I flew out Friday morning to Long Beach California to visit the incomparable Ana. She's what qualifies as an "old friend" these days as we met in Jakarta. She's so much like me it's
The trip was a mental health visit for us both. It was so nice to talk to someone who knows how tough reintegrating into American culture can be, who can laugh at the ways SoCal is like Southeast Asia (more to come on that), who remembers the hard times and reminsces about the same people. We were like giddy eight year olds when she picked me up.
The comparisons started nearly immediately. Southern California is like Southeast Asia because:
There was a short, brown man in full pants and sleeves in 80 degree weather at the side of the highway off ramp selling flowers. A woman who could've been his sister tried to sell flowers in the bar that night.
We saw more that one person pushing/pulling a shopping cart/suitcase down the sidewalk. Also someone crashed out sleeping under the awning of a closed shop.
We got hit on by a Japanese and a Phillipino gentleman.
There was lots of liver abuse, wobbling walking out of the bar, ridiculous dancing by others, trashy hookups (also by other), being sick, me oggling the white boys, random music played by a cover band and other such bar related mischief.
Becak/pedicab in the tourist area.
An Asian woman on the beach boardwalk, in the sun, with knit sleeves on. Not the whole sweater, just the sleeves, and a big floppy hat.
Christmas tree lights on Palm trees near an outdoor mall that looked like Clarke Quay in Singapore.
Cute surfers, Aussies, beach and palm trees made me think BALI, BALI, BALI. As did the tiny shorts, the drunken, bleach-blonde teenagers, the women trying to look like the blonde drunken teenagers, drinking on the beach and the beach shops.
Reminders that is really was California? In n' Out burger, white boys everywhere, the prices ($$!!), the ability to walk places, hearing (mostly) English.
Ana, what did I forget for our list?
It was a well needed break from work and the rain. It seems I've even managed to bring a bit of sun back, along with pink shoulders. I may try to get a photo or two on here but FB is blocked!
Thank you Ana, Tom and Anna for hosting and putting up with me. My offer for Seattle hosting stands. SoCal - I'll be back. Next month as a matter of fact. Save some sun for me!