Bearings and how to find them

Golly! While browsing through my blog posts, I discovered that (a) I haven’t posted anything since mid-2014 (shame on me), and (b) a draft article that I wanted to post as a follow-up to my scary scooter moments in LA.

Should I throw it away? Should I post it anyway, with more than a year’s delay? Blogging is such a time-consuming affair but every PR person tells you that you should keep it up regularly and be always up-to-date. I am such a PR person. Still, I can’t abide by my own rules.

Well, I decided to post it. My draft wasn’t finished so I had to come up with a few memories to conclude the story, like those movie-makers who have to replace an actor deceased in the middle of the shooting with a stuntman or, nowadays, a digital copy. I mark the transition with [2015]. And here goes!

Week 3. In the meantime, I have spent a whole weekend driving a rented motorbike to get some more experience driving around LA, so I am starting to get the hang of it. As long as I don’t stray too far from the areas that I know. Because here’s the catch: my biggest challenge is orientation. I couldn’t find my bearings if you paid me for it. At least not at first. Or at second.

The Royal Enfield I rented in LA for a weekend.

Landmarks are no use to me. In the first week, I found myself turning regularly left where I was supposed to go right, simply acting on the fact that I spotted what I believed was a landmark – a café bar called “The Bean Factory.” Except that it was the wrong landmark. What I had remembered was a parking lot with a big sign on it saying “Angry Bear Corner” or something. How I managed to mix these up, I don’t know.

But this is a thing of the past. By now, I know not to turn left at the Beans but at the Bear. I remember the “dips” in the road (probably earthquake damage) where I need to brake and learned that the [2015] right-turn to the UCLA was coming up when I passed the smell of the dry cleaners of Sepulveda Bd. Because this is the thing when you’re driving around a city on a two-wheeler – there are all these scents in the air. Others on my daily route to uni were:

  • the spicy scents emanating from the Mexican restaurant, day and night, on the corner Washington Bd. to Sepulveda
  • the horrid fumes of burning asphalt below the Santa Monica Freeway crossing with Sepulveda, from the never-ending road works on that spot (which regularly gave me the edge over car drivers as I would weave my work through 2 miles of traffic to the front of the queue), and
  • the delicious scent of coffee wafting in the air when I approached the Bean café, accompanied by the welcome sights of the “Persian Square” (on Westwood Boulevard between Wilshire and Pico), with its saffron-ice cream parlours and advertisements in Farsi for Iranian lawyer services.

And then I would arrive at my destination. Sometimes.

Hang on, there are some more notes from this 2014 post, so I’ll write about these in part 2.