Caitlyn picked me up in Phoenix and it was on. It was well after dinnertime, but we found ourselves at a posh little place called The Gladly. As if the clean decor and rocking playlist weren't satisfying enough, the late night food and drinks were to die for.
And so we revolted. All the way to the beach.
We rolled into San Diego just in time to get the deservedly recommended bloodies at The Green Flash, a cute restaurant that has maintained its family-owned appeal on Pacific Beach. After a little sustenance, we dipped our bodies in the ocean and the sand, slept in the sun, and reveled in the humility of being at the edge of the earth. We headed to Ocean Beach to meet an old friend of mine, just in time to drink gin and wheat grass as we watched the sun slip behind the watery horizon.
The first stop was East LA where Caitlyn's friend Ernesto Yerena and other artists have an amazing warehouse space. We got to see his collection of social work, including a special Red Bull label celebrating Latino culture, and watch him making some sweet block prints that were on their way to SF. He's incredibly talented with a wonderful spirit, and has impeccable taste in music. Plus I learned a new word: ganas. It means gumption, and seemed fitting.
I was getting messages from a childhood friend who'd moved to Los Angeles in October. We were giddy with excitement about seeing each other. Tyler offered his place to stay for anybody who wanted it, and we all slowed down a little bit. Adrian and Caitlyn and I walked around in the sunshine, strategizing the evening, and stopped to watch a hummingbird die. We felt a sadness for the bird but couldn't deny our own sense of life. I stood on a sidewalk with two of the very few people who I can hang with every single day, and decided that spontaneously landing in LA for a couple of days would be perfect.
I woke up feeling fresh and in love with Hollywood, especially because I was seeing the Hollywood that Hollywood doesn't show you. Tuesday morning was dedicated to a leisurely and delectable Caribbean breakfast at Cha Cha Cha, followed by the laziest of lovely days at Venice Beach. Caitlyn saw another friend while Adrian and I drove to Long Beach for mouth watering crepes with Dana, a friend I used to know in Philly. Honestly, every little city within LA has such a cool flavor. I'm glad I saw what I saw, and I want to see more. The day was warm and overcast and the beach was empty and there was music on the boardwalk and Santa Monica seemed like heaven and it was one of those days that made me wonder how people get to where they are, how they find the things that are good, how I was so lucky to be there.
We arrived in Flagstaff with enough time to get huge cups of chai and visit Caitlyn's friend Alma for one last glass of wine. Alma is an amazing artist who let me try on an amazingly beautiful native necklace. It was gorgeous and felt grounding, something I probably needed before taking flight. I dumped some postcards into a mailbox and got yummy Thai takeout on my way to a shuttle that would take me to the Phoenix airport. Caitlyn and I hugged, thankful for the rushed goodbye. Lingering would have made it harder, and the end of the trip didn't need to be any less forward moving than the rest of it.
Next time we'll revel in the strange, comfortable beauty of knowing even less about the world.