I went to bed at 2 am on Sunday night (the 20th). I wanted to sleep earlier, but I knew it was a problem that I could barely move my suitcase. It is huge; it weighs 30lbs without any clothes in it.Airlines charge exorbitant fees for oversize bags. Something had to be done, so I stuffed what I could into a large garbage bag until it could reasonably move again.
At 4:30 I woke up to start my journey from Boston to Australia. I was accompanied by backpack, large suitcase, small box, and garbage bag.
Since no one was crazy enough to be awake and driving at 5 am, the taxi ride went quickly.
The first leg of the trip was a flight from Boston to LA. Wow. I don’t envy all the BU students who have to make that flight frequently. I finished watching Rebel without a Cause and watched The Lineup (1958). Not sure why I knew about that last one. Aside from being directed by Don Siegel and set in San Francisco, I don’t know why it was notable.
Immediately after landing in LA, myself and two other BU students on the Sydney program found each other. Jesse, Alex, and I faced a 12 hour layover! It didn’t take too long to decide we’d rather spend that time at the beach rather than the airport. While we were getting bus directions to Santa Monica, we met a Taiwanese Masters student on her way to Costa Rica to present her paper about the merchandizing industry surrounding Korean TV shows. She joined us. Her first taste of LA was a guy on the bus harassing her for a dollar – in front of transit police! Welcome to the USA.
The group got some lunch and we decided to eat on the beach. The walk was annoying; at this point, I was still carrying the backpack and garbage bag of clothes everywhere. Maybe 45 pounds.
Jesse had never been west of the Mississippi and took the opportunity to swim in the ocean:
Jesse has been henceforth nicknamed “Otter.”
Santa Monica pier was right near where we were eating. Alex spotted the roller coaster and we were off:
Alex can’t wait to ride the coaster.
Andrew used his iPhone to figure out that Venice Beach was nearby. And by nearby I mean a mile or so along the coast. Of course that didn’t stop us. We picked up our bags and went on our way. It didn’t take too long for the traveling to catch up to us:
Fun in the Sun
Between Santa Monica and Venice Beach.
While everyone napped, the Taiwanese student and I spoke about her research, TV, and consumer behavior.
Venice Beach was crazy. Definitely hippieville. There were lots of street venders selling things of quality (art) and junk (pre-made panhandler signs). There were many storefronts of weed doctors offering to give you a $40 “checkup.” Their neon green scrubs made them seem so much more legit. One highlight was watching a drunk bum fight unfold in front of us. It got pretty serious.
Looking down Venice Beach.
It was time to get back to the airport, so we took the bus back from Venice Beach. Everyone who came was sporting great tans/sunburns.
At LAX we met up with other BU Sydney students. We quickly became known as “Those-Guys-That-Left-The-Airport-Awesome-Why-Didn’t-We-Think-Of-That?” There, I met even more students interested in film.
Something special from Wisconsin? What?
Waiting for takeoff.
I am proud of myself for stepping outside of my comfort zone and just saying “yes.” I had an amazing 12 hours that I will never regret. Despite the slight sunburn.
UPDATE: Two days in and the Beach Group is still fast friends.
The plane ride was pretty nice. The aircraft was two stories and the BU students occupied a lot of seats. I sat next to a great guy – a likeminded BU film student. Aside from talking to him, I watched We Need to Talk About Kevin, Carnage, and A Dangerous Method on the awesome in-flight entertainment catalog. The one bummer was that the airline did not have a kosher dinner for me – DESPITE having confirmed numerous times with the travel agency. A special thanks to the woman next to me who gave me her extra chips and fresh fruit.
15 hours later we landed in Sydney, boarded the bus, and were on our way…