The day started with getting to JFK’s Terminal 5 to get on a JetBlue Flight for Los Angeles. New York was dark grey and it was raining. Our Uber chauffeur said that the city was shedding tears because Akanksha and I were leaving the city. The chauffeur’s name was Luxio – he is from Haiti and I lost count of the number of “Ouch!” exclamations he made when we told him how long our flight from NYC to Delhi was going to be. It was an interesting conversation for me because he repeatedly said things to the tune of, “America needs talent, you should come back to America. Move here.” If I had to move some place, I don’t think America would be my first choice at any level.
Living in New York for 30 days, it felt like home. It didn’t feel like I was in a different country or that life was any different from what it is when I’m living in India. There are differences of course but I’ve travelled enough to now feel like I’m a citizen of the world. I doubt there’s any place on the planet where I would feel “out of place”. Even if I moved there long-term.
I got to the airport, stood in the queue outside the JetBlue terminal, was billed $64 for two bags I’d be checking in and then I was in. TSA was a piece of cake. I went into the scanner ( after a security person reminded me to take off my shoes – I had no idea I was supposed to do that as well ) and a big “OK” sign displayed on the screen of the scanner’s computer. I repacked my bag and then looked around for a seat where I could grab some breakfast. Dunkin Donuts was closest to Gate no. 27 and they had an omelette option AND they had beer.
I was flying domestic in America for the first time and didn’t know what to expect. When I got onto the plane, I noticed that at least two of the staff were cheerfully noticeable. Heather and Sandra. I decided I liked Jetblue. As it turned out by the end of the flight, it was a good decision. It was a five hour flight – flying back in time a bit. I discovered naturally occurring blue / purple potato chips, had lots of black coffee and the seat adjacent to mine was not taken! Yay! There was WiFi and I looked down at the topography as the plane flew across the country from one coast to another and thought that there was enough space here to accommodate a LOT of refugees.
Before I knew it, we were above Los Angeles. It looked way more spread out that New York ( although there’s a lot more to NY than just Manhattan – but in this instance I’m comparing Manhattan to LA ). I snapped a selfie with Sandra and went to collect my luggage. Spotting a couple of Hollywood actors ( Amber Valletta ) on my way too. The weather in LA is cool, the sky was a beautiful blue and the sun was bright, shiny and hot. I got onto my Super Shuttle with six additional passengers and we were on our way. One of the passengers asked me, “What do you have in that bag of yours? Rocks?” I wanted to sock him and then make him carry it for me but that’s another rant for another day. Shit gets heavy when you’re a photographer AND an influencer and you need to carry your laptop as well. Grrr.
I’m happy to be in Los Angeles. Coming to America for the first time and getting to spend time in not one but TWO iconic cities! Whoa! The typeface on the street signs is fabulous – it’s been a while since I’ve really worked on any typography, so I can’t recognize the typeface but I do recognize that it is well done. And what’s with all the Palm Trees in Los Angeles?! There’s everywhere! For some reason, during the entire drive, Los Angeles gave me a very distinct “Dubai” vibe. Even though I’ve only been to Dubai at night – for eight hours – for some reason ( maybe the Palm Trees?) I kept thinking “Hey! This looks like Dubai!”
We dropped off four of the passengers to Inglewood. It turned out they were sisters. While leaving the Super Shuttle van, one of them remarked, “Don’t ever go for a trip with your sisters. MADNESS!” Heh. I’d just bade goodbye to MY sister at NYC as she headed back home to India and I already missed her terribly. But I was also looking forward to a week my myself. Go figure.
There is so much traffic in LA! Even though we were driving around much before peak office traffic hours, there were still too many cars on the road. A whole lot more than what I’d seen in New York. A whole different vibe for sure. The chauffeur of the super Shuttle commented that this is how it always is in LA. “No one uses the public transport because the public transport doesn’t go everywhere. So everyone needs cars. Hence traffic. Oh but if you do get onto public transport, that’s going to be packed an busy as well.” I told him that while it was nowhere close to the mad traffic in Delhi, it was definitely giving off a bit of that vibe. Lots of people on motorcycles too. And all those American Muscle cars?! Yummy.
I’m staying at the Residence Inn LA Live by Marriott courtesy Adobe and I’m here for the Adobe Max 2015 Creativity Conference. I’m here a few days earlier than everyone else of course and maybe I’ll get to see a bit of the city while everyone else arrives. Sandra – the JetBlue hostess – mentioned that the Residence Inn had suites and that each had a small kitchenette. So when I checked in, I asked Maya at the desk where the closest grocery store is and it’s just one block away! I’m stocked on beer and peanuts and lemon and a couple of cans of peas and garbanzo beans. And Maya upgraded me to a room with a king size bed AND a fabulous view to boot. Check it out!
Goodnight from Los Angeles!
Follow along for updates from the Adobe Max 2015 Creativity Conference. I’m one of the APAC MAX Insiders this year.