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Los Angeles California

 

We had booked accommodation in every location, except Houston, which we changed en-route, before leaving Sydney and in every case the hotels had been well chosen. 

So when we got to 'Beautiful Hollywood Apartments' in Los Angeles at ten o'clock in the evening, after a long day, driving, walking and flying, we expected to find a nice room waiting for us. 

Instead we found a series of non-descript residential apartment buildings in an area where every second building seemed to be rundown or for sale. After walking from one to another Wendy discovered that the least attractive looking one, with steel cage doors across its entrance was the address on our booking form. 

Very fortunately we'd decided at the last minute that if we were to do many of the things we'd planned we'd need a car in LA.  So I'd booked one while leaving Las Vegas.  We'd originally planned to catch a train to a nearby station, the reason for choosing this place, and walk up the hill to a 'beautiful apartment'.  

So at least our bags were in the car and not on the street.  But there was nowhere to park, except in driveways that were in occasional use.  Eventually someone came out of the cage and Wendy was able to go in.  "Yes," there was such an apartment.  But no one had seen its owner for months.  Certainly not today. 

Wendy can be quite assertive in such situations. Craig and Sonia still retell a famous incident in South America:  "I'll call the police!" "No I'll call the police,"   The young man at Agoda got the treatment.  New accommodation was found, complete with free car parking, close to Hollywood and Vine. 

In the meantime we needed to leave the other place.  Someone was entering the driveway. Traffic was mounting behind her car. A remotely activated gate prevented me moving forward. To get out of the way I needed to get our car onto the footpath and then back onto the road.  A car stopped to let me get out but another driver, angry at the extended delay decided to overtake.  It was the nearest thing to a serious crash I've experienced in some time.  Fortunately he was as quick on the brake as on the accelerator.  He screeched to a stop about four inches from my door.  A bit of adrenaline there for both of us.  I was tired and hungry and it was all starting to feel like a bad dream.

To top it off, the new place was one of those low rise motels you see in movies, where you park your car facing your door.  I was not impressed.  The reception office was inside an armoured glass box with a two way speaker and one of those draws to pass a credit card one way and get the key and TV remote the other. Not encouraging.  Haven't they seen 'No Country for Old Men?  We had a single flimsy door between us and 'crime central'.

To reinforce this impression there was a strange pair sitting in a disreputable looking car out there.  They hadn't moved.  What were they up to?  Should I mention them to Wendy?

I carried the bags in and put them well away from the door.  I looked around.  The chairs were too small to put under the handle. The chain would have to suffice.

Relief.  The odd couple and their car had gone.  We went out for a walk to get food and look around. I became less concerned. There were certainly quite a few odd people about but this is LA and most seemed to be well down the road, homeless and so relatively harmless.  The room was large with a table and chairs.  Maybe the food helped.

In the morning things seemed better.

The bed was large and comfortable. The shower was good; even the towels weren't too bad; and there was no trouble getting and extra one for Wendy's hair.  Free parking for guests, in a town with little unpaid parking, meant we could come-and-go easily and walking to the nearby station was an option.  I found a very nice restaurant within walking distance for our last night in America and I could even get Jeopardy! on TV. 

I drove Wendy to where she wanted to go, on the other side of the city, and while she made her penultimate grandmotherly foray I went off to the Tar Pits, as annoyingly, the adjacent Los Angeles County Museum of Art was closed until tomorrow. 

 


Santa Monica Los Angeles - Click on this picture to see more LA

 

And the next day one of my favourite galleries, LACMA was open so Wendy in turn investigated the ancient sticky demise of unfortunate mega-fauna in the tar ponds next door while I revisited some old familiar works of art.

 


Los Angeles County Museum of Art - Click on this picture to see more

 

Later we drove down to Santa Monica. 

LA was OK.

 

Then it was time for the marathon flight back to OZ. And even that was relatively pleasant because although we had no upgrade we had exit row seats and it was Qantas - much nicer than American Airlines.  Unusually I was able to sleep. 

 

 


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Travel

The United Kingdom

 

 

 

On the surface London seems quite like Australia.  Walking about the streets; buying meals; travelling on public transport; staying in hotels; watching TV; going to a play; visiting friends; shopping; going to the movies in London seems mundane compared to travel to most other countries.  Signs are in English; most people speak a version of our language, depending on their region of origin. Electricity is the same and we drive on the same side or the street.  

But look as you might, nowhere in Australia is really like London.

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Fiction, Recollections & News

Memory

 

 

 

Our memories are fundamental to who we are. All our knowledge and all our skills and other abilities reside in memory. As a consequence so do all our: beliefs; tastes; loves; hates; hopes; and fears.

Yet our memories are neither permanent nor unchangeable and this has many consequences.  Not the least of these is the bearing memory has on our truthfulness.

According to the Macquarie Dictionary a lie is: "a false statement made with intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood - something intended or serving to convey a false impression".  So when we remember something that didn't happen, perhaps from a dream or a suggestion made by someone else, or we forget something that did happen, we are not lying when we falsely assert that it happened or truthfully deny it.

The alarming thing is that this may happen quite frequently without our noticing. Mostly this is trivial but when it contradicts someone else's recollections, in a way that has serious legal or social implications, it can change lives or become front page news.

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Opinions and Philosophy

Jihad

  

 

In my novella The Cloud I have given one of the characters an opinion about 'goodness' in which he dismisses 'original sin' as a cause of evil and suffering and proposes instead 'original goodness'.

Most sane people want to 'do good', in other words to follow that ethical system they were taught at their proverbial 'mother's knee' (all those family and extended influences that form our childhood world view).

That's the reason we now have jihadists raging, seemingly out of control, across areas of Syria and Iraq and threatening the entire Middle East with their version of 'goodness'. 

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