Look who I found at LAX.
JEXIT Stop 2 is Los Angeles, where I’m visiting A. It took me 20 hours to get there but get there I did, and she was there to meet me, after I spent an hour and a half waiting in the stupid, long immigration line. By the way, this was after I had used the machine that was supposed to automate the process, but apparently it couldn’t finish processing me, or most other people who were told to use it, in fact, so we all had to join the stupid, long line.
My biggest reason for being excited about getting back to the west, after seeing my family and friends, is food. To be perfectly honest, I got very tired of my daily menu options towards the end of my time in Indonesia. I was sick of everything being deep fried, fried to within an inch of its life, or boiled to death. I was sick of everything being overly spicy, so that I couldn’t appreciate the flavours of the food. And I was sick of having the exact same food options over and over again; I got so bored with my diet that I even stopped eating fruits for breakfast and just had coffee and bread instead.
In my last few weeks in Indonesia, I allowed myself to start dreaming of all the things I wanted to eat the minute my feet touched American soil, so A had all our meals for our time together well planned out, just as she had done for our Bali trip. For some reason I still don’t understand, at the top of my food list was a hot dog. To be specific, I wanted a bratwurst with onions and spicy mustard.
And that is why the first thing we did after A picked me up from the airport was go get hot dogs. In the end, I didn’t get a bratwurst after all, I think I did one better – I got a kielbasa with carmelized onions and sweet peppers, topped off with whole grain mustard, along with Belgian fries and sun dried tomato mayo dipping sauce. Yum!
Since I had spent so long in immigration, by the time we were done with our hot dogs and arrived home, it was pretty late so the only other thing I did before going to bed was have a lovely hot shower to get 20 hours of airplane and airport off me. My sleep that night was darn good. The pillows and the mattress were each the perfect the softness and I think I slept even better than I already had been doing since I left Jakarta.
The next morning, A made me my first cup of coffee in over 3 weeks. I had stopped drinking coffee when I got sick that last time because all I wanted was hot tea so it could help to soothe my poor throat. By the time my throat started feeling better, I wanted to save myself for really good coffee, so as much as I wanted it on some days, I remained coffee-less for almost a month. She made me a latte and it was delicious. Then we hit the stores.
When I left Jamaica almost a year ago, I packed mostly light, loose tropical clothes since I was going to be basically living right on top of the equator. Since I am now travelling across America, tropical-wear is very inappropriate for the weather, even for California (don’t be fooled, Southern California gets nippy in the winter and Northern California gets downright cold), I did bring a few things that were appropriate for being on the rooftop of Africa – thermal shirt and tights, fleece, a light jacket, fleecy socks and a couple of long-sleeved shirts. But since I don’t believe in gym shoes as winter-appropriate footwear for those of us who are from the tropics – why shouldn’t I be stylish in winter gear? – and since I would be in this climate for a few weeks, I needed to get a few more things to carry me through. So we went shopping.
I didn’t buy much; because of all the gifts I got as I was leaving Jakarta, my big suitcase is already at the allowed weight limit for most airlines and my smaller roll-aboard suitcase is over the cabin baggage limit (they’ve been forcing me to check it in) so I can’t go buck wild and buy everything I want but don’t really need. I got a couple of tops, a couple of bottoms and a couple pairs of shoes. And when I say “a couple” there, that’s literally what I mean. I’ll layer my lighter tropical clothes underneath to stay warm as I progress in my journey from California to elsewhere in America.
Although I didn’t buy much, we took all day to do it. We weren’t window shopping – I don’t do that unless I’m researching prices; why would I torture myself by pointlessly looking at what I can’t or won’t buy? – but because A lives in the suburbs, each place we visited wasn’t exactly close together. Plus, I had to try on everything I was thinking of buying in order to avoid the hassle of needing to return anything.
For dinner, I had a spinach salad with pecans, cranberries and blue cheese – good cheeeeeeese! Thank you, Jesus! – from Trader Joe’s and it was delicious. Then we snacked on pretzels and cookies while we watched Zootopia.
It was a utilitarian sort of day – A called it me getting my act together – but it was necessary. And because we were together, it was also fun.
JEXIT Stop 2…off to a great start!
All photos in this post are credited to A.