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Wednesday 21 Apr 2004
Los Angeles, USA

The Longest Day

Yes I have arrived, safe and jet lagged, in the New World. I left Auckland yesterday on Wed 21st at 4pm, and arrived here in Los Angeles at 10 am on Wed 21st. Doesnt that time-zone crossing have some strange consequences: This day is the longest Ive yet lived (48 hours!). The fact that I hadnt slept at all on the 12 hour journey hasnt helped matters either.

I was expecting the immigration procedure to be a daunting task, this in the "NEW AGE" of terrorism in the US. Indeed it took well into two hours to actually go through the FIVE (!) seperate people who examined my passport and questioned me on all things from my trip to Vietnam (I had to make sure not to let slip my copious partying antics while in South East Asia!!) to what sort of work I do! Not to mention the 2 passport checks that took place before boarding the plane in Auckland. To say that the US is paranoid beyond belief is putting it mildly. They even jumped, on the verge of pulling out their guns, when I dropped my guitar case. I think everyones nerves were on edge during the whole process!

Finally I was out after getting a thorough baggage search (to put Saudi Arabian customs checks to shame!) and let loose upon LA! The air was sweet and weather a nice mild 20C. Los Angeles smog haze was well into effect and it wasnt possible to see beyond 200 metres. The thing that stuck me most when I arrived was that it seemed like I was in South America, since pretty much every non-tourist was hispanic. There was also copious "duuude, I was so like... you know... n stuff" coming from every corner.

This is my second time in LA (I was last here when I was 10!) yet it seems no more different to arriving anywhere in Australia (I seem to recall how drastically different people behaved when I was last here... but .. then ... I was only 10 like!!!). Indeed, when I took a tour of my hostels neighbourhood, Venice Beach - Santa Monica, there was a beach scene and seaside market, plus familiar pesky salesmen that seemed reminiscent of somewhere like Byron Bay.

I guess I can see now why so many people say Australia is like the US.

... although a lot poorer... this seems to be a pretty rough neighbourhood... even though its clearly aimed at tourists with EVERY shop selling souvenirs. Ive been told that this is a safe area, despite the several hooded weirdos I saw hanging around eyeing my camera, etc, so Id love to see how bad the "rough" areas are. In fact tommorrow Im off to the Greyhound station to get my bus ticket to Las Vegas, which is Downtown, a journey which Ive been warned against. Still Ill keep a tough hold of my bags throughout...

Im off to bed, cuz Im wrecked with jet lag.. Im staying one more night in Venice, so Ill update ya tommorrow with my plans..

Just a last note. In a matter of 2 hours I saw 3 separate film sets based on Venice Beach and in the hostel I met 2 directors-in-training. No better place for it!

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