The first day’s target of our honeymoon was a residential house. Harue’s cousin had warmly invited us to stay but it would be in the evening, so we had the afternoon to enjoy LA in. Would we visit Hollywood? Watts Towers? Beverley Hills? Venice Beach or Santa Monica? Disney Land or Universal Studios? Not quite.
Firstly after trying my best to keep the car on the right hand side of the road, I wanted to stop so we could get our bearings and maybe some snacks for the upcoming road trip to Vegas.
We pulled into a small shopping parade mostly on the choice it was easy for me to drive into and there was Yoshinoya. A famous chain restaurant in Japan which amused Harue and so she wanted to look inside.
Parked up, we decided to take a look through the windows and cross the big road to see what else was available.
“Hey buddy, got any change?” I heard directed towards me, before I even closed my car.
“Er.. no?” I replied, to the homeless guy. I hadn’t managed to put a foot forward yet, and I was being asked to hand my money over. I’m not sure what is protocol in dealing with the homeless here. Especially when stepping out of a car which costs at least $30,000 before any tax and replying with a foreign accent. But that’s how I decided to deal with the situation.
The man backed away without saying anything.
“Welcome to America”, I muttered to myself.
Harue went over to Yoshinoya and looked through the window. The last thing I wanted was Japanese fast food, and there was not much on offer besides that, so we crossed the big intersection instead.
As we got across the first road, we was once again asked for money by some homeless guy.
There seemed to be a gang of people at this corner doing absolutely nothing with their lives, so we crossed the next road as there looked to be some more shops and a pharmacy on the corner.
A man pushed a shopping trolley approached us. “Got any spare change?”
We realise what kind of area we were in now, and went inside the pharmacy on the corner rather than venture further in search for food. Inside was large and largely empty too. Nothing like British pharmacies with actual medicine, this place was stocked with snack food, Christmas cards and that was about it. We just call them ‘convenience stores’ elsewhere.
We got a few pieces and hastily left. Actually with some change now, rather than freshly printed notes that is only owned by currency exchange . A few seconds outside was followed by another “Got any change?”
If I gave all these people change, I’d end up like them I thought to myself. We figured this wasn’t exactly a tourist destination despite being close to the airport, so left and wanted to go to a different part of LA instead. So with 6 hours or so spare we headed north towards Harue’s cousin’s house and wondered what we could find.
For a city designed around car transport, the freeways sure are busy. In fact we seemed to sit there for a long time, although apparently this is the fastest way, it wasn’t even rush hour, but at least I got a taste of the infamous LA traffic.
In fact, after a quick bite to eat at some fried chicken place (and in the carpark being asked to help a homeless guy out again, who approached my wife first and me after) and stopping at a Target for some free WiFi to update us on the mapping application I was using the whole day seemed to get lost in finding our way past Hollywood and into north LA to meet some new family members I had married into (who were lovely) for the first time and get more than 10 minutes sleep for the first time in 40 hours or so. Luckily there were no homeless people there.