Driving in Los Angeles With Roberto In-charge of Wheels

The first day in LA

Within an hour of landing at the Los Angeles Airport, I was in Santa Monica Beach experiencing the cool breeze and cold water. Thank you Roberto! Roberto is my friend whom I met in Kathmandu some 8 years ago. He had come to our house and I had gone to Pokhara, Chitwan and Lumbini with him. He is a proud gay and lives in between Palm Springs and San Francisco. “I love to live in my house in PS,” he said. “But the health insurance in San Francisco is more reliable and attractive.” That is why, he said, he spends much of the time driving between the two cities. Road is his third home. I mean his car that has a bed, a refrigerator and other household stuffs. “The situation has changed after the September 11,” he said. “It’s very hard to sleep inside the car because of police restriction in parking many places.”

After he picked me up from in front of the Omni Hotel, Roberto headed to the southern part of the Santa Monica beach where I touched the sea water for the first time in my life. I walked around the beach wearing Roberto’s sandals. “Take this,” Roberto picked up a stone from the beach and handed that to me. “This is a souvenir to you.”

Roberto wanted me to go to as many places of the city as possible. He was ready to take me anywhere because he had promised me to take around the city. We went to a Chinese restaurant, filled out bellies and the late night city tour started. We went to Hollywood. Oh…the Kodak Theater (where they distribute the Oscars) was so small that I couldn’t believe I was in front of the building. We went inside a few shops where, Roberto said, celebrities shop. “You don’t believe me?” he said. “Just check the price tags boy.” He was right, the price was for celebrities.

I wanted to go to Gay bars but there was no time. It was already 11 PM and I was damn tired because of the flight and the time change. (LA is three hours ahead of D.C. where I had started my day in early in the morning. To stay awake till 11 PM in LA on that day meant not sleeping till 2 AM in D.C.)

Roberto was also new to the downtown LA and I knew what that meant when we got lost for about half hour while trying to get back to the hotel. The road was like a deep web and if you miss a turning you miss the whole route. Roberto was repeatedly consulting the maps but that wouldn’t work. He asked people on the road and we were like two crazy men doing unwanted adventure on the streets of Los Angeles. (In fact, even people in the city find it difficult to navigate through the downtown web of roads). Finally we found the route and the hotel. The first day in LA was fruitful and quite adventurous as well.

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