Saturday, 25 June 2011

Los Angles

I was standing waiting for the bus, quietly thinking to myself how best to capture Los Angles and I glanced up and saw this sign behind the policemen at the checkpoint going into the airport. I took the photo hoping that they wouldn't think I was taking a photo of them and their big guns, no one did thankfully. LA for a day, well for an afternoon by the time I got settled, rested and showered. What to do. I had Googled for some ideas and all looked to hard for my jet lagged, sleep deprived brain so I took the safe route and asked the lovely lady at the reception counter.

She smiled at me, possible because I still looked really shabby despite showing and adding some make up to stop me looking so washed out. My washed out status is another story so back to the smiling lady. There certainly is, she said. It seems that the hotels on the strip by the airport provide the Ocean Express Trolley Bus which takes those of us here for a short stopover on a small adventure. I jumped on board after waiting a while and it was an interesting wait.

I have had some adventures getting to LA in the form of mother nature flexing her muscles. The human adventures were just as interesting. I generally find the people I meet traveling respond quite well to my smile and feeble attempts at wit. Not so the first LAX customs man, he had obviously lost the will to live and was having a bad day. He barked some questions at me, criticised my writing (apparently he couldn't read where I was staying and so rewrote this more neatly while shaking his head) and was generally unpleasant.

I love having a flash job title to flash when people like him ask so because he made me cross and I was desperate for the loo and wanted to hurry him along, I flashed it. He stopped, glanced up at me. My smile was missing and I suspect I managed that teacher look that makes naughty school kids wilt. He was a little more friendly as he let me through without further questioning and started to bark at the next person.

My bag arrived, the next lot of security took my smile at face value and waved me through and I was outside on US soil for the very first time. I looked around and reasoned that there should be a hotel shuttle and there was. The Airport Radisson is close by, so close that my view from the 10th floor is the runway and the plane parks. Good thing that the room appears to be sound proofed from the outside. The lovely reception lady got me an early check in and I disappeared to get some sleep so I could enjoy my day.

Back to the policemen mentioned above. The first person to talk to me in the US apart from the airport and hotel staff was one of the policemen. As I was standing waiting for the bus, a young man had come around the corner and lost his wheel, that is it no longer was going in the direction it was meant to and so there was a loud squeal as the car immobilised itself. I was watching, in no danger, thinking that this had happened to us during our trip to Turkey, when one of the policemen shouted over to me. I could tell it was a friendly shout so I listened after fighting the urge to run.

"Did that scare you?" he asked with a smile. I smiled back and said no, not taking my eyes off the rather large gun he had in his hands. He was dressed in blue police coveralls, trousers tucked into big lace up boots, an Uzi or similar, cap on his head and that mustache that policemen of a certain age seem to have. He looked a bit scary but as I watched the drama unfold, I could see that these older men supported the young man to get his car towed and kept him safe, chatting away to him as they directed the traffic away from his car. After the things I've seen on TV about US policeman, it was all very reassuring. An interesting way to begin my afternoon, people watching. 

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