferraris on Sunset Boulevard and the multitudes of homeless people sleeping on the sidewalks. Stories like Rigo's conveyed to me an exhaustion with the America dream. It is no longer available to everyone, but for those that do achieve it, man oh man is it sweet.