All this time back and I've neglected to say anything about my time in LA.
What a funny place.
Over the past couple of years I've made some bloggy friends, and dear old Ted, of Clayfin fame, offered to escort me 'round for a day or two, took time off work and met me at little hotel (Hotel 6) he'd managed to book not far from the airport and miles north of his home near San Diego.
I'd got a cab after getting my gear , and arrived tired and a bit fuzzy headed. Ted was not there yet, I'd just got out of the cab and begun to check in when in he walks.
I'm as pleased as punch to finally meet him, but somewhere in our initial conversation he says something about bags. In a mind numbing jolt I realise the cab has left with the whole shooting match in the back and as Ted is talking I go white, and then start swearing like a Tasmanian tin miner, ( I've heard them) while Ted is going. " relax man, just get the little ticket they gave you when you got the cab..."
"What little ticket, I didn't get a little (expletive) ticket"
Naturally all my visions of congenial conversation and a relaxing catch up went roaring out the window and as we went upstairs I could barely speak. Even my little trophy was in the bag...
So upstairs and Ted is chatting away, my mind is Somewhere Else and the phone rings.
Bags downstairs. Cabby found it on next job and popped it in.
I was amazed, and blessed his craggy grey haired head as I zipped very gratefully down to get it.
So the next day we went to have a surf at Malibu, and there I met Mary (Surf Sister), Al, (Waves of Discontent), and Brett who although he confesses to it, is not a Novice Surfer.
I'd hoped to also catch up with Jason of Pet Cobra, and maybe even catch a glimpse of Patch, but he was Hiding Out somewhere.
As were the waves.
Glassy, warm and the closest thing to flat I've ever paddled out in. I searched for some sort of analogy, the closest I thing perhaps a Zen Poem on the meaning of Nothingness... in braille.
void (dot dot)
think of (dot dot dot)
empty (dot dotdotdot)
where's the bloody waves (fly spot)
So I sat for a (long) while, caught a bump and got dropped in on by two 13 year old girls, swapped boards with Brett and tried his lovely little fish, caught a half decent wave then was blinded by Al as he grinned at me with his new teeth, then dinged Brett's fish on Mary's board as I paddled madly trying to catch a wave and ran straight into her as she paddled out.
Brett was cavalier and said 'don't worry man', but I felt terrible as I watched him trying to suck the water from the crack as we walked up the beach.
A Tex Mex lunch afterwards in the Malibu Inn across the road, and then down to Venice, where I found a hotel to house me for the couple of days before going home.
Venice, because I was due to have a couple of meetings in the area over the next couple of days, I was told I'd like it, and there I was.
As it turned out the meetings fizzed, and I wandered about taking snaps, getting sunburnt and looking perplexed a lot of the time. I've never been somewhere with such a huge range of have and have not, slick on the beach apartments facing guys and girls sleeping rough, the man with his piano, the guy who paints, the smelly guy I made the mistake of walking behind, and the rich ladies with the fluffy pom poms on leads.
The back streets were great, I fell in love with photographing graffiti and paint splats on fences, loved the California light, and had a couple of fun conversations in the Mollusk shop... if only I had enough money to take a board back home.
I also spent about fifty bucks in ten yards on hip hop cd's sold to me on the boardwalk by three different guys, cool guys that had a patter that just wouldn't let up and had sucker radar that must have spotted me just before I left New York.
Still, Tom likes them, says they're actually pretty cool.
So all good.
A long flight home, and back to the real world.
To Ted, thanks mate, it was a pleasure to finally meet, and to Mary, Brett and Al, thank you too for making time in your lives to day g'day, and share a wave.
I gather the swell kicked a couple of days later.
I hope you all got one for me.