One of the things I love the best about LA is the experience of being in another country. Yesterday a friend and I went to Natura, a day spa in Korea town. It was early in the day and I started out being the only non-Asian person in the spa. This older Korean lady was trying to explain something to me in Korean and I couldn’t understand a word. I tried explaining back to her in English that I didn’t understand her, all with no luck, buck naked in a hot tub. I truly felt like an outsider in another country, but left the spa refreshed and ready for new adventures.
As I drove home, I passed a guy pressing fresh orange juice out of a shopping cart, next to a vendor selling sizzling hotdogs, reminding me of Copenhagen and Fortaleza at the same time.
Then for the morning dog walk in West Hollywood – the Russian Immigrant part of West Hollywood, not the rainbow part. Dog and I wander through Plummer Park overhearing phone conversations, low whispers between couples and the clink and chingle of dominoes. The only English I hear are my dog commands. I love listening to the soft whispers of Russian and reading the plaques in Cyrillic and English glyphs.
I can visit each of these different countries, neighborhoods in less time than it takes to drive to LAX or Burbank; and return to the familiar coziness of my house after each jaunte. Turn on the espresso machine, fill it with Italian coffee, make myself a mocha and listen to the rain and remember San Francisco.