28th of January, 2012
HUGE day in LA. Oh my Gawwwwwdddddd! Time to find me a new home.
My dear friend Frankie very kindly offers to be my driver and wing woman for the day. Little do I realise what a God send she’ll be! As we traverse LA in it’s near entirety, encountering in every port of call a new story and massive education in the share house market, I feel more and more grateful to have a compadre by my side.
We head to our first stop in Hollywood to meet with Dana. The first impressions of this potential home are not looking good; unless it’s a half way house you’re after. As I look down the drive way I realise the Californian bungalows so charmingly described on Craigs List are surrounded by filth, a dumpster and shopping trolleys laden with dirty blankets and plastic bagged personal items used by the homeless as mobile homes. I’m sure she said a lawyer lived here?! The bungalows of which there are 3 are an absolute disaster; they look hurricane ravaged and derelict. A loud voice diverts our attention. ‘Miss Aussstralliaaaa!’. Here is she is – our friendly host Dana with a scabbed up, half beaten and bloated face, wearing a ripped guns and roses t-shirt. ‘Come on in!’ she cries. Two steps into this place, one glance at the rusty cess pit of a kitchen and we have to get out. I don’t know why or how we even made it this far. ‘I’m so sorry but this is NOT what I am looking for’. ‘OK, nooo problem’. She seems to vanish into a side room, or perhaps down a trap door as we rapidly step back into the driveway. Frankie and I quietly roll our eyes, until we’re in the safety of her car to momentarily ponder what the hell was that?!!!! Acceleration station and we are hooning up the street.
We navigate our way to a lovely looking house in the heart of Hollywood. I meet Nate who’s not long in from the airport having picked up his wife and kids from the airport. They’ve just returned from visiting relatives in Japan. He’s a musician and knows Australia well. He casually drops into conversation he’s been out there a lot to see his old friend Kate Cebrano. I take a look around, but despite his charm, the location and nice house, it doesn’t work. I’d be living with 8 people in total. Him, his wife and two adorable kids occupying the upstairs, and 4 random people, whom I didn’t meet, living downstairs in tiny bedrooms. There’s a pokey kitchen and dark communal living room. I start to think I’m never going to find something quite right.
We enjoy a sumptuous feast and ginormous iced coffee, whilst contemplating the local fashion. Between a beige bandana worn as a sweat band and a man in a two piece matching camel faux suede suit with geometric patterning cut from its breast piece, I don’t know where to look. It’s like an early 90’s flash back. Later Frankie comes out with a magnificent quote; ‘LA is the place where fashion comes to die’. I wish I had photos to bear witness.
We head on to the next meet, north to Sherman Oaks (north LA). It’s a good location in terms of being near the studios (because of course I will be required to work there sooner rather than later), but it’s just a little bit away from all the action. I meet with Kelly, who seems normal. We climb the stairs of her apartment and there’s a plastic hospital like screen covering off an area and a sign that says Keep Out. I assume there are renovations or something of the sort going on, so I ask. Kelly responds that behind the curtain is where she lives! A la Wizard of Oz! She shows me the room. There are views of the majestic LA mountains, it’s an ok size, so I ask to see the kitchen. ‘Oh no, there’s no kitchen, one of the last tenants burnt it down’ she says. ‘But you’ve got a microwave right there sweetie’. I let her know that I like cooking and a kitchen is important, to which she seems put out. ‘Most of the people who live here are on the go. You can get ready meals from Trader Joes up the road’.
We’re back in the car and heading to Korea town (East LA). An area that’s fast becoming the new place to be with cheaper rent, great Korean bbq restaurants and close to the vibing Down town district. I meet Chris who writes recipes for a living. The house smells like cat piss of which he owns two and is extremely grotty. He’s a cool enough guy, but the gobs of hair in the bath tub make me quietly retch and the black near burn marks all over the carpet doesn’t really do it for me.
I feel deflated. I feel like my criteria is somehow too demanding. I want for too much. The right price, right area, cool people, a little outdoor space to flap my wings, transport near by….is that too much to ask for?!
We head to Frankie’s mate Sam’s house. Her and her bf have recently moved into a 1920’s Chateau style apartment block. There are a number of these stunning buildings dotted round LA with divine courtyards and artsy boho vibes.
We have some tea and chats. It’s a necessary breather in a mammoth day. So many thoughts are whirling round my head. What to do, what to do???
We head home and decide on a little unwind time at a nail spa just around the corner. There are two in one block ( not uncommon I discover, nail spas are everywhere). We take our pick and very gratefully kick back with feet soaking in hot bubbling water, magazines in hand and start the massage option on our reclining lounges. Ahhhh, bliss.
With toe and fingernails painted and recent celeb goss caught up on; we head home for a little down time before heading to a local bar called Winstons. It’s rammed, sweaty and big banging hip hop tunes fill the space. The crowd sings along to tunes I’ve never heard before, booties drop, hands wave in the air, couples gyrate. I’m dazed. The wicked illustrations on the wall catch my eye. I quietly take it all in. A beer or two later, I’m busting out power moves, taking it to the floor and back up again.Then it’s 2am and home time. Hallejuah, this gal is ready for bed! It’s been one seriously long day.