[In consideration for my younger readers, the following blog entry is recommended for ages 18 and up. There is alcohol-related content, as well as breaking the "Don't talk to strangers" rule. Please do not engage in such activities until your age is ripe.]
In last week’s blog I encouraged my readers to be a tourist in their city, to spice up the relationship with their everyday surrounding. I myself embarked on a week-long mission: to be a part-time tourist in Los Angeles. Or in the very least, embrace spontaneity.
Saturday, February 5
My friend Jenn and her boyfriend hosted their birthday celebration at Perch LA. After an evening of mingling with fabulous ladies and gentlemen up on the rooftop lounge, which overlooked the beautifully lit city of Los Angeles, we parted a little after 2 am. (Note: Venues close at 2 am due to Californian alcohol law. If we were in Las Vegas, this party would’ve had a different ending.)
On my way home, there was a car driving next to me. The Asian dude in the front passenger seat motioned for me to roll down my window. He appeared non-threatening. It helped that he was wearing glasses. I rolled my window down. We began talking from car to car, driving at matching speeds.
Seemingly Non-Threatening Asian Dude (SNTAD): “Let’s go eat at Hodori.”
Me: “I need to get my beauty sleep.”
SNTAD invited again.
I rejected again.
The window in the back passenger seat rolled down.
SNTAD 2: “Come join us!”
I rejected yet again.
A couple minutes later we were at Hodori, the 24-hour eatery in Koreatown. Getting to know the SNTADs, I found myself enjoying their company. I wondered though if they were sober or tipsy. Were the more talkative ones normally reserved and vice versa? One can never judge another individual by first impression, nor by many impressions later. Even close friends I’ve known since grade school continue to surprise me. After all, people change over time.
I told the guys about my blog. If you’re a SNTAD group member and reading this… Hello Pat, Marc, Eric, and Garrett! :)
Sunday, February 6
My friend Kristy and I decided to take advantage of the warm weather and spend the afternoon in Venice Beach, exploring its various quirks.
We began our mini adventures talking with street vendors, checking out their handmade jewelry, incense, paintings, etc. As usual I saw the man who speaks Bird, driving his wheelchair with a tip jar on his shoulder. Another familiar face: the tan Asian man with long silky hair, one-wheeling his bicycle. Every time I see him, I feel like I’m watching a shampoo commercial.
Upon having ice cream for lunch we went inside the Venice Beach Freakshow, which houses the world’s largest collection of two-headed animals. We saw Larry Gomez the Wolf Boy, as well as a performance that included sword-swallowing, electrocution, fire-eating, and the dangerous stunt of placing a hook into the nose and out the mouth!
The freakshow owner Ray intended visitors to embrace the unique; to fill them with awe and be inspired by other beings’ eccentricities. Unsuspectingly Ray was once a music producer who collaborated with Santana and the Beastie Boys. In his retirement from the music industry he moved his private collection of oddities into the public eye, opening up the Venice Beach Freakshow.
After being wow-ed by the stunts, my friend and I soaked some sun on the beach. There were massive groups of seagulls standing near us. We couldn’t help but run after them. There’s something amusing about chasing a bunch of seagulls, watching them fly off as they squawk goofily.
Check out the full photo gallery here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/72945393@N07/sets/72157629233299009/
Friday, February 10
A crew of us gave our friend Mari a surprise farewell party. She thought she was spending the evening with our friend Saori. Little did she know there were more of us waiting to surprise her! Saori walked her into the karaoke room at Dave & Busters, where the rest of us waited, singing one of Mari’s favorite Disney songs “Under the Sea.” You should have seen her face. She was stunned. On a scale from 1 to 10, it was a 12. Ask anyone who was there.
Our crew partied up the karaoke room until 1am closing time. We were known as the dance table. The table next to us were the musicians. The other tables were birthday crews. But us, we were the fireballs, exuding energy with our shuffling and booty-shaking. Haha :D
Sunday, February 12
Last night my girlfriends and I had a wonderful dinner with the SNTAD group members. They’ve been upgraded from SNTAD (Seemingly Non-Theatening Asian Dudes) to CAD (Chill Asian Dudes). Who knows, perhaps we will become good buddies. Or maybe this story will end with a couple chapters. You can’t predict the future. So worry about tomorrow tomorrow. Be present and live today. That is not to say give up your responsibilities and savings. Just remember life is too short to save vacation time for when you retire. You only live once and no one knows for how long. Cheers to today! Enjoy it like a tourist :)
(Written by Professor Oh)