Day 3 in LA dawned crisp and sunny … not that Dee and I would know, seeing as we slept in till 12.21pm. I like to blame jetlag (and the Turd Sausage). We both rolled over in our creaky bunks and said ‘well, that’s good in a way … it means we don’t have to eat breakfast, which cuts out a cost.’ May 5th was Cinqo de Mayo, a giant Spanish festival that everyone goes absolutely nuts for – most of our house guests started swilling Mexican beer at around 10am (not that we’d know) and didn’t finish until well into the wee hours of the morning. Upon rising, Dee and I decided to catch the bus to Beverly Hills, along with every single other person in Mid City LA, and so we stood, clinging to the hold-ons, our denim-ed arses in the faces of fellow commuters. The interim during which we changed from the 207 to the 757 saw an old man’s baseball cap fly off his head and land on the bonnet of a pick up truck (at which I started laughing hysterically, to the point I was physically incapable of helping him) then Dee’s day-pass was whipped from her hands and blown out onto the four lane road. In blind panic (probably thinking ‘I can’t afford another $3) she sprung to life and followed it out onto the road, only to retrieve it when a kind woman actually stopped her car so Dee could leap in front of it.
And so we made it to Beverly Hills relatively unscathed, and it was everything we could have asked for. Emerald lawns, palm trees, rose hedges lining the paths, Beverly Hills princesses zooming past in Mercedes convertibles, talking loudly on their ‘cells’ … perhaps the moment that best encapsulates the insane wealth of that area, was when we spied a large bellied man literally coated in gold, walking out of a dry cleaners, where he’d just picked up his Ralph Lauren pyjamas.
We had a slice of pizza (actually the size of an entire pizza, but that’s America for you) then a Starbucks and then, because we were in Beverly Hills and because strolling Rodeo Drive had made us pine for the long lost days of when we could afford garments (not tattered rags) we bought a nice light knit each from Gap on Beverly Drive. It was a must.
When we returned home, it was the turning point. You know after you spend a day or two somewhere new, there is a moment when it starts to feel like home, and that you actually belong there, as opposed to being temporary intruders into someone else’s reality? Well, when Dee and I rounded the corner into Gramercy Place, the moment occurred, and the glow about Gramercy Place has continued right through to today, our last day here. It could have been that everyone was off their face, seeing as Cinqp de Mayo coincided with a BIG fight (apparently) between De la Hoya and Mayweather, and the entire house had crawled from the woodwork to wedge in pizza and Buddweiser and cheer on the golden boy. We like to think it was because we had finally made Gramercy Place our home, but either way.
Similar to our stint at Food 4 Less, we picked up some necessities at the 99c Discount Store, to the tune of $3 … hair ties, juice, a gallon of filtered water (tap water is like chlorine) and Dee found herself yet another admirer in an hispanic octogenarian. Outside the 99c Discount Store, we were greeted by, and I cannot recall if I have told you about the bitter ‘behind the scenes guy’, but he is a fellow house guest and perhaps the weirdest of the lot (and that is a BIG CALL) … anyway, he was literally goose stepping down the street in the tightest pants and jauntiest jacket since Grease, his 1985 spectacles glinting in the late afternoon sun. His only words, as he goose stepped by, were ‘Cinqo de Mayo, ok?’
Due to jetlag (always blame jetlag) Dee and I didn’t get to sleep until 3.30am … it probably didn’t help that we ate pizza for dinner (when in Rome) and so we wound up watching the X Files movie and eating leftover cookies. And yes, in case you’re wondering, we are both as fat as butter with sallow complexions and the cholesterol of 63 yr old men. Jaunty Jacket appeared in the doorway for about five minutes of the movie, before melting into the night, muttering something bitter to himself, behind his curtain of oiled hair.
Day 4 saw us return to Hollywood, to meet an old friend of mine for coffee. En route to Sunset, we walked into a passionate one-man hispanic protest that was being blared across the streets via an extremely high powered megaphone; a trio of lounging latinos in a variety of poses (one crouching, one leaning against a tree … etc etc) and finally, at the bus stop, an old man joined us, whipped out his portable stool, and began air-drumming to the spanish version of ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ which was, and I kid you not, being blared out of enormous speakers otuside a spanish food mart.
The obvious choice of venue was our, now officially favourite, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf on the corner of Sunset and Fairfax. We were, of course, late, because we did, of course sleep in. But we spent the next 4 hours with Adhir, who has moved to L.A. for his acting (and is doing very very well, may I add, watch this space) spotting faux celebrities (and yes they were all faux) and pressing Adhir for any skerrick of Hollywood gossip he could provide. In the late afternoon (Dee and I have to be home by sun down) we strolled down Sunset for our bus, fighting the tempation to nip into the International House of Pancakes (IHOP) for a shortstack. Once on the bus, we were nearly gassed – in fact we are lucky to be here, so intense was this smell – by the body and hair odour of a fellow traveller, who sported a tawny, uncontrollable shob (shoulder length bob … but do not think that by giving it a term it implies it was styled …) last seen on the head of my yr 9 history teacher. The smell was undescribable. I mean, LA smells vile at the best of times, but this … this was unparalleled.
On the way home we, of course, ducked into the 99c Store to pick up a gallon of moisturiser and a Snapple each. Skipping past the homeless men, crazy teens on bicycles and leering latinos, we made it home by sundown, to enjoy a nutritious meal of noodles and a cinnamon bun.
And today, we depart for San Diego. Thank God. Although the bizarre comfort of Gramercy Place will be missed, its stable of freaks shall not be so. Namely Jaunty Jacket.
NB: Lorenzo still hasn’t changed his outfit. It is now 5 days running. Nor has he left the couch. We seriously don’t think he has a room here.
And a parting gift of a recent conversation I had with the Harmless Nerd turned Convicted Criminal:
HN: Where are you off to now?
Liv: San Diego
HN: (knowing smile) oh … I should come with you … surprise a cute redhead I know down there …
HN: Wonder if she’s as cute as I remember …
Liv: Maybe …
HN: she broke my heart (laughing tone abruptly changes)
Liv: oh dear
HN: I asked her to marry me and she said no. I spoilt her, more than any guy should ever spoil his kid, his daughter. She put me through so much shit. I gave ger fresh flowers everyday, do you think she said yes when I asked her to marry me? No. Oh no, no no, when we hook up again, she’s coming to ME.
Liv: I think … yesss … hang on (roleplays suddenly remembering something)
Hope ya’ll well, stay tuned for the San Diego leg of the trip. We’re looknig forward to seeing Jenny and spending some time on the beach. After a couple of cold nights, it’s warming up here, it’s supposed to be 90 today! (30ish degrees)