The Time I Went to Los Angeles and Took the Local Bus
The most exciting thing about LA is those disillusioned dreams, those unreachable dreams and desires that are forever left to the grasping mind, forever unfulfilled. You can smell it in the air. The extreme desire for success and the shameful self hatred of not succeeding in getting it. I remember spending a few days days there. I went to LA and it was a bit of a holiday, although most people just pass through, on their way north or south, or as part of a road trip. I didn’t think I would like it, but I distinctly remember the moment I decided I did: I was in a car and we had a green light. The driver was a bit confused about some pedestrians delaying to cross, so we kind of drove and then had to stop again because of the people wanting to pass after all. American traffic light systems, you know. And the people, angry because we hesitated in letting them cross the street, walked over and a woman yelled towards us, gesturing with her arms: “I’m gonna fuck you up. I’m gonna fuck you up.” And that’s when I smelled it. The despondency. The disillusioned dreams. That sense of desperation and lingering depression. The heartbreak of LA. Wanting something so badly and never receiving that one shot to make it. Being so close to all of those riches and never actually having any of it yourself. That senseless desire towards owning something you don’t have and possibly never will.
And I loved it.
I was taken by the air, the attitude, the fakeness of it all. I was intrigued by the bleak reality of LA and the beauty of it at the same time. I loved walking through Melrose Boulevard and the Hollywood Hills, the utter luxury and allure of it, while sweating, knowing I was that strange fixture roaming outside without a car. I loved how clean all the bathrooms were in the shitty bars, I loved the expensive and cool shops and all the coffee joints near the beach.
More than anything, I loved the bus. I found myself without a car and it was exactly the way people say it is. I was staying in this hotel near the airport and I thought I could walk to Venice. I’m from London, see, I can walk anywhere. But on my way there, the sidewalk suddenly stopped and I found myself next to a motorway that was, well, quite scary. Until I saw a bus. Not long after I was on a cheap bus along with some foreign students and a bunch of crazy LA people (the rumour is true.) But it took me everywhere and the bus was basically my saviour. It’s one of those understated things, no one really realises how amazing the bus in LA is until you take it yourself. I think everyone should.
A Dutch-born London-based hiker who has swapped an East Asian backpacking experience for the opportunity to truly immerse herself into nature, by quite simple, walking.
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