Tag Archives: Los Angeles

The Upside down moon

See -it’s different!

I’m on the fourth month of my Los Angeles adventure and I have to admit it has been a bit of a roller-coaster ride. Change is hard, no matter who you are. Our brains simply don’t like it and they tend to freak out as soon as we leave the safe and secure zone of “but I’ve always done it this way!”

The process so far has been: “ooh, ahh this is amazing” followed by “oh my God, this place is insane, what am I doing here? then on to “I guess it’s not so bad, and the Mexican food is great.”

This Mexican food stall down the road from me is the best – I’m addicted to quesadillas

It’s always disconcerting when you change hemispheres (for me South to North) because the moon is upside down and the sun is in the south instead of the north. If you haven’t experienced this, it totally screws with your sense of direction, so I spend a lot of time going the wrong way. It’s even worse when Uber commands you to meet your driver on the NW corner of a nearby street. To an omnipotent observer I must look like a deranged pigeon, pacing back and forth as I try various directions until it seems to match the small blue dot on the app map.

I mentioned my upside-down moon problem recently to a dinner companion, who stared at me for some time before asking me what the hell I was talking about. He didn’t believe me, even after what I thought was a clear explanation involving the salt and pepper shakers, our plates and a great deal of pantomime. And therein lies the problem – you don’t know what you don’t know – everyone thinks what they know is the way it has always been. To partially quote the wonderful and very lamented Douglas Adams (who was talking about a good cup of tea) many things in Los Angeles “are not quite but not entirely unlike” what I’m used to, but they are different enough that my brain is constantly discombobulated.

The left hand, right hand drive thing is the most obvious, and I have startled many an Uber driver by trying to jump into the driver’s seat with them, but it’s the little things that trip me up. Light switches work the opposite way to home – you push down to turn off, up to turn on, requiring me to flick them up and down at least five times until I get it right. My Kiwi accent is a constant source of amusement to Angelinos, and I’ve had to abandon several words completely (deck being the most obvious). No one know what queue means – just the word because from the moment you land, you hit the most horrendous lines! And no one knows how to make a really good cup of tea. I think cream is actually milk, but I’m not sure.

I spend a lot of time giving geography lessons – that I’m not British or Australian, but a New Zealander, which somehow became the Netherlands on one occasion with Jesus the Cuban Uber driver, and explaining that Australia and New Zealand are two different countries, separated by a large body of water, that you can’t drive around New Zealand in an afternoon, and yes, it is a lot like Lord of the Rings, but we have amazing beaches as well. I also made the horrendous discovery that they don’t have chicken flavoured chips in the US! Heathens!

But I think we all have a problem with the upside-down moon – we think everyone experiences the world in the same way as we do and fail to appreciate how difficult change can be. I’m slowly adapting to the madness of Los Angeles: the brightness of the light, the heat and dust, insane traffic, and the tremendous amount of loose change one acquires.

The Los Angeles River – dust included

The upside-down moon is gradually becoming right-side up, and maybe, just maybe, leaving behind who you were is a way to find out who you could be, so I’m learning to embrace the strangeness and appreciate it is all part of the journey and adventure.

I wish we could all change places, walk a mile in everyone else’s shoes, understand everyone’s story is different, everyone’s story is the same, and teach everyone how to make a really good cup of tea.

The time I won a green card and moved to Los Angeles

Los Angeles – city of dreams?

Los Angeles is a town where everyone is always pitching – their screenplay, tv show, movie, music – you name it, so here’s my pitch: a middle-aged New Zealand woman wins a green card and moves to Los Angeles to chase her dream of becoming a screenwriter.

Continue reading The time I won a green card and moved to Los Angeles

Los Angeles – Museums

The Broad – Contemporary Art Gallery

Prepare to gasp when you reach the second-floor gallery of the Broad. I would go back to LA just to revisit it.

The Broad

The Broad (rhymes with road) is on Grand Avenue in Downtown Los Angeles, down the road from the Walt Disney Concert Hall. It is a contemporary art museum and houses the collection of philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad. It is a stunning building, and if you love architecture and contemporary art, you have to visit. You’ll need about three to fours hours, and although it’s free you have to reserve tickets via the website or wait in the standby line outside. It took about 30 minutes when I was there, although I imagine it will take longer in busier periods. Be there for opening if you want to get into the installations as you can only book inside and they fill up fast as well. Tickets book up fast and are released on the first of every month at noon PT for the following month, so plan ahead.

Continue reading Los Angeles – Museums

Things to do and see in Los Angeles

This may not be the best time in history to be writing about travelling to the US, but my recent trip to Los Angeles was great – I had a fantastic holiday. I spent two weeks in LA and one week travelling around.

Before I left, heaps of people told me I’d only need two or three days in LA, as it turned out I ran out of time to do all the things I wanted to do. The biggest surprise was the outstanding art museums and architecture. LA is so much more than theme parks and Disneyland, although I had fun there too – so here is my list of things to do in LA. Continue reading Things to do and see in Los Angeles

Take the road less travelled – Why it’s good to scare ourselves

I got back from a holiday in the US a few days ago and it was one of those trips with a before and after –  I left as one person and returned another.

It was a bucket trip list; over my 53 years I’ve traveled widely but every time I had plans to go to the USA something always seemed to happen. But there is nothing as persuasive as a cold Wellington winter’s night, with the wind smashing against the walls like a berserk toddler while the rain pounds sideways against the windows.

Continue reading Take the road less travelled – Why it’s good to scare ourselves