Phase V: California, The United States of America
From the boulevard of broken dreams to dreams on Sunset Boulevard.
Auckland-Venice Beach-Hermosa Beach-West Hollywood
I think it was only justified irony. Writing a text about dreams and having mine broken. Come to think of, I should be writing this text in the island of Naigani, one of the small atolls surrounding the serene paradise island group of Fiji. Due to a series of unfortunate events, and some fortunate ones fit in as well, I am writing to you from under a palm tree nonetheless - it's California, baby!
A few days ago two excited travellers hitchhiked from their hostel to Auckland airport, with the driver of the van, a gay farmer from Cardiff, getting completely lost and swearing every word imaginable. The spirit of the travellers was high as clouds as they entered Auckland Airport's international terminals. I think I will remember the feeling of walking under the International Departures sign, looking up and seeing FJ410 NADI 15:30 CANCELLED for a very long time.
The Western side of Fiji's main island, Viti Levu, had been flooded by tropical weather depression. The city of Nadi, our city of arrival, was under water with no sign of improvement for the following days. The queue of unhappy people was the longest one I've seen in a while.
The misery. The week that was supposed be a romance in a paradise, a vacation for the weary, a mojito with a sunset, became four hours on a payphone, two feverish nights in a blank airport hotel room, and a beer with insurance money. We ended up spending a full day at the airport, with our tickets that were still supposed to get us to Fiji but only got us as far as the departure gate. To make matters more annoying, we actually had to leave New Zealand by going through the customs and making our way back through the customs back to New Zealand without ever leaving the airport. The frustration of filling out yet another arrival card when you never arrived was only subsided a little when I walked through the biologically strict customs of Auckland with two bananas in my hand. I had to grin a bit.
After two days we finally got things sorted out with the flight company who had managed to organize us two booked seats (no tickets though, this is another episode of misfortunes) on another airline's plane to Los Angeles, the city of angels. The feeling wasn't heavenly but we were content about getting out of New Zealand. The country, which left a bitter aftertaste in the end.
After crossing the International Date Line, flying for nearly 12 hours, living the same day twice and making our way to Venice Beach from LAX staying awake until the evening was a triumph. The hostel we ended up at was disgusting in terms of hygiene and cleanliness but we were too tired to care. After 'enjoying' the free dinner, courtesy of the hostel, we joined a couple of British guys and a few Americans for a short night out in the local bars. We were taken to a bar located on the roof of a 7-storey building, illuminated by pillars of fire warming the atmosphere, and the view - the city of angels, an endless sky of stars that were glimmering windows, spotting the walls of skyscrapers. I felt better than I had in ages.
On the following day we took our chances with the bus system again and made our way to Hermosa Beach - this time with better luck (skill!). A stroll on the beach followed by a day spent shopping at the Del Amo Fashion Center, our flow feels incredible! Laughter, good spirit, incidents and accidents.
I think every flood has a silver stream. We followed ours and found our way.