I slept a looong time today. Then found some breakfast and the time to beat Oliver in Ticket to Ride for the 7th time. Then they took me to the bus, and here I am,
I slept a looong time today. Then found some breakfast and the time to beat Oliver in Ticket to Ride for the 7th time. Then they took me to the bus, and here I am, leaving familiarity and safety behind and entering … Los Angeles!
Random pictures of the bus ride.
Coming to LA was a small shock. Homeless people everywhere. I found a bus going to downtown. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a prepaid card, but the driver let me own anyway. The number of tents we saw … was quite alarming. I’ve never seen that many tents in my life since I was at the Roskilde festival in 1999. And my condition back then might have told something about how some of the residents felt right now :p Although quite some of them were living normal lives, shaving, preparing for work etc. I’ve never seen a tent in Sweden, in Rinkeby or anywhere else (although they do exist in the forest). I didn’t see a single tent in the favela of Rio, or anywhere else in South America (that I can remember), except for outside the Brazilian capital. I didn’t take any photos. But just look for “Skid row” on YouTube.
But when entering the Downtown, I took this photo!
Entering the metro.
It’s not that impressive, given that this is USA’s second largest city.
But the bus map … wow! Why is anyone having a car here?
There’s even a cat on the metro <3
I got off at Westlake/Mac Arthur Park. Why do all LA stations have two names BTW? Is that why the metro is not so popular? Here is the police, very content for chasing away a mad woman.
While not like Skid Row, this area felt quite poor as well.
Cash a check, get a loan, eat some of that grilled stuff. Mmh mmh!
It felt a bit uneasy walking to the hostel through these streets packed with homeless people. But as soon as Koreatown started, it felt better. Here is a Korean church. Did you know that roughly half of Korea is Christian? They really really are. I once had a drinking competition with one of them, who then suddenly disappeared. It turns out she went to church to ask forgiveness from God for drinking 13 drinks with me.
And a Korean hospital.
The hostel (Widblue) was run by a young, Korean-looking guy, who spoke (and maybe wrote) far from perfect English. I had to ask myself: is Korea still exporting “cheap” labour to USA, despite Seoul looking like a fantastic place compared to LA? Or is he born here, and just too involved in all the Koreanness in Koreatown to not speak English perfectly, but still has a quite rewarding job? Or is he actually just a Chinese from the north? I was too shy to ask him.
But what I think, is that modern, rich countries simply must allow other languages inside their own borders. “Allow”, not as in allowing people to just speak it, but as in allowing a multilingual workplace, municipalities with other languages than the main, etc. For this to work, we need more segregation. And, of course, that is a voluntary segregation. Which is exactly what we get in Sweden. But most politicians are fighting against it, wanting to spread newcomers everywhere in the country, to make them speak Swedish better. But I’m afraid that most of the country becomes the “bad middle” – that foreigners are many enough that people can hang out with other foreigners (since humans tend to hang out with people who look and sound like them), but not enough of any foreigners to get a complete labour market in which someone can come from Syria and start working as a dentist or whatever from day 1. I wrote an article in Swedish about this here. And this perhaps Korean guy in Koreatown, LA, would make me understand something here. But I was too shy to ask him stuff. I did, like all the other scruffy inhabitants, take off my shoes though, packed them in a plastic bag and locked them in my closet, as every dutiful LA Korean does.
Then I went to Ginza Ramen! Soft ingredients, spaghetti-like taste, and a sauce that did taste like Japan … but was nothing to cry into. A 2/5, as I still ate it. You could photo it, put it on Instagram, and you’d get a second bowl for free! Ah, eh, no. Then I went home and slept like a baby.