Clear as day

Manhattan Beach, CA

Los Angeles is awesome. And by that, I mean the more time you spend here, the less you think you’re overwhelmed by the size of everything here, and you just go, ‘Los Angeles, you are awesome’.

It becomes clear as day one moment, when you least expect it, when you’re stuck in traffic, frazzled by six lanes in either direction, gummed up at an exit and wondering which way to turn at a junction.

L.A. is bigger than you think, greater as a city than you can imagine (especially if you’re from Singapore), smarter than you are, and more interesting than you have time to explore. And what about that off-leash dog-walking track in the Hollywood hills where you just begin to get an idea of how sprawling the city is (and how unfit you are as you’re being walked by your friend’s dogs)?

Sure, there’s Hollywood Blvd and the Sunset strip, and the amusements at Universal Studios, but when you’ve had the chance to acquaint yourself with this city long enough, you might have the chance of separating art from life, even if just briefly, before the town’s dichotomy between art and life fades and disappears.

Have something interesting happen to you, or do something noteworthy here, and chances are your life is art. And life imitates art here with a voracity you won’t find anywhere else. The contemporary consumes the classics and becomes classic in turn – think of one giant lava lamp, always moving always morphing.

You’re at the 101 Coffee Shop, named for the 101 freeway off the shoulder of the lane that turns into the motel that houses the diner, and you’re told, this is where they shot the film ‘Swingers‘, but you only nod as you’re checking out the impossibly good-looking diners and equally good looking servers. For example. Los Angeles is full of these places. That’s the Capitol Records tower – they blew it up in some movie. And John Belushi died at the Chateau Marmont which is a great place for a late breakfast, if you can get a reservation.

Some movie always did something to somewhere in Los Angeles.

Then there are your friend’s dogs and taking them out for a walk (more like a high-speed chase) in the hills, and you’re wondering how come the doggies are so lucky as to have water stops every now and then. People here put out water trays outside their houses so that dog-walkers get to water their dogs! And as you make your way out of the park, one of the dogs lies down flat on her belly, telling you she’s totally knackered from the run. And you look at her and say, “Yup, I’m just about done too”.

I’m coming home in a bit.

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So far away

Manhattan Beach, CA

I am too far away from home. I really, really am. I’m really really homesick, and I really really miss my fiancée. I miss my cat too, especially when I hear him meow over the phone.

I’m seldom ever homesick (except maybe during reservist in-camps), so being this way must mean I’m not meant to be away this long, or even away at all. Sure there are lots of things to see, many things to do, and many miles to drive. But bugger it all, man, when you’re getting married within a month, and all’s you can think of is what you’re gonna do when you get back.

Los Angeles, I will remember you for how much you make me think of home.

Shopping for good reason

In between work-related activity in L.A., I’ve managed to squeeze in a fair bit of time doing wedding-related activity. You know, things like calling my parents and telling them what me and my fiancée have planned, listening to them agree, and then trying not to be more stressed when they call back five minutes later saying ‘you should do this and this’, and ‘why don’t you have the tea ceremony there instead’, and ‘are you sure the ceremony is like that one’?

Then there’ll also always be well-meaning friends who tell us ‘it should be a day to remember’, and then add half a dozen variables we haven’t had the remotest inkling of until the moment they bring it up, making us try not to be stressed.

But L.A. is great – there are shops to take a look at for wedding stuff, although I’m not sure if it’s a good thing, cos I got a little flustered checking out the vast range of things as simple as wedding invitation stationery.

Tonight I saw this shop near Beverly Hills called Papyrus, and was about use my nifty but slow N73 camera phone to take a picture of the shop for the fiancée to see via MMS, but a mall security guard came by and said, ‘Hi, how’s it going?‘ So I said, ‘Good, thanks!’, to which he replied, ‘You can’t take photographs here’.

So I said to him, ‘Fuck you. Take photo of the shop things only lah, nabeh!’

Of course what I really said was, ‘Oh, so sorry, din know, heh heh’.

Los Angeles Day 3
Take that, security guard!

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It starts somewhere

Los Angeles
It’s the same sunset, but you can watch it over and over again

If you were to tell me a couple of years ago that I’d be stressing out over wedding plans right now, I wouldn’t even have laughed at you because I’d have thought you were talking to your friend next to me or something.

This stressing out over wedding plans is new to me, so I suppose the unusual situation of being thousands of miles away from home less than a month out from one’s own wedding just adds to the novelty of the whole thing.

There are so many things to plan, so many details to consider. And something as simple as what to say when offering a toast at dinner has me in knots (hur hur – tie knot mah, hor?) I can’t just wing it with this one. And you know what? I love the fact I’m not able to wing it.

You can’t wing a speech, really – you’ll end up saying something, a nothing, like, ‘I’d like to thank my wife, without whom this would not have been possible’, and/or ‘I’d like to thank my parents, I love you, haha, without whom I would not be here’.

I’m in knots over what to say, because my wife to be deserves something said that can’t be just put in words. And she knows what I mean, because she reads my blog at least half a dozen times a day and she knows when I write something, and when I write nothings. (She’ll also restrain herself from smacking idiots who leave nasty or irrelevant comments).

I’ve also got a real champion of a best friend whom I’ve just remembered should be the best man, and when I asked him how one should go about doing the tea ceremony thing, he said, “brb, I Google tea ceremony”.