Along Venice Beach I visit Muscle Beach. I see an elderly woman in an alarmingly small sagging bikini, a Venetian carnival mask with Cyrano nose playing an acoustic guitar and singing beneath an umbrella held in the crook of her arm. I pass a dog hat stall and a booth where you have your photo taken with lifesize (whatever lifesize may be) aliens.
Breakfast the next day in the restaurant opposite the Hotel Cadillac. I am transfixed by the following conversation:
Jack Nicholson-type comes in and addresses the man fixing breakfasts behind the counter:
JN type: How are you?
Man fixing breakfasts: No, how are you?
JN type: I'm......good. (Long pause.) See you've got yourself
Man fixing breakfasts: Fuck you.
JN type: Fuck you too.
(But I am naïve. it probably was JN)
In Los Angeles there is no downtown. In Los Angeles you have to have a car.
After waiting for a bus for 10 minutes I step onto an air conditioned 33 bearing the legend DOWNTOWN.
OK, so it took me an hour and a half but it was all worth it. OK I had to share the bus with the carless which in LA is tantamount to travelling with the decamisados. After about ten miles I am Downtown, although I have for most of the journey been haunted by glimpses of the knot of skyscrapers that belatedly, in its history, became Downtown.