Los Angeles (14th June to 16th June)

Saturday, 18th June, 2005

We miss the experience of earthquakes and the tsunami warnings.

So ends my 21st visit to the good ole US of A. What surprises me most about this visit is the lack of “culture shock” that I certainly experienced on my first visit in September 1989. Whilst it is still pleasing to hear Aussie accents in your travels in the US, either the cultural invasion of the US into Australia, or my working in a US company has softened the experience. The world has also shrunken in the last 16 years: information travels the world quicker; certainly electrons move more rapidly than atoms – resulting in a compression of cultures.

14 and a half hour flight, QF12, arriving in Sydney along with an amber sunrise in Sydney. The experience of an intensive AQIS search (hand search through our ever self-replicating bags) results in one infraction of the strict Quarantine. We dodge the bullet and take the verbal reprimand.

Sometimes, its good to get home. Unpack, and mount the new fridge magnets.

Thursday, 16th June, 2005

It was only a few short weeks ago that we were in Tokyo, and I commented on the weirdness of the town. Many of the experiences are compounded by “lost in translation”; LA does not have this excuse. Its just weird.

Damian taught us the skills of retail sales; we visited the slowly decaying Santa Monica Plaza/Mall; and visited the up-and-coming Santa Monica Promendade (Adelaidians would call this a Mall…). Brand names worth their mettle all have stores along this strip; and we’ve arrived at peak discount time just prior to the US summer holiday season. Jeans, shirts and other items are all hoarded for expatriation to Australia.

Eating at one of our favourite higher-class fast food diners, ihop; I have a salad. I am sure that even the salad had fat in it! This place is a carb and fat factory. Missing the fres fruits of Mexico.

Choice is the name of the retail game. At the Drug Store, there are at least 5 types of Excedrin; an acetometaphin based headache tablet. The active ingredients are all basically the same – just the labelling is different to suit different headache circumstances: migraine or colds. It goes to show one modern method of retail marketing that is not widely used in Australia at the moment. I think we’d see through it.

Thursday we spent largely at the Beverly Center. This is on La Cienega and is another mall. Remember, this part of the trip is not tourist-y! Japan is often sited as an excellent location for shopping. Many have to learn from the US. More brand-name stores, more choice all within easy reach. We experience the massaging chairs and tempur bed in Brookstone and try on every pair of sunglasses in the joint.

Its been two days in LA. The Hodge’s came, saw and damaged both the credit card and Qantas baggage allowance. We left AU with 24.3kgs. We’re coming back with 46.2kgs. And that is just checked in bags. Avril has broken at least 4 fundamental laws of physics to acheive a packing result. I have been refrained from speaking of the purchase of two new bags in LA to assist in our venture.

Gazumpped someone with my Platinum card on a status points and freaky flyer point upgrade to business class each. This is required looking at the carry on baggage vs. allowance on QF12 to Sydney. These seats are the perfect topping to a most relaxing set of days half way around the world.

Tuesday, 14th June, 2005

Avril remembers her Wiltshire, La Cienega and Sepulvedas; ignores the persistant, wrong and nagging Neverlost and self-navigates us all to Santa Monica and back to West Hollywood. Upon taking Paul Stephens to Santa Monica, we decide that this is our first stop tomorrow.

Avril was last in LA about 8 years ago, and notices that Wiltshire’s shopping has “gentrified” from Santa Monica into Century City. Its amazing the range of stores that follow this road.

The aim of this 2 day sojourn in LA is to buy things that are either expensive in Australia, or where you get limited choice. We hit the Drug Stores (don’t think Corby drugs, think Australian pharmacy but the size of a Coles or Woolies!) to buy up different items (lactaid, excedrin and bounce fabric softener sheets for the dryer).