Sunday morning 6:15 and I am awake…on a Sunday morning!!! I guess this is what I had to expect. After a total of 15 hours traveling, interrupted airplane sleep and having lived for 3 weeks with a 9 hours time difference the messed up sleeping pattern does not come as a surprise. Which means tomorrow at work I can make a great impression with being there even earlier than usual and pretend it is because I was so much looking forward to going back!
Preparing my journeys is something I love, even if during the holiday my plans have to be rethought and adaption is needed. Living new experiences in different countries is fantastic and even greater when sharing them with loved ones. And remembering all the places you have seen, the people you have met, the new stuff you have learned and the things that astonished you is the lasting part of traveling. Writing about it makes it last even longer and multiplies the pleasure.
I’ll have a few posts to prepare these coming weeks. A three weeks holiday in the USA gives you a lot of material to write about and writing it all down makes you remember even tiny details that you might have forgotten otherwise as you have seen so many new things daily!
So this is just the intro. I have been to the States before but only short and for work reasons. I want to point out the very, very first impression I had of this country this time, actually mainly of California. We got this very first, big impression in Los Angeles and it was reconfirmed in San Francisco: What a friendly, smiling bunch of people.
I first “blamed” my t-shirt that got a lot of reactions walking down the first day on Venice Beach Boulevard, but then I realized the smiles, the compliments for my red boots, Music Fan travel companion’s hat, Manga/Japan fan travel companion’s long board kept on, to only mention a few.
Californians are extremely helpful. And talkative, which made me feel really good. Life is so much nicer when people, even strangers, talk to each other. Staff working in shops and restaurants could be suspected to do the talking for the tips and commissions they hope for. But this phenomena was not narrowed down to this group of people. It seems that this lovely disease of talkativeness and friendliness is very widespread in California.
From the walkers-by on the streets with their smiles and little words, to the lovely couple at the communal table at Gjelina’s who gave us great tips for our trip (thanks Robert for deodorant tip for the canyons, very needed indeed; James we unfortunately did not make it to Sedona), over the homeless person telling us about his ex-wife’s family being from Uitikon Switzerland (and we only gave him a couple of dollars), to the guy giving his opinion about the donuts we wondered to get for breakfast (also pointing out a great bakery and finding out at the same time that we both used to work for the same company years ago…all this in 10 minutes) and to the numerous persons in the streets coming up to ask if we needed help when we were standing there with our map… The French designer approaching me on the beach who told me “that he became a millionaire in 5 years in L.A.” does only count partially (he had second thoughts and when his pick up line did not work with me he said I could feel flattered to have such a young guy chatting me up, well…). But in general it just went on and on with people coming to talk to us and it was one of the best things to discover during this trip.
The only exceptions can be found in San Francisco: the MUNI bus drivers and the Chinese shop owners in Chinatown are the only ones who seem immune to this Californian disease.