Saturday, January 06, 2018

a series of unfortunate events

Concerning the previous post on Cambodia, that entry isn’t entirely true. Kind of jumped the gun. Allow me to explain…
On the second of January, packed and rarin’ to go, I crawled out of bed at 3am strictly from insomnia in my guesthouse room in Tijuana to jump the border and catch a Greyhound bus toward downtown Los Angeles. A few months prior, I had purchased an airline ticket to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. A year of planning and waiting was about to finally come into fruition - travelling through Asia and writing about it from my own point of view.
Crossing the border went without a hitch in lieu of the big ass suitcase overstuffed with my sordid possessions. A simple and quiet trip, I even dozed off which was uncanny for the reason I retain a long history of being unable to sleep on a moving vehicle. (I am forever paranoid they are going to crash)
Two hours later, I arrived at the Greyhound station in downtown Los Angeles just shy the fucking crack of dawn, the hobos hadn’t even awoke to brush their teeth yet. Via the internet, I googled the quickest way from the Greyhound to Union Station. I had to connect with FlyWays, a bus route from the Station to LAX. Easy peasy, I thought. A certain site stated it was a short jaunt down Alameda and should take one no more than fifteen minutes. This is where the entire ordeal began to unravel – it was not a short walk. I dragged my suitcase over shattered, soot embedded garbage lined sidewalks between melancholy derelict warehouses in desperation because the ten minute jaunt turned into a forty minute slog. It was a long distance! I overstepped bewildered hobos glaring at me wondering why this red-faced, sweaty white boy was briskly stomping down the street howling obscenities toward an uncaring, over cast sky. Oh, how I cursed and cursed.
Eventually making it to Union Station, I shot toward the FlyWays kiosk, purchased a ticket – with a twenty dollar bill and was returned a fistful of dollar coins. Useless. No change house in Cambodia would accept them, I was certain. I jumped on the bus and was hoping I still had time – the flight left at 11:30am for Phnom Penh and it was still only 9:45. I calmed myself by mentally re-enacting an old Hollywood movie scene of sprinting down the runway, jumping in front of the plane, arms flailing. They stop, let me board, we all laugh, clinking martinis with fellow passengers.
The realization was, I arrived at LAX and, attempting to locate China Eastern airlines, flitted around aimlessly through a colossal, bustling throng of tired people. All queues, even for the information kiosk, was one hundred people deep. Sigh. Out of pure luck, I found my flight and the line was not only twenty people waiting ahead but moved at a steady pace. I approached the flight attendant and as soon as she snatched my passport, she informed me the loading gate was closed ten minutes prior.
I snapped. Internally. Externally, I remained my cold, unfazed, dead to everything self. Inside, a million voices screamed and howled, I became dizzy, and as the flight attendant attempted to get my attention – her nasal voice faded in and out unintelligible at first drowned by the sound of arching electricity – I managed to simply mutter, “Okay.” She asked me to go and sit in the Loser Corner, a set of raggedy seats off to the side, as she stated she will attempt to locate an alternative route. I sat there, staring at the large clock on the wall: 10:55. I glanced out the huge plate glass window, a jet lay idling with the China Eastern logo. After a fifteen minute wait, the attendant clopped over to me and offered a later flight that evening...for $680.
It took a monumental effort to remain civil. I asked in a controlled, monotone voice, “Let me get this straight…you won’t allow me on my flight, the flight I previously purchased, and now you’re offering me an alternative flight and I have to pay…again? Full price?”
“Yes.” She beamed.
Visions of smashing her skull in with the chrome barrier bar next to me flashed through my head.
I simply stated, “No.”
I guess she glimpsed the torment of rage boiling in my eyes because she kept glancing over toward her right. I did too and noticed two LAX security brandishing semi-automatic rifles idling next to an exit. No need to be a drama queen, I concluded – you won this round, China Eastern Airlines – but I damn thee….I damn thee! Hunched over in contempt, hands wringing, I slithered out of the terminal….suitcase wheel squeaking…
I stood outside the airport for what seemed like hours chain-smoking and pondering my next move. I was literally exhausted. I considered remaining in Los Angeles, returning to my roots, renting an apartment, looking up old friends…fuck that. I made my way back to the Greyhound to purchase a return ticket to San Diego. It was one o’clock in the afternoon and I was ready to go home. Fuck this trip.
Hahahaha! Fuck you, too!, cackled Fate.
The next available bus to San Diego was 5:30 the following morning, all previous lines were booked. Of course, they were. I mean…why not? So, for the next fucking day and night, I sat around with the weirdos and perverts and crazy ass fuckers who haunt these hallowed locales. I was constantly accosted with requests for money or cigarettes. Outside, every con man approached me and attempted to pawn on me the most inane, useless merchandise. Do people actually fall for their shit? Amazing.
Haggard, delirious from lack of sleep, ass sore and raw from both the metal benches at the bus terminal and the incident with China Eastern airlines, I finally boarded my bus and slinked back down toward the international border. Blurry-eyed and dangerous, I returned to the guesthouse to rent a room. They were full. Sigh. Slept in a comfortable, clean hotel before renting a room in another guesthouse I knew of, this one a bit seedier and located above a hooker bar and a questionable massage parlor.
Subsequently, here I sit, typing these words out at a corner café in downtown Tijuana bitter and mired in astute depression. I literally do not know what to do. Well, that is not entirely true – I know what I want and the fragmented hopes of attaining it. I am inexplicably mired in disillusioned depression over this misguided ordeal. An entire year of planning and waiting flushed down a shitty toilet. The immediate plan? To relax for a month and clear my head. To somehow figure out a way to attain the stability that I so desperately and secretly desire…

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