It's definitely nice to be back. A good break leaves you feeling very well rested and ready for more work. Monday was so deceiving. There were no ceiling-high piles of papers on my desk and all seemed to have gone really smoothly while I was out. By Tuesday, forget it! I was snowed under like I typically am. I cannot even complain. As one just returning from a vacation, the thinking is that I would have loads of energy and be raring to go. I think I need another break. Better still, during my next vacation I think I will stay at home and sleep.
Los Angeles was really great. It was my second time visiting. This time I stayed with my friend Funke. She has a really cute apartment in a city?/suburb? of LA called Torrance. There's nothing really special about Torrance, just that it's about 20 minutes from downtown LA (with no traffic). It's also clean and peaceful, which I liked.
The traffic in LA is legendary. I thought NOTHING can be as bad as Lagos traffic and truly LA traffic is nothing like Lagos. Lagos roads are narrow and over-congested. LA freeways are wide and over-congested. Everyone it seems owns a car. Almost no one takes public transport. Everyone drives everywhere - even to a place that is 5 minutes down the road! The freeway typically has 4 lanes: 1 car-pool lane i.e. for cars with more than 1 person inside; the other 3 lanes are for everyone else i.e. for people driving by themselves. Would you believe that with all this space, the usual scenario is that all 3 lanes are chock-full of cars for as far as the eye can see while the car-pool lane is near empty. Those Angelenos love their cars!
My flight into LA arrived late and it took me even longer to clear through immigration, so naturally I expected Funke to be out waiting by the time I got out. I was even half-expecting to see her waving a "Welcome to LA, Ore!" sign. I should be so lucky! The girl wasn't even there when I got out. I switched on my phone and called her. After hurried greetings, she told me that she couldn't find the terminal.
- "What terminal are you at?", she asked.
- How the hell would I know? "Errrr.. arrivals?"
-"I've been looking for the British Airways terminal and driving around and around."
- Okay, whatever! Just get here soon!
Then she checked "What airport are you at?"
Little butterflies of panic started fluttering in my belly.
- LAX. Why? How many airports are there in LA?
- "Like 3! Phew! Okay, I'm at LAX too."
I bought the September issue of Essence magazine (with Jill Scott on the cover) and settled down to read it. Funke got there soon enough. It was great to see her. From the way she'd been going on about how much weight she had put on since moving to the States, I thought she'd be fat, but the girl wasn't exaggerating when she said that she has been seriously working out.
We caught-up on the drive to her apartment. By the time we got to her house I was pretty tired. By the next day however, I was totally wiped out. I couldn't believe it! I planned on going out to get my nails done but it was so hot that I decided to wait until the sun went down a little first. In the meantime, I swanned on the couch watching cable and eating. I found that I just couldn't stop eating or sleeping. When Funke got back from work, she found me in much the same position that she'd left me - on the couch. I managed to drag myself out for dinner. However the next day, the fatigue lingered on.
"What's going on? Why am I so tired?" Well, figuring that I couldn't spend my entire time in LA prostrated on the couch, I hauled my ass (literally) to Hollywood Boulevard.
I probably should have rented a car, but I wanted a laid-back vacation. To get downtown I took a cab. It had always seemed to me that people in LA don't take cabs as frequently as people in New York take cabs. Aside from the fact that everyone in LA owns a car, the traffic means that you are stuck in the cab for a while and the meter keeps ticking away.
Hollywood Boulevard was somewhat of a let-down - kind of less shiny and glamorous than I was expecting. Of course, you do get to see (and walk all over) the famed Hollywood Walk of Fame.
I took a bus tour, which took me down the rest of the Boulevard, into Beverly Hills (through Rodeo Drive), past Paramount and CBS Studios (where many favourite TV shows are filmed). The tour-bus recording (nope, nothing as exotic as an actual tour guide on these buses) pointed out places featured in some famous movies; we also got to see some famous hotels, some famous designer shops; some famous ..... well, you get the idea.
As physically tired (and I guess jet-lagged as I was), I dozed off on the bus. It wasn't a boring tour! I did say that I was tired! And besides, being on a moving vehicle does that to me. I'm actually amazed that I stayed awake for almost the whole thing.
I was slightly worried about driving. After having had to get used to manic Lagos driving, I was anxious about driving in a sane environment. I took the bull by the horns and drove Funke's car to the mall one afternoon and was pleasantly surprised. I only cut-off 1 driver. Her shocked expression quickly reminded me that I wasn't in Lagos anymore.
Okay, this post is getting too long and I don't like overly long posts. Will continue the story of Ore in La-La Land later in another post.