I have now finished living in Panama and will be in LA for the next 2 weeks, staying with Ruth, a friend who I met when she was doing her Masters in London who’s lived in LA all her life in a neighbourhood called Crenshaw.. I arrived just after midnight on Friday night after a pretty bad experience of Copa Airlines putting me on the next flight because they’d overbooked my original one, so Saturday was my first day.
I was expecting it to be quite hot here but actually I’ve already developed a cough and cold because the weather is such a shock to my body! (To be honest it started on the air conditioned bus from Bocas to Panama City but yeah). Obviously I came with the clothes I’d been using in Panama so on Saturday morning we went to the mall so I could buy a jacket because I literally didn’t even have one hoodie or anything. The mall we went to was known as a bit hood/ghetto according to Ruth but actually it was really spacious and clean and kind of reminded me of the giant Westfield Mall by the Olympic Park in East London. We found a jacket easily and I also bought a sim card to put into Ruth’s old phone so I have one for these 2 weeks. In the phone shop the man was really chatty and friendly and I soon noticed that this is normal here, unlike in England where they’re often kind of awkward.
We went for lunch at a Japanese place and it was nice to finally be able to order tap water rather than having to keep paying for bottles like in Panama. It was weird because (this is apparently what always happens in America) when they bill came they added like 7% (to be honest I can’t remember how many percent) for tax, and then on top of that you have to leave a tip of like 10% whereas in England and Panama you can easily get away without tipping.
That night we went out in Culver City with one of Ruth’s friends, first to a bar/club called Rush, because Ruth’s friend had to go there to celebrate her cousin’s birthday. Rush was big and shiny and the women there had obviously spent about an hour getting ready. It was way too crowded and the bar had a big display of the expensive brands of vodka etc, and the music was horrible. We’d only been there about 2 minutes when I started daydreaming about Barco Hundido, a bar over the water where I used to live in Panama, which you could go to straight from the beach without getting changed, where there was always space to move, I always saw friendly faces of people I knew and most people just drank a Panama beer. I felt really out of place in Rush but patiently waited to leave. Ruth didn’t really like it either.
Anyway this is Elelta, Ruth and me:
We moved on to the next place at about 12.30am, after I’d changed from the shoes I’d borrowed into my trainers in the car. It was called Carbon and it apparently has different kind of nights every day of the week but Saturdays are reggae/dancehall and hiphop. As soon as we walked in mine and Ruth’s moods changed as we heard the sounds of Vybz Kartel (one of our favourite dancehall artists) and we were dancing straight away. Everyone was dressed quite casually and most people were dancing, whereas the previous place seemed to be more for talking/socialising. Carbon was also a bit too full but we didn’t mind that much because we were having fun anyway. It ended at 2am (normal for LA) and everyone congregated outside the exit doors and in the next-door car park, mainly so that boys could try and get girls’ phone numbers. Some of the boys were a bit annoying but some of them were ok and Ruth knows a lot of them because the same crowd goes there regularly. On the way home we got a drive-through from Del Taco where I got a bean and cheese taco for $1. Food is always the best way to end the night.