Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Ciao Bloggisti from "The Big Orange". Hmmm, I was never a fan of that nickname.
This is my first trip back to America since moving to Rome. Many expat friends told me I would have reverse culture shock. However, other than almost passing out in the supermarkets (more on that later) and the strangeness of not hearing Italian all the time, it feels like I never left. The traffic still sucks, people still complain about the "biz", and barely anyone walks on the street.
With three hours of arriving at L.A.X. I saw my former boss in Beverly Hills. I went to buy a phone at AT&T on Santa Monica Blvd and Bedford. As I crossed the intersection, a car beeped at me. I thought the driver was honking at the lady next to me who had a ton of cleavage going on, so I ignored them. Then someone rolled down the window and said my name. It was Don Cheadle in the back seat. Random.
You know you're on the West Side in L.A. when there's Valet Parking at a supermarket. That the store is already in a mall with plenty of parking and there's still Valet, says a lot.
I walked into Gelson's and almost passed out (same thing happened earlier at Ralphs). So big! All the choices! The fruit is perfectly lined up (and super expensive). I was paraphrasing Kanye in my head, "Yo Italy, I'mma let you finish but America has the best junk food of all time!"
Seriously, I forgot about the soda, chips, cookies aisle. Where did all these new products come from? There are like ten different versions of the Oreo cookie.
I bought the Entenmann's Raspberry Danish. It couldn't be helped. I was craving it a few weeks back. I was filled with joy as the lady rung it up. It takes so little to make me happy. It's kind of sad.
Within the first 24 hours of my arrival, I was told by two industry execs I need to move back to L.A. if I want to have a career in this business. Heavy thing to think about. Still processing.
Why the hell is there June Gloom in the middle of October? The marine layer is so thick.
Club Monaco, how I've missed you. I'm loving the new items for fall.
The friend I'm staying with went with me to Club Monaco and told me I need to accept that I have lost weight since moving to Italy. I keep trying on clothes a size too big. She insisted I go down a size. She was right.
I have no money yet I went to J. Crew and other places anyway (I'll do a Lo Shopping post later) as I have no clothes. I have a zillion meetings, lunches, dinners and I can't be looking crazy. I'm justify the spending the money as early Christmas present. Plus I'm super stressed about my career (especially after the "you need to move back" comment) and some retail therapy was needed ASAP.
I'm looking for a turban. Haven't found any.
Mexican food, hello, I've missed you too.
Downtown L.A. more restaurants and services (supermarkets etc.) have opened in the last 2 1/2 years. I had a dinner meeting at a new place called Bottega Louis. It's Italian so I had a burger as I can eat Italian when I get home. The burger was amazing. More on that place in a upcoming food post.
The weaves are still out of control.
There is an Obika (an Italian restaurant based in Rome) in Century City Mall! I can't believe it. It was packed at lunch time.
Traffic is still horrendous. Nobody should talk smack about drivers in Jersey until they have tried to go anywhere in Beverly Hills during the middle of the day. People, please use the freaking turn signal and get off your cellphones.
I was worried about driving as I haven't been behind the wheel in a year. It's fine and fun (when not sitting in traffic). I have an automatic. I can't imagine trying to tackle that hill at La Cienega and Sunset with a stick. I slide backwards with an automatic. Maybe next time, if the rental car company has them, I'll get a stick. I don't want to forget how to drive one after spending all that money at the L'Autoscuola.
I miss Rome.
Air France has great service.
Going through U.S. Customs was interesting. Very intense. We had to put all our bags on the ground so the cute security dog (a beagle) could sniff them. I was asked a bunch of questions. The officers were friendly but for foreign visitors it must be a pain to have to get your fingerprints scanned, etc.
The mood of the electorate is beyond angry. The mid-term elections are going to be brutal.
There's a lot of Spanish spoke in Los Angeles. Thanks to learning Italian I can understand some of it.
I met a black security guard named O.J. I feel bad for brotherman.
Century City Mall, not as amazing as Short Hills (Jersey for the win) but it's a darn good mall.
All the leaf blowers, that sound is so L.A. to me.
Trying not to have a panic attack about my career. Could I move back? I have a lot to think about on this trip.