August 1st-5th in Los Angeles by way of Greyhound, round-trip.
When I arrived back in Davis, I felt like a living mold of the Greyhound bus seats. Perks: spacious comfy reclining seats and the air conditioning. Downsides: layover times. The Greyhound system will frustrate you with delays in arrivals lasting over an hour. As you sit at the station with nothing to do (some have huge LCDTVs broadcasting the news) with an increasing awareness of time being wasted, frustration mounting. But then, drifting in and out of consciousness on the ride, the driver does something magic, and you arrive final destination 10 minutes before the final ETA stated on the ticket, despite all the delays?! In your bewilderment about the math not working out, all frustration dies. Greyhound makes no sense at all. I think the secret to dealing with Greyhound is to ride at night, so you just sleep through it all. Overall the Greyhound is not so bad if you have a lot of time to burn. It was very serene, sitting/sleeping and doing absolutely nothing for long periods of time.
I can sum up Los Angeles in one word: intense. The city is a behemoth of an urban sprawl, where even a short trip to ___ results in a minimum of a twenty minute drive; it’s crazy to walk. The cars are impatient, honking and squeezing themselves in between pedestrians. “Don’t Walk” means you need to get outta the damn street or risk getting run over. The Metro Rapid is not kidding, that shit is fast like a Nascar; as the bus hurtled down a boulevard, I thought it an appropriate substitute for Six Flags. The streets are packed with human and automotive traffic, clashing every second, where every hour feels like rush hour…
My four day venture was but a brief stab into Los Angeles. I passed through Sunset Blvd, Bel-Air, and Beverly Hills, visited the Getty Museum, and had a brief stint with the Hollywood walk of fame; I shopped the Beverly Center, walked through Westwood and scouted the boutiques along Melrose Ave. Christ, there are a lot of places to spend money (shop & eat, shop & eat). This is the kind of city demands and hoards the attention of the senses, especially at night, when the sharp silhouettes of storefronts and businesses become better punctuated by the glare of advertisements and neon lights. That’s a lot of billboards concentrated in one place. Los Angeles is a living, social organism…and as much as I enjoy partaking in the voluntary emptying of my checking account for luxury goods, I would not want to be subject to this atmosphere of conspicuous leisure & consumption every waking moment. The city runs on capitalism, and it is not subtle. It makes for a lot of excitement, but I would not want to live here.
[It surprised me how insignificant the campus was, nothing more than a speck, swallowed whole by the expanse of the greater metropolis.]
UCLA is a gorgeous menagerie of brick architecture oozing with regal and scholarly excellence. Personally, I think the designers are damn clever, creating such a visually rewarding campus to combat the morale-lowering effort required propel yourself through it. Oh god, it is all grassy hills and concrete inclines! The campus is characterized by an abundance of stairs of all shapes and sizes that fall into one of two categories: awkward stairs or killer stairs. I’m going to have to agree with the suggestion that those things need to be given ratings so that pedestrians (or tourists, such as I) can be mentally prepared for the level of physical exertion required ahead, or rather, above. Coming from the flatlands of Davis, they were all Black Diamonds to me. My abdominals, obliques, and lower back became even more toned. UCLA is “small” when eyeballing the distance straight cross-campus, but secretly, this small campus is monstrous. Flattened, I’m sure the distance multiplies on flat ground. And though the exterior is a lot different from UCD, the interiors felt incredibly similar (except for the library and how there were way more food options at the campus union).
I was introduced to an interesting bunch of characters, with whom I spent some time with over the weekend whenever I wasn’t blasting through malls or climbing about UCLA. Los Angeles has an effect of making you feel like you’ve been running a marathon for days. Feet tired, always pressing on.
2 Johnny Cupcake tees
1 Armani Exchange blazer
1 Armani Exchange belt
2 Eau De Parfums: Armani Code For Her by Armani & Angel by Thierry Mugler
2 Urban Outfitters vests (not pictured: ordered online after trying in the store)
It doesn’t make sense, really, but going to other places only makes me love my quaint college town even more. Davis is absolutely perfect because it provides a cozy and safe place to live and learn, apart from the distractions of the major metropolitan masses. To the unobservant and superficial passerby Davis may be a nothing town, but I will tell you this: it’s charm lies not in quantity or quality of material establishments, but in the selection of friendly inhabitants roaming the streets and the atmosphere, which has this way of drawing you in & enveloping you in a sense of warmth and community. I really appreciate the level of socio-environmental awareness here and the ease of getting around. I am entirely content with it as my school and my home.
The Next 24 Hours:
The back of my hand with the to-do list scrawled on it looked a little crazy. There was more text than hand, and I was multi-tasking like a maniac to get all of it done! Not a second to be wasted in Davis. For example, I set up a new PG&E account for my new apartment while waiting for the bus to take me on campus…unfortunately I did not get to upload any photos to Facebook.
To Be Continued:
I’m packed and ready to go!