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America – Day One July 10, 2008

Posted by alwaysjan in Travel.
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I slept in so as not to wake the Brits.  I needn’t have bothered. By the time I wandered out into the kitchen at 8 a.m., Richard and Lesley were already returning from Home Depot with paint for the fence and pastries from the Union Bakery. Lesley was ecstatic. “I just saw my first two fatties!” she exclaimed. She and Richard debated how much the two people they saw weighed altogether, but when translating pounds to stones, they reached an impasse. As a compromise, it was agreed both people were about as big as a boulder.

Lesley dieted before for her trip here, all because she wanted to be able to say, “I want that supersized!” I had to break it to her gently that everything in America IS supersized.

On the way home from the airport the night before, I’d driven Lesley through my town’s historic district. “It looks like Australia,” she proclaimed. I didn’t take this as a compliment and went to great pains to point out the historical significance of the buildings we whizzed by. “Brisbane, Australia,” Lesley reiterated.

Today, Lucy’s all consuming goal was to go to Abercrombie & Fitch and once inside the inner sanctum, she began hyperventilating. She emerged an hour later with one, count it, one shirt. We then took a romp through H&M, The Gap, and another 135 stores. It’s so hard when you’re 15 and you look gorgeous in everything. At each store I got to hear, “I can’t believe how cheap this is!” Since my dollars convert to lowly dollars, I couldn’t make it a shopping menage a trois.

We took a break from all the frenzied spending to have lunch at Twin Palms where Lucy pulled out her new shirt from the Abercrombie & Fitch bag (and no, they’re not paying me for product placement) and buried her face in it. “It even smells like Abercrombie & Fitch,” she squealed. I was looking at the black and white photo of the very manly model on the bag, who evidently embodies the essence of A&F, armpit hair and all. Lucy’s mum, Lesley, suggested that the model had personally licked the new shirt to give it that unique smell. I think Lucy rather liked that idea.

We staggered back to the parking garage, came home and took a nap, which sounds a lot more exotic, if you call it a siesta.

This is what Lesley learned on Day 1:

Most of the streets in LA are quite straight and wide (supersized!)

Everyone in LA seems to drive a silver or black car (I’d noticed that myself recently)

Waiters don’t wait for everyone at the table to finish eating before removing your plate.

Here’s what I learned on Day 1:

A popsicle is actually an “ice lolly”

The school crossing guards who sit in lawn chairs and hold up the STOP sign so children can cross, are referred to in England as “lollipop ladies.”

The reason it’s incredibly rude for a waiter to take away your plate before everyone’s finished eating is because then everyone just stares at the person who’s still eating.

We then went out to Gus’s and ate hamburgers the size of the Isle of Wight and Lesley never even had to utter the “s” word. And the waiter took away my plate as soon as I’d finished, so I could then watch Lesley start packing on American-style pounds.

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1. Catherine Sherman - July 10, 2008

South Pas and Pasadena already pass for Anytown, USA, in the movies. You’ve got eucalyptus trees, so release some koala and wallabies, and South Pas can pass for Brisbane on the screen, too. Venice Beach always makes me think of Tony Urbano, and his puppets for The Mikado in his studio.

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