An excerpt from a conversation between an old man and the guy sitting opposite him I overheard on the bus yesterday.
Old man: Hey You! You know what a Leprechaun is? You know, those little men who live at the end of rainbows with gold and stuff? The Irish things.
guy: umm.. yeah
OM: Well that's you! All you Mexicans are like leprechauns to me.
guy: I'm actually from India
OM: India! Dang (slaps thigh). Which part? Bangladesh or some shit?
guy: no.. Just India
The bus here in America is a depressing place. Forlorn faces, vacant stares, shabby clothes, no smiles. Like a Dementor, the bus sucks all life, hope and motivation from you. I'm guessing for people in California (where appearance can mean everything), not having a car can really put you on the bottom of the social hierarchy. That is if you let it get to you. If you’re not living downtown, suburbs are spread out, while services are concentrated and the public transport is fairly substandard. The car is king here. I remember back in Adelaide being disturbed by traffic jams consisting of cars with only one person in it. Here it is far worse. Apart from Andy (who rides his bike or takes the bus to work), everyone drives.
The P-Funk gig was cool, but George hasn't done as well as Bowie or Jagger when it comes to massive amounts of drugs and the passing of time. For most of the gig he hobbled around the stage, waving his arms about from time to time, occasionally holding his ear to egg the audience on for cheering. He did sing a few lines in a couple songs, but dressed in pjs and moving slowly, he looked as if he was at a hospital rather than a gig. Regardless of George's condition, the show was entertaining, with Parliament banging out tunes for almost 4 hours. Thankfully about 2 hours in, the tall people in the audience standing in front of me all left. Truth be told, Americans are generally quite tall. Last night, I couldn't help noticing the backs of people's shoulders and heads. While at the MX concert in Mexico City, people were generally shorter, making for a nice clear view of the stage.
I've been listening to the music recommended by locals all throughout my trip. Each country visted has meant a whole new bunch of music to listen to. England charged me up for at least a couple of months, and yeilded more Australian music than expected. Now that I'm in California, I'm hearing stuff popular with the locals. Having not heard The Grateful Dead until now, they are certainly not the metal band I had always imagined them to be. Favs have been The Dears (who I thought was another side project of Damon Albam), Regina Spektor and Mogwai's soundtrack for the Zidane movie.
Right now, I’m on the train with Andy to go visit Laurie in Irvine for the weekend. The train seems a little more exclusive than the bus, but that maybe because they serve beer and coffee. Irvine is in Orange County, where the highest concentration of Hummers per household in America is. Great. On the topic of being shallow, I can’t believe the superficial commentary of this BBC article about Valerie Plame. Very much from the bottle journalism here. That’s opinion, not news.
I’m still dreading (secretly looking forward to), trying out the fast food here. There is so many burger chains it’s ridiculous. Wendy’s, In and Out, Jack in a Box, Burger King and the all mighty McDonalds. Incidentally, a big golden arches sign is visible from the other side of the border while in the line up to cross over from Mexico. Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is here in force and Starbucks has its own ice coffee in regular shops (still doesn’t compare to Farmers Union). And there are these things called Triscuits, which are like savoury mini wheats, but they are way too salty to eat heaps of them. I think I’ll skip on the 44 oz sodas that are usually found in chubby little hands.