Probably the best part of my stay in LA was my visit to various bars and pubs in the city and Arthur Rhodes is the man who introduced me to the regular lifestyle of LA. The student of UCLA and an aspiring filmmaker (and writer of an article about me in UCLA Asia Media web site) took me to different bars and arranged meetings with his friends. I had a chance to interact with young Americans folks and feel the beauty of Hollywood Hills, thanks to Arthur.
Downtown Los Angeles as seen from Beverly Hills Pic by Wagle
First bar we went to was Barney’s Beanery (established in 1925, the bar, I was told, is Los Angele’s third oldest) in West Hollywood. I went there after spending some time in a coffee shop surfing wireless internet in Arthur’s Apple laptop. That was great. While he was taking me around the city, we were talking about Nepali politics and journalism (and blogging of course) for his Asia Media article. Asia Media’s editor Angliee Shah had introduced me with Arthur when they came to see me in Omni, hotel where I was staying in. Arthur turned out to be a pleasant surprise for me. A student of Anthropology in UCLA Arthur wants to get himself involved into the study of politics. He is also working on a documentary project that, he said, will incorporate the conflict of Nepal as well. I can’t forget his efforts to take me around the town in his car which wasn’t in really great condition because, Arthur said, friends ruined the machine while he was away from the country (in Sri Lanka).
So I was talking about Barney’s Beanery. The bar was crowded with young souls and on one table near the entrance gate were Arthur’s friends. All in their mid 20s, they were, I think, the perfect group of American youth I wanted to talk to.
They were drinking beers and talking with each other on every possible topic available.
“Be brutally honest with me,” one boy started talking with me knowing that I was from Nepal, the country of Mount Everest. “Be brutally honest with me, okay? Tell me who really went at the top. Edmund Hilary or Tenzing Norgey?”
God! What a tough question! He was drunk but not to the extent that he didn’t know what he was saying. He knew what he was talking about. So he started looking at me giving me the impression that he was eagerly waiting for my answer. “Well, they both said that they reached at the top together,” I said. “Team effort.”
“Yes, team effort,” he said and took another sip. He seemed to be satisfied with my answer. We talked about a few other things.
Then came another man near where I was seating (they were constantly changing their seats and moving here and there). He was wearing a baseball cap and talking about the game. “Why the World Series is called so?” I asked him. “Are there any countries other than US and Canada that play World Series?”
“Hum,” he said. “This is quite a misnomer actually.” After saying that he plunged into a deep thought.
It was getting late as I had to wake up early in the morning. So we decided to get back to the hotel.
Next evening we went to another pub called Jones and I ordered Margarita Pizza. We were three. Arthur’s friend was with us. She was working as a waitress in a bar near Hollywood Hills and was planning to go to South America soon.
“This is the real LA bar,” said Arthur as I was struggling to hear his voice amidst the loud rock music. “Loud music, dark setting and carefree waitresses!” Yes, it was dark inside and the atmosphere was definitely different than other bars I went to in LA. Hum, waitresses were carefree too. “You see the service is terrible. They don’t care about you,” Arthur said. “All they care about is their dream. The dream of being a Hollywood actress or singer one day. They are here to be a celebrity.” And they think that being waitress is a transitional phase.
By the way, before I forget, I would like to mention about the Ethiopian food that we ate in the afternoon. But I really don’t know Food, a kind of bread and vegetable, was great or the waitress who served the food to us. I could see Arthur trying to flirt with the girl who had left her husband back in Ethiopia. I was too shy to flirt and my shyness must have made Arthur not to go further. Okay, Ethiopian food? Yes, its not Ethiopia but Ethiopian food. Arthur told me how he thought about having Ethiopian food when one of his friends told him about that. “Come on, I thought Ethiopians were undergoing famine!”
Visiting A Gay Bar
After Roberto, another gay came to see me all the way from San Francisco. Joe was Roberto’s friend and we were in touch via email for quite some time. The rich hunk who said he was planning to buy a hotel in downtown LA was driving a fancy car equipped with satellite navigation systems in top speed. We went to a bar where gay couples were having fun-filled talks and drinks. That was quite an experience.