The Warmest of Welcomes

My very first night in LA and I get this welcome.

LA arranged this sunset just for me. Plus a rainbow on the other side of the sky. Nice.

Americans get a bad rap sometimes, with the stereotype of them being loud, obnoxious and culturally insensitive. Sure, I’ve met some Americans who fit that bill, but I’ve also met plenty of Irish who do too, and a fair scattering among other nationalities. In terms of ratios, I suspect that not too much changes wherever you go: there are always assholes. The vast majority of Americans that I’ve known have been some of the warmest, friendliest people it’s been my pleasure to encounter.

Los Angeles provides a case in point. This is the first time on my tour since I left London that I’ve been in the company of a friend, and she and her family couldn’t have been more welcoming to a weary, time zone-addled traveller. Getting to see Los Angeles laid out in front of me at sunset from the rear of their house was a pretty special experience too.

Los Angeles itself is a city I’ve never been to before, though I’ve bracketed it with visits to San Diego and San Francisco. There’s an odd feeling of familiarity about it that comes from place names that show up regularly on television and film: Mulholland Drive, Venice Beach, Rodeo Drive and, of course, Sunset Boulevard. I haven’t visited them all and I probably won’t before I leave, but I have ventured across the city by car and lived to tell the tale. So at least some of my navigational abilities remain intact.

Next up, a trip along the coast, northwards towards San Francisco by way of the Pacific Coast Highway. It’s all rather unplanned from here on in, save a few stops along the way to see friends, but after the scheduled mania of the trip so far, it’s nice to just take it as it comes.