Early this morning I had decided to explore the downtown Los Angeles area. Dave had given me some ideas and I was looking forward to discovering more about my surroundings and especially on my own.
It was what I thought to be a hot morning and I just knew it would be a perfect day. I walked through the Village on my way to a bus stop on Wilshire Boulevard. I knew to go east as west would land me at the beach! Not a bad choice either but today was for concrete.
I boarded the downtown Los Angeles bus and chose a window seat towards the rear. After a couple of stops an attractive young lady boarded the bus.
I noticed her taking a quick observation of the scene and as there wasn’t a whole crowd of faces to sift through, she spotted me, I know she did. At first she walked past me and then turned around and stopped where I was sitting.
“Would you mind if I sat here?” she asked me as she held onto the back of the aisle seat now that the bus was rolling again. ‘Not at all,’ I replied looking up at her.
She took the seat and we sat silently for about another minute.
“Are you from around here?” she asked me, breaking the silence.
‘No actually I only moved into the Village a few days ago.’ And then I boldly carried on. ‘Before that, for a few days I was in a motel room not too far from here and I had come directly there from San Francisco. Now I’m living on Gayley.’
“Oh I live on Gayley too!” we both smiled and she went on, “Where did you come from?” and before I would answer, “Are you from India?”
‘No, I am not from India,’ I plainly countered.
She appeared a little surprised and then stated the question, “You are Indian, yes?”
‘Yes I am. Full-blood Indian.’ And now she was clearly more intrigued.
“Well then, if not San Francisco and not India, where are you from?” she questioned me.
‘I came from Fiji Islands landing first in San Francisco.’ I explained, ‘I lived and worked there for nearly a year. I then decided to come to Los Angeles and find an old friend of mine.’
“How do you come to have this friend here in Los Angeles?” still another question from her; I think I am now being interviewed.
‘He is a pen pal from long ago.’ I told her in response.
She listened very intently and I amusedly thought to myself, this girl is computing all this information into some formula or another.
“Fiji Islands?” she asked me thoughtfully.
‘Yes. Do you know where that is?’ I asked her. She said to me that she believed it was in the south Pacific Ocean. I smiled with delight and then added, ‘That’s right and so you have a better idea, the closest large land to us is New Zealand.’
It was once again quiet but for only a few moments, both of us absorbing information perhaps. A little more conversation transpired in the next moments. She then took out a little notepad and began scribbling in it. I of course thought nothing of it.
This young lady then tore the page out from the book, folded it and handed it to me. I opened it up to look at it and there was her telephone number and address.
She appeared over the moon with our dialogue and said, “Here’s my address and telephone number in case you’d like to have coffee with me some time – we could continue this conversation.”
I asked her for another sheet of paper and taking out my pen from my shirt pocket, I scribbled my contact information and handed it to her. I could tell this gesture pleased her.
My randomly chosen bus stop somewhere in the middle of the city had arrived, I excused myself and we said our goodbyes. Clearly we were both tickled pink for the sudden spark of dialogue and the thought of where it might possibly lead.
I walked around without aim for about half an hour and then my nose caught a delicious smell. I thought to keep walking but after about half a block this aroma got the better of me and I did an about face.
First I looked into the giant pane glass window of the obvious restaurant and noticed the crowd. Then I spotted the buffet laid out in what seemed to be the middle of a large dining room.
I had the feeling this was something like one of my favorites in San Francisco, Cliftons. I entered without further resistance. I paid the cashier $2.38 -the sum keeps coming up strong in my mind so I believe that is accurate.
Wow what a spread, so many salads, soups and delectable hot items. All kinds of most everything I would hope for; various beef, chicken and fish preparations, rice, potatoes, breads (the great American diet, right?), things I couldn’t identify, desserts and drink choices too.
I spent a leisurely near two hours there, taking my time, tasting everything and getting a good dose of people watching as well. I believed I was witnessing many an American family up close and in the course of their mealtime normalcy.
When at last I knew I was done for, it was time to get some fresh air. I walked around observing the city of Los Angeles’ life around me, window shopping and taking notice of all the lovely old buildings of downtown.
This took me another hour and half into my day’s adventure. And now I was feeling tired so I resigned to call it a day. I caught the westbound bus along Wilshire back to Westwood Boulevard. That’s where I got off to walk to my place in the Village.
No sooner I got into the door and my phone rang. “I was trying to reach you all morning,” the voice said on the other end. I didn’t offer much information of my whereabouts but offered my ‘how can I help?’ It was the woman who employed me.
She called to tell me about a certain tenant whom she wanted me to keep a closer eye on. “They’re a rowdy sort and I want you to tell me if there’s any trouble.” I assured her I would of course. All this would figure into my daily life in the village, Westwood Village.