I woke up and went for a quick workout at this extremely nice park near B-Reil's house. We woke up late and got started late but it wasn't really late per se. Everything happened right at the perfect time (a reoccurring theme on this trip).
Turns out she was a stripper in LA. Not exactly what we had in mind, but it made for interesting conversation. Very interesting conversation. They had apparently seen Kyle and B-Reil and they made faces at each other until the girls gave them their number and said to call. Kyle told them that we were celebrating my graduation and she had said "Well lets give him a graduation present." How kind. For the rest of the ride they kept trying to get us to come to their strip club and we kept trying to get them to come to the beach. We kept the conversation (via a mix of calls, texts, and pantomiming) going until all of a sudden we were in LA.
California is a magical place. You can tell when you're in California somehow. I don't know if it was the sudden release of endorphins, the absolutely perfect weather, or some kind of surfer zen wafting through the very air itself, but everything seemed lighter and more manageable, like my cares were suddenly this abstract concept floating somewhere "up there."
There's something about the Ocean... some primal connection I feel to it deep in my soul. If I had lived anytime pre-1800's, I would have been a sailor, no question. When I saw the ocean I just sighed and realized that if the trip ended now, it would have been worth it. Lucky for me it was just starting.
The sand... oh em gee. The beach (Manhattan Beach), the water... I touched the Pacific Ocean. We bodyboarded through the waves and got owned by them. I had forgotten how powerful the ocean is till I tried to beat the oncoming waves and got pushed back 15 yards for every 5 yards I went forward.
We were there for a couple hours, but it was getting late so we took off for McArthur AFB and checked into our kush little unit for a whopping FORTY DOLLARS. I realized how much like an exclusive club the military is. They have all these deals and benefits but only if you're a member. Granted that you earn them rather than buying or being born in, but still. Fortunately for us we got lost on the way. We turned the wrong corner and all of a sudden the sun was there, setting just above the water. I had talked about how I wanted to see the sunset in the west and rise in the east, and this was the perfect sunset picture. I couldn't believe it. What are the odds?
We checked in and unloaded quickly. After getting dressed, we wanted to hit the town but it was already late and we couldn't agree what to do so we drove around aimlessly for a while. B-Reil was starving so we started looking for a place. Problem was, we were on the very southern tip of the city, far removed from anything commercial and the base was literally ten housing units/buildings and a parade field - no food court.
We drove around FOREVER but got a good look at how huge the dock operations are. Geez there are a lot of docks and berths for commercial ships. We finally ended up right next to this diner that was (coincidentally) recommended to us by my friend Victor Calderon. We munched and peaced out only to find that we were right next door to our stripper friend's club. What. Are. The. Odds. We were tripping out. We texted the girls and were like, "is this it? We didn't see you" as if we had went in. I don't think they bought it.
We stood outside the club debating what to do. We had one for, one against, and one abstaining on the motion to go into the club and help our friend out of that lifestyle. There were compelling arguments all around, but in the absence of a quorum, you do nothing. So we piled into the car and took off in search of another adventure but ultimately were too tired to do anything else. Plus it was like midnight or later anyhow. So we turned in, I wrote my first blog post, and we planned the next day. And with that, our first day in LA came to a close.
Our first day in glorious LA.