The Travel Tables Are Turned

2:02 PM Saturday, November 28, 1998

I've got to pop the journal open again. I thought I was through travelling.

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I sat next to an incredibly cute couple from Hong Kong who are flying to LA for a vacation. They tell me they're renting a car and driving to Las Vegas. They're definitely in for a treat. The older guy sitting next to them on the other side starts chatting with them (I was too damn tired and drugged out). He's about 55, from a farm in Missouri. He tells the couple about his favorite things to see in LA: the Queen Mary, which he called "an old luxury liner" as if these kids are going to know what the hell that is. He also recommends The Spruce Goose: "A big plane, made completely out of...get this...wood". I'm groaning to myself. Those are the same lame sights that my parents dragged me to on vacations in the 70's. Then he tells them to go see a Raiders game. What Ever. They're not even in LA any more.

I decide I'm going to have to intervene and when he zonks out I tell them to got to Melrose Ave, walk, shop, sell all their clothes (the girl's wearing a cool Asian T-shirt that'd garner top trade-in value at most stores on Melrose.) Then I tell them to drive the LA-LV trip during the day, leave about 1 and arrive just after sunset and hit the strip when the lights are the best. Pulling onto the strip after driving through the desert is reason enough to shell it out for the convertable. It is definitely a great road trip and I explain how young people in the US spontaneously get in a car and drive all over. Just for fun. The roadside attractions, diners, gas stations -- I'm giving tips they seem to appreciate.

They're renting a hotel on Hollywood Blvd. They should have some fun. I'm worried for them driving cause it's the other side of the road but I think they're armed them with enough info. It's cute how they follow me through the airport as we walk, finally having to part at customs. It's the same thing I did at most airports and train stations in India, latch onto somebody I met and follow them like sheep through the maze. I want to be able to see America with their eyes. I'm so jealous.

So I go to page Kevin and there's a guy flailing with the phone and I immediately recognize his predicament, having been in it just 2 days ago and at countless times during my trip. I just wanted someone who could speak English to dial for me. Most of the techie-geeks at my work would appreciate the sophistication of the diagnostics required to determine what happened to your phone call once your digits enter the telecommunications network of a less-developed country.

Didn't hear from Kevin but I did get my new buddy through to his dad and afterwards we sit and talk. He's a nice guy from Egypt, Tamir, 24 yrs. old and a little surprised at how nice I'm being. I try to explain how much I identified with his situation and he offers to give me a ride into SF with his dad. Score. Maybe Kevin will be there. I don't know. My brain's shutting off.

It's nice here in the US. I kind of want to stay in the airports. I've been in them for over 48 hours now. I don't know what time it is or what's going on in Bangkok. I wish I were there also. I feel like my life was going another direction and then I was ripped back. "Don't go into the light, Dave!" Anyhow, there some cool people next to me on the plane into SF. The woman lets out this great American "Fuck!" directed at who knows what, that made me feel all warm inside. There's a bunch of Tibetan monks up front that I'm going to go show my pics to as soon as were airborne.

That's it.