Trip Start Sep 09, 2004
394Trip End Ongoing
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We checked out and made our way over to the Greyhound station. Twenty minutes later and we were transferred by shuttle bus to the main station in LA to board another bus to San Diego.
This small transfer took all of fifteen minutes and in that time I was particularly conscious of some shabbily clothed nuisance foraging about in the tiny closet toilet and around the seats which occupy the back of the bus. As we neared LA central he ushered himself a few rows forward and stood with his arms resting on the seats in front of us. He was your stereotypical American bum: unkempt appearance, missing teeth, dirty face, long trenchcoat and a body language that yelled out 'keep an eye on me cos' I'm about to do something stupid anytime now'. Just what you need.
He was far too close for my liking and as I started to adjust myself into a better position he pulled out a steel sawn off pipe and turned it to Andris. He had it pointed down, directly at him and slowly peered down the length of it cocking a snarl which revealed more broken yellow-stained teeth. Andris said nothing, just sort of sat still like a startled rabbit in the headlights.
What this bum hadn't noticed was me. I was sat just outside his peripheral vision, my mind clocking overtime. Each passing second was crucial. Something had to give. Something had to happen. I'd got the next few series of events already mapped out and things were about to change. With that, the bus shuddered and came to a grinding halt. LA central, the last stop. Doors swung open and the air brakes hissed a huge sigh of relief. The bum turned away and shuffled towards the exit, his steel pipe tucked back inside the safety of his trenchcoat. We watched as he disappeared inside the station. Andris looked at me with a pained expression. 'Did you see that?'
'Yeah I saw it.'
The situation was over maybe (for now) but we'd only just arrived in LA. The fact that our bus to San Diego had already departed just minutes before we arrived(!) only increased the tension. Now we were looking at an hour and a half of station sitting, among people who harboured the potential to kick off at any time. Three half-soaked security guards sat around a desk at the main entrance and 'let' through (without noticing) more than they checked, including our bar wielding friend from the transit bus. This put Andris right out and had him on edge the whole time we were there. Not that I blame him. The air was charged to the max with hostility and I couldn't believe how a time and place could pulse with so much energy. I've never been so glad to leave a place.
I'm not knocking Hollywood, I haven't seen enough of it to knock it, but I have seen enough to know that I need to move on from here. It's not my time. Not just yet.
For a mix of reasons, the elation we felt as we set foot on the streets of San Diego was indescribable: long bustling streets lined with modern restaurants and soothing lights, all of it teeming with life and civilised living. I've never been so glad to arrive at a place..