The City of Angels
Today is the third day of my stay here in LA and I continue to enjoy the good weather and the company of good people. I arrived here on May 2 and was surprised to know that my friend, Suzette, was to be on the same flight with me to my first stop, which was Narita Airport in Japan. That made the long queue at the airport a little manageable because we got to talk with each other once our points met at the long line that snaked its way to the Delta Airlines counter. What pisses me off at the airport, aside from the very long queue at the check in counter and the freaking travel tax (imagine having to line-up just so you can pay the government, sheesh) counter, was the fact that you have to divest of everything, belt, shoes and all, at the xray machine. And I had to do that twice, once before meeting the immigration officer, and then, before I could get inside the gate! And to think, I will be in another long queue in Japan and do all these once again! Anyway, upon arrival at the LAX airport, I had to wait in line again, this time for another hour, just so my papers could be cleared. Then, once I have gotten my luggages, had to wait for Bong, a close family friend, who was kind enough to pick me up from the airport as the designated picker upper, Khriss, was working till 1. After 30 minutes of waiting at the airport, Bong finally arrives, took me to their house to freshen up and wait for Khriss and from there, had lunch at a place called Hometown Buffet at Orange County. From there, Khriss took me to my final destination at the San Pablo residence where I am to stay while here in LA. We had a lovely dinner at a Japanese restaurant called Kabuki! We were joined there by Bert Ancheta and his wife. The following day, I went to Chapman University with Khriss to observe the university and observe her classes. Khriss was phenomenal in class and the students were listening intently to her lecture. From there, my online friends of thirteen years, fellow poet, Gloria and her husband John, picked me up to show me around. We had a blast upon finally meeting personally. They took me to Hollywood, had lunch at the Hardrock Cafe, viewed the "stars" and their Sid's pavement signatures and got ripped off by Yoda and Superman (I think he was Superman) asking for a photo and being hassled for a $5 tip! From there, we went to Beverly Hills and then a view of the ocean via Sunset Boulevard, then posh Rodeo Drive where the stores supposedly snobbed Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. There I saw items I cannot and will not buy! We then had coffee at the Coffee Bean then were on our way again to our final destination, the Westin Bonaventure Hotel where we had dinner with a view of the whole LA area on the 35th floor which was a revolving restaurant. Too bad we couldn't go full circle as it would take about an hour and a half to do that and it was already 11:30! They took me home and after bidding everyone adieu, I hit the sack! The whole experience was fantastic. Gloria, as I expected, was charming and intently listening to how John and I talk about a lot of things. We share the same passion for music, the arts and practically everything and poor Gloria just had to listen to us talk. She wasn't complaining, though. As a matter of fact, I suspect she enjoyed seeing us discuss a lot of things. What was crappy was that just as soon as I was to take my first picture, the gate of Paramount Pictures, the battery of my camera died on me! All in all, it was a great day and I continue to expect even greater ones still to come. Today, Danny and Ochie will pick me up, then tomorrow, Rikki and the La Salle teachers and finally, on Sunday, Batjay, Jet, Tito Rhomes and Kristene! What a wonderful week this will be!