2 Days in Los Angeles

Read Now, The Himalayan Tsunami - a gritting new novel by Vidyut Rautela

Sometime you have these epiphanies in most inappropriate of the moment. I too had one on the night I was returning from the La-La land. While running on Hollywood Boulevard to catch 22:22 bus back to San Jose, I found out that, well, I couldn’t run … not anymore. When i started my sprint I had about fifteen minutes to cover a distance of 1.2 miles. The road was straight on, footpath was clear though it was bit slipper because of the rain. I ran through the street lights not waiting for it to turn. My pack had some weight but by no standards it was heavy. And yet, I failed, I was out of breath only half way through. It was a walk of shame for me on the street famous for the walk of fame.

22:15 was the time and I still had a good half a mile to go. I knew I couldn’t do it, I was completely exhausted with my shirt drenched in sweat. My bus was to leave in next five minutes, so, I did what I probably should have done in the first place. I saw a taxi on the other side of the road, I ran to it, opened the door asked him to reverse. In next three minutes I was standing by the door of the bus as the driver verified my ticket.

Damn! That was close.

I knew I had to do something about it, I had to cut down the extra pounds that I had put on and I had to increase my stamina.

The bus ride with Bolt bus from LA to San Jose was as smooth as it was in the other direction. Despite my constant fear that the bus driver might fall asleep as lights were switched off and there was no music playing, to make it worse he had no one to talk to. That’s what we in India do, blast music at max, or have someone by your side who we can constantly chat while driving.

I reached LA very early in the morning and walked to my hostel, walk of fame, in complete darkness. It was cold and a few shady looking people passed by too, I was finally relieved when the door open when I hit the buzzer. I slept off in the couch as the room wasn’t ready, which I found later that it more of a policy to release rooms only at the time of check in and not anytime before that.

I had a stomach full of breakfast, a glass of orange juice and a few blueberry cupcakes before I set off to see the city. I was divided between the Getty center and Griffith observatory and in the end chose to go to downtown. I had already taken the walk on the famous ‘Walk of Fame’ so one point was already checked off from the list.

I bought a metro card for the day ($1 for the card and $7 for day ticket) and headed straight to my destination. The red line takes you straight from Hollywood/ Highland to Union Station. When i got out I was in for a big surprise, the station was jam packed with people. People have come out on the street to oppose the newly sworn president, the guy who had just released a statement confirming to build the wall. Build friendship and not the walls!

I cut through the protest, somewhat amused and somewhat concerned. I had a field day reading all those radically funny signboards, the streets of download LA was like one giant museum with displays as weird as those found in The Broad.

The star attraction of the Broad museum is the Yayoi Kusama’s infinity room, somethings so attractive about Japanese and their weird art!

Check here for details on the infinity mirrored room. Just Google Image the artist and you’d be flooded under the sea of weirdness.

The crowd had thinned out by late afternoon, though patches of which could still be seen hanging around at food trucks and the eateries in Grand Central Restaurant, after all protesters get hungry too! But alas for onlookers like me, there was little to no options for eating as vegetarian food options were non existent. Even 711 which had kept me alive in Thailand carried no vegetarian sandwich.

Some readers might want to disagree, there are so many vegan restaurants around, they would say. Of-course, there are, you just need a car and a few sawbucks. No, thank you! I got the impression that America wasn’t so vegetarian friendly after all, the diversity of country sadly didn’t reflect on its food. Why don’t you Yanks come to India and I’d introduce you to some of the most mouthwatering food? The treat is on me!

I’d have stopped and killed some more time if not for the fact that I was getting late for my rendezvous with the stars, and I mean real stars, the ones in the sky.

As the fate had it, clouds came in out of nowhere and my plans of stargazing were ruined. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the excellent views over the city. In front of me was an endless maze, a huge spread of tiny dots, power to the one who could connect these!

If you come in the day time, you’d also have fantastic views of the Hollywood hill and the Hollywood sign. I was completely exhausted by the time I reached back to my hostel. I fell asleep as soon as I dropped on the bed. Check the Red line metro guide.

Sunday began with me gulping down two glassfuls of Orange juice, damn that was some good stuff. Little did I realize at that time that sweetened products in U.S uses HCFS, must avoid that!

The downpour that started sometime in the night continued all day long. If only I could draw, I sat on the bar stool by the window and wondered.

When I finally decided to brave the water and go outside, it was already evening. I booked a Lyft to the Grove, the shopping mall where celebrities shop. I secretly hoped to bump into Alessandra Ambrosio or Nicole Richie.

I barged into a fashion retail outlet, without realizing where I was getting in. The very first item I picked, a quilted sleeveless jacket looked really nice, may I can spare a few dollars and get this? But when I looked at the price my emotions quickly changed, what an ordinary stuff, what’s so special? The price tag was … $550!

I roamed around a bit, looking at stuff rich people buy. And then I decided I should rather go to the farmer’s market located adjacent to the Grove. The Grove was empty shops closed down, and people missing from the street.

When I reached back to my hostel, I had just enough time to pick a souvenir mug from $5 shop. I fixed a  real quick dinner, with one of the several packets of ready to eat I had to taken to my maiden U.S trip.

I had about 30 minutes left for 22:22 bus to San Jose, I booked the Lyft and waited, and waited… The taxi just didn’t move, my goodness heaven knows why it stood frozen. With about fifteen minutes left on the clock I started walking to the bus stop. Within a few minutes I realized, walking wasn’t going to cut it. The only way I could make to the bus stop was run… And run I did!

Posted by Vidyut Rautela - The Himalayan Tsunami

Travel Blog. Writer. Novel: The Himalayan Tsunami

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