Memories of LA (Part 1)

I never wrote about my time in LA. I had started an entry one time but found it hard to put my thoughts and reflections all together so I deleted the whole thing. I’m going to try again, but it’s going to be simple.

I don’t regret leaving my job, selling my house, packing what I could into my car, and driving off for 22 hours and 1400 miles to LA. It was a great experience and brought me new sights/smells/sounds. Living there for 4 months wasn’t always easy but I did take quite a few memories from it. And the characters, oh boy, the characters I lived with…

I lived in a very very small room (toilet attached but most of us shared a community shower outside. One person at a time though) and paid $650/month. You could pay the same amount for a 1b1b apartment in Texas. It was a dorm style housing area run by a Korean man. It used to be a Christian rehab center for drug addicts. Even then, there were those who still sold/bought drugs there. Anyway, I guess it got shut down and the place turned into a housing complex on busy Venice Blvd. It was in Koreatown but I suppose it shared the same space are Mexicotown.

The first day I got there, I was being shown around by the landlord and some drunk hispanic-looking guy came in and started a huge argument with the landlord, right in front of me, apparently over some broken furniture from the night before. The landlord decided that he had to stop lest a potential renter like me would be scared away.

Over the next few months, on top of job-searching (EE grad, with 3 years experience in the power/energy industry, looking for work in hardware design without any network contacts, does not help), visiting the beaches, eating the foods (oh, the local joints were great), seeing the sights, waking up at 4 am to watch soccer matches at Irish pubs, etc…I got to meet my “dorm” mates.

There’s the most normal guy, a nurse who used to be a doctor in the Phillippines. Nice guy, divorced, played tennis with him a few times.

The drunk guy earlier. He was an Indonesian-born chef who had a number of other various odd jobs previously. He’s an aggressive crazy drunk but when sober, he’s actually a very nice humble guy who liked to share all the food he brings back from the kitchen he works at. Apparently his uncle is a gangster. I could tell he was a bit lonely because he always was looking for a friend to drink/bowl/watch TV with.

The 19 year old kid who came from a juvenile home. He had talent for drawing perverted anime, which he was proud of. His ambition was to be a flash animator but he didn’t have the resources for it. He didn’t have internet, his computer was really ancient, he had no job or no cash. His room smelled terribly funky because he had old food laying around, he was generally a pretty messy guy but he didn’t care.I’d hear reports of food being stolen in the community fridge downstairs and his friends would be accused of it. I tried to become a friend to him, installed animation software and stuff on his PC to play with (I was lucky to have an internet port). One day, my neighbor came knocking on my door and said there was blood on the door of the kid with a note saying he didn’t care anymore for life etc. We tried knocking on his door and asking him to open it but no response. We got worried and called his juvenile home to ask them to send someone. Luckily, he eventually opened the door and he was ok, no wounds or anything. Apparently a cry for attention. But he was a pretty good guy, just dealt a lousy hand growing up.

To be continued…

Final Goodbyes in Dallas

I suck at goodbyes. I’ve been told that when you’re on the road, you say so many goodbyes so often you get good at it. I guess I will be trained in the art of goodbyes in some time.

Played my last pick up soccer game at Brookhaven on Thursday. I had been wanting to get in a decent game so I could leave on a high note. I was frustrated on Tuesday so when Thursday rolled around, instead of thinking about having a good game, I just tried to focus on on having as much fun out there as I could. I scored a decent goal, then later punted a kick off which Jon W. controlled beautifully before turning and scoring a spectacular  goal 5 seconds into our game (one of the best pick up goals I’ve seen ever, and I’ll take that assist), then set one more up later, got some decent crosses, played decent defence…anyway, I was happy to sign off in that manner. Most importantly, got to say goodbye to lots of friends I made there.

Cleared out the apartment on Friday, lots of last-minute packing and moving. I left a broken vacuum, an old broom, some paper towels, toilet paper, some air freshener behind. If hobos broke in, they could set up shop easy. Loaded up Peter’s Navigator, loaded up my car, had a shitload of wings, then came down to my sister’s place to stay the weekend.

Got to watch Chelsea/Liverpool and ManUtd/Sunderland this morning with some friends at The Londoner. Had a blast although the Chelsea result didn’t go our way. But as they say, “Football, bloody hell” and anything could happen in the final week. Said my goodbyes there too and left my old folding soccer goals with Jay, guess it’ll continue to be part of Brookhaven pick up games.

Other than that, I sold my TV and am ready to head back to Austin tomorrow. After that, camping with my buddies and then head off into the unknown.

Oh yeah, here’s my backpack which will be my friend/home the entire trip:

Everything I’ll be carrying with me with fit into that REI Flash 50.

Vaccinations

I’ve already gotten vaccinations a few weeks ago. Hep A, tetanus/polio boosters, yellow fever, and typhoid to complement what I already have been vaccinated for in the past. Will purchase malaria pills in regions that have it, or some ppl have suggested, stay covered up during peak biting hours, take precautions, and if needed, deal with it if you have it. It’s cheaper that way apparently.

Sold most of my stuff, only got a sofa, TV and car left. Other than that, lending some stuff to Lesley/Donnie to put in their home. Storing the rest of my clothes/books/CDs/DVDs/minor things.

Bought stuff for my first aid kit today, gotta be prepared just in case. Going to finish shopping at REI this weekend, gotta get a micro-fleece, some proper socks, sports sandals, and other minor things. Lastly, the backpack. Going to be traveling as light as possible.

Informed a few good friends about the impending trip just now on facebook, having told a few already beforehand. I thought I’d let a few others know, they might wonder what happened to me (maybe).

Other than that, just waiting it out. I am nervous & excited. More nervous. I don’t know what to expect ahead of me. Some ppl might wonder why I want to do this. I’ve wanted to do this since I can remember. On the bucket list, right at the top, I don’t know why it’s up there but it’s one of those things that has a window…you can’t do it when you’re tied down. The timing was right, I was financially ready for it, I’m taking my chance and going for it.