“Dude, this plane has internet?!…that’s crazy man…that’s whack!”.
I found myself considering what the young gentleman, from seat G3 had just exclaimed.
I glanced out of my window and considered that we were traveling at well above 30,ooo feet, noted how we all seemed perfectly comfortable with that minor detail, mused at how we were periodically being offered fresh Orange juice imported from Spain and had currently just passed over the entire state of Tennessee in the space of about forty minutes, before finally concluding that yes; indeed this thing called ‘Air Travel’ was equally…Whack!
Arriving in Los Angeles, the first thing that struck me was the heat. The East coast sure had it’s fair share of warmth whilst I had been there, but this was a different kind of heat- the kind of warmth that sucks all the moisture from your skin instantaneously and leaves you feeling like a dry sponge in the desert.
My time in the city was to be short but enriching.
I stayed with great friends in Lakewood, close to Longbeach. That was to be my base from where I stretched out to visit various areas, landmarks and communities.
The most touching,journey-affirming and thought-provoking meeting was during our drive through Watt’s. I was with Orland Bishop, an inspiring friend and current YIP contributor, who has devoted the majority of his life to working with young individuals- working directly within gang culture to stem its growth and support at risk youth.
It was during our visit to Watt’s and through the individuals I met there and the stories they shared with me, that I suddenly felt grounded- a moment in which I was reminded that I was in the right place at the right time in my life.
I am still processing exactly what occurred and what touched me in a place that despite feeling static, vulnerable and somewhat imaginary, still has so much potential and so much history to create.
Before departing the city to head north, I was set to leave LA with a bang…
Gaucho Village was to be the place. A brazilian style restaurant- or rather a restaurant in the style of Brazil, it’s culture, Samba, carnivals and food.
A flamboyant display of food (and plenty of it!), music and waitresses who looked like they had stepped right out of the middle of Rio de Janeiro’s annual Carnival, awaited us. Each customer also received a signal next to their plate- a simple wooden block with green on one end and red on the other- if you required excess, grease dripping, spiced like there was no tomorrow, meat with your already over-flowing food mountain of South America, you would simply flip your block to green and await a passing waiter and his skewer of Carne to satisfy your gluttony- however if you were sufficed with the on-coming extra 10lbs on the weighing scales the next morning…simply display the red end of your “Can you handle it?” signal block.
LA was magic.
I met inspiring individuals, visited communities gripped in struggle and communities flaunted in luxury and through it all came away with the knowledge that I would be back.