La la la…Los Angeles


I dragged my stupidly tired and jet-lagged self off a plane at 6.30 in the morning yesterday and waited in a stupidly long line with passengers from two other planes while a gorgeous Hispanic lady with so much make-up you’d think she was about film a TV show (oh heck, this is LA…maybe she was!) herded us through and into our places and made us giggle, which was no small feat considering we’d all been on a plane all night.

I caught a door-to-door shuttle bus to my friend Theresa’s house. These are amazing things, like group-taxis kind of, and it cost me $65 for an hour-and-a-half ride with a wonderful Lebanese-American man who told me heaps about LA and even bought me a coffee from Starbucks. Yes. Americans are wonderful.

The first thing I noticed was how much it looked like Melbourne. We didn’t see any of Downtown LA, but the suburbs are just…Melbourne…but bigger. And MORE. They even have Westfields, to complete the illusion – that IS a Aussie company, isn’t it? I felt the need to keep half an eye open for stray Banjos Bakeries, and felt sure that any minute my Lebanese-American driver was going to tell me he was really Lebanese-Australian, and that we’d be approaching the Dandenongs any time soon. Then I saw the mountains.

The mountains behind LA are beautiful. More than beautiful. They are spectacular. THey rise up out of the flat valley floor like a wrinkle in a blanket, and they’re wrinkly and ancient looking and at the same time look like the hand of God could come along and smooth them, blanketlike, at any time. My driver says they were pushed up by the movement of the earth plates. They are the result of the famous San Andreus Fault Line, and they go all the way up the West Coast of the USA and into Canada. I wanted to go and climb them and explore all over (which is not possible this trip). Theresa later told me that there are coyotes there, and it’s rattle snake season. Their house backs onto a sandy desert hill, and it’s not safe to explore there either, for the same reasons.

But I love it here. I love seeing old friends, and being able to hang out and relax and chat and simply spend time together. Any amount of sleeplessness is worth it to spend time with these lovely people again.

Here are the main bits of difference I’ve noticed day 1:

Milk comes in gallon-bottles.

There’s garbage disposal.

All the houses are made of stucco. There are no brick houses anywhere – they’d crack with all the earthquakes.

In this neighbourhood every second house has a US flag hanging on the front porch (I’ve been told this was for Remembrance day) and pumpkins out as decorations (go out for Halloween, stay out until Thanksgiving, and as soon as they come in the Christmas decorations go out). But they still don’t EAT pumpkins…only ones in cans.

I’m told it’s really hard to buy electric kettles. Most people have the old-fashioned sort that you put on the stove top and take ages to boil. Theresa bought her electric kettle in a Camping shop. (Yes. Because I’d pack an electric kettle if I was going bushwalking and living in a tent for a week too!)

Theresa’s kids are petrified of house flies. There was a tiny one outside on the deck, and the youngest screamed and ran inside. Here there are no flying insects! No flies, no mosquitos, definitely no enormous blowflies like at our place at the moment.

You can’t say the word “toilet” (Theresa’s kids don’t even know what it means! I told one of them I had to go to the toilet before I played another round of cards, and she looked at me funny and said “what?”) although you can – and should – wear ugg boots* in public. Here that is not at all Bogan. Here it is the height of fashion!

So Aussie friends, when you boil your kettle today think about America. And then, when you go to the supermarket and see people in ugg boots, congratulate them on their excellent fashion sense – even if it is in the wrong country.


*I presume everybody knows what ugg boots are. Sheepskin boots. In Australia we think of them as bedroom slippers, and only wear them outside the house in desperate times…or if we forget.


20 thoughts on “La la la…Los Angeles

  1. HA! I love the info on the Ugg boots. I’ve never been able to get a pair, but now I know if I want to be authentic, I’ll wear them as slippers!

    And I’d know what you meant if you said “toilet.” Maybe it’s more an East-coast or southern term?

    Regardless, have fun in the US of A. We like it here.

  2. G’day Megan pleased to read you have arrived safely and are settling in well. Now get some sleep. Will follow your (mis) adventures during your visit with interest – so continue to impress and inform so I can feel like I’m right beside you (not in a creepy way though) and won’t need to travel there or anywhere out of Australia myself. Stay safe and God Bless πŸ™‚

  3. Glad you’re enjoying your stay so far. My sister is over there as well. Last night she was eating in her hotel while watching the filming of The Hangover 3 out the front. She was very excited. πŸ™‚ Thanks for letting us be part of your journey. πŸ™‚

  4. What do they call it, if they don’t say “toilet”? I love learning all these little bits of info – those kids wouldn’t handle Australia with all our flying insects!! Keep it coming!

    • I pinned them down eventually…they refer to that particular object, if they need to be specific, as a toilet, but generally refer to it in euphemisms such as “the bathroom”. But they cope okay if I say toilet – just not the little kids who don’t know the word.

  5. Hey, Megan, welcome to the U.S.A.! Fascinating, seeing it through your eyes. We say “toilet” and “bathroom” interchangeably. For kids, we call it “potty”. Then there’s the more formal “restroom.” And the slang, “John” for crude people. If you want to be cute and you’re with your women friends, you say, “I have to go use the little girl’s room.”

    Never heard of Ugg boots, but when you describe them I realize I’ve seen them.

    We have all breeds of bugs here in Texas, some of them still active in November. My friend in the country said the flies are really bad at their house this week, (One outside wall was “black with them.”) but in town they’re almost non-existent..

    Anyway… if I can’t get to the airport, maybe I can call you on my cell phone, since I have long distance on it. Send me a phone number through FB and let me know when would be a good time to call you.

  6. I just knew I was right! Hubby brought me a pair of Ugg boots last year for Christmas and I wear them as slippers. Hubby says they are out door boots, but come on they wouldn’t last long in the weather we have.

    Oh what do they call the toilet, if not toilet?

  7. I love the play by play of your trip so far…wonderful.. i love the perspective you give to our country….its priceless…you had me laughing out loud at some of your observations…yes the Californians are known for being a strange lot…just wait till you travel another 2,100 miles east..its whole another world again…BTW out here we call soft drinks “pop”: and they call it a “soda” in California…we call the toilets..the .toilets, or more so “the bathroom”…..

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