I have to say I didn’t quite make friends with LA, because it was very difficult to navigate without a car, and reading a guide book scared me a lot – there was an extensive list of where not to go alone, where not to go in the dark, and where not to go at all. But fortunately, I did make friends in LA – for which I’m very grateful.Feeling a bit tense, I wrote to a few people on Couchsurfing and got some responses, but only one person found the time to meet up. I met the CSer twice, and he was very kind to show me various things and drive me around when he had time after work. It was doubly interesting to hear his perspective, since he is one of the young people trying to “make it” in LA: he works as an actor, but to balance his income also does camera work and editing. This gave me an idea of the supply chain at work in the huge city with a lot of talent.
Thanks to my friend Amanda, I was able to see different parts of Seattle in a very short time. One of the most advertised landmarks is the Space Needle, connected to the city center by a monorail. The monorail mostly serves tourists – it runs infrequently, and locals enjoy well-developed (certainly according to American standards) public transportation system, so there is no need to take the monorail (below).
The salmon struggle to jump up to reach Lake Washington.
I made a short list of objects that I wanted to see in Vancouver, but when I got there I decided to simply go with the flow. It was easy to meet new people, and I figured the social landscape is just as interesting as the urban. I went to the Sea Wall the first day (my geographer friend explained about various innovative housing ideas from the 70s), then Stanley park and the aquarium on the second. Then a heatwave came.