Friday, December 24, 2004

Friday 24th December, Oceanside, California

Well I made it to Jimmy’s but sadly my bike hasn’t

Flying into LA was cool – saw downtown, the Hollywood sign, and miles and miles of boxy houses and roads. Really powerful sight.

And after landing came that dreaded thing – the tannoy announcement, “would Mr Turnbull please report to…” So after queuing for about 30 mins to get through immigration and have my fingerprints taken I picked up my bag and discovered that the box with my bike and tent in had been left in London, and would be flown here via Chicago this evening. But I had to queue for about 45 mins to fill in a form and give them Jimmy’s parents’ address for them to deliver it to. And because they’re nearer San Diego they’ll have to put it on another plane from LA to SD, more chance of problems. I was really tired and in a foul mood.

One thing that worked quite well was the shared shuttle bus downtown. After about a 20 minute wait this minibus took me and five others downtown – a very loud black woman who chatted on her cell phone the whole way, gossiping about her friend’s crack habit; a girl going to the Amtrack station to San Diego. It was weird being driven through LA – it felt very different to my experience of the city last time. I got dropped off at Greyhound terminal, which was in a pretty rough part of city. The bus station was mobbed! People on all the seats and floor, all carrying loads of stuff for Christmas. I was still pissed off about my bike, although was kindof glad because it saved me the hassle of lugging it around on all the buses, which would have been a nightmare! But I was also pissed off because with all the queuing I’d missed the 6pm bus to Oceanside. I queued for about an hour and got my ticket, and the guy recommended just checking to see if the bus was still there, and despite it now being after 7pm the bus was just calling for any last passengers!

So I jumped on, got 2 seats to myself and away we went! It’s interesting – most of the people on the bus and in the terminal were Mexican. On the bus I was really paranoid about falling asleep because I’d miss my stop. In the end I was so exhausted that I couldn’t avoid sleeping. I managed to wake up pretty regularly and try to work out where we were. It was difficult though because there were so few signs. But the driver called out when we got to Oceanside so I got off OK. I gave Jimmy a phone and he picked me up! Really great to see him. He’s so friendly and welcoming, and it’s fantastic of him to have me stay.

One of his friends was having a party, so we drove there. It was a bunch of people that I’d met last time – including Brad and Ronny. It was cool to see them. Had a great beer that I’d tried last tiem (Rock?), had champagne, and a white Russian. Tried some American whisky – v. different to Scottish – much smoother, less subtle. Great laugh. Chatted to a guy called Nathan lots – he got v. defensive when Jimmy mentioned that America was the fattest nation. There was a daft little dog there too. And a really good studio. We left at about midnight. Drove past a couple of accidents.

Quite a long drive back to where we’re staying – Jimmy’s house/dog-sitting. Lovely house. Mad dog – v. nervy. Jimmy’s got a mad dog too – Banjo – really big and full of energy. Cool kitten too – cowboy – v. lively. Chases the nervy dog! By the time I got to bed I’d been awake for 30 hours!

Today we drove around a lot in Jimmy’s girlfriend’s car (Alison). It’s a VW Jetta, which Jimmy said is very much a girl’s car. He feels self-conscious driving in it with me! We drove to Ocean Beach in San Diego where his house is. That is where my route starts. His house is pretty small, but nice. Him and Alison are moving soon to be in Encinitas. Had a drive past the beach – v. beautiful. The weather’s so good – it must be in the mid 20s! We went round a few malls to buy some presents for Jimmy’s sisters. It was surreal doing Christmas shopping with Christmas music playing, all in the blazing sun! Phoned home, but parents were out at watchnight service. Got delicious burrito in Encinitas for lunch. My bike’s not arrived yet. I’m a bit nervous because there was a lot of snow in other parts of the US, so many planes got hold up and stuff. I don’t mind a bit of delay, but I hope they don’t lose it…

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