The City of Angels. Population 4 million. A solitary, hungry traveller finds herself walking the streets of downtown Los Angeles in search of sustenance. The struggle was real. This is her story.
After two months of drinking Ayahuasca in the jungles of South America I found myself mysteriously summoned to Los Angeles by the universe, almost penniless and with no particular plan in mind other than to get there and let nature do its thing. Ok wait, I did land a house/pet sitting gig in Oceanside for the first few days in Cali, which was great since I didn’t have money for accommodation, and I had an offer of a friend’s live/work space to crash in for a week or so, but when you’re doing all of that with the knowledge that you are on your last $100 with no cosy job waiting for you back home things play out a little differently in the old upstairs if you know what I mean.
In stead of solid funding though, I had an unshakeable sense of inner peace and an abyss of gratitude for being able to be where I was at that point, free from all the stress and conflict I had created for myself in my ‘past life’, fit, healthy and the incredible satisfaction that came with knowing you are on the right path. So with all these things, it was easy to enjoy LA the way that paying tourists would. Every day I walked the gritty streets. This was free. I got lost and stumbled upon fantastic street art, also free. The one week offer for lodging from the beautiful new friend I had made a few months before in the jungle turned into four weeks, his hospitality – free (on the odd occasion I reciprocated with Giorgi Porgi’s industrial grade strength coffee – that stuff is lethal! – and Big Man Bakes mini muffins from the muffin shop next to the ground floor entrance of his building, although one day I will return his gracious hospitality properly and in full).
Admittedly, my biggest expense was food (and Target, the friendly underwear store for the needy traveller). The slumbering foodie in me somehow justified the weekly purchase of ingredients at Whole Foods Market and whatever dish I concocted from it was savoured (and then devoured!) as if it was the single most exciting excursion on a Caribbean cruise holiday.
Oh, the eats! I was introduced to a few low-budget gems too, which is basically every food kiosk at Grand Central Market (if you’re into eggs the Signature Slut at Egg Slut will blow your mind! I said ‘mind’…), also do make your own double thick milkshake from the different flavours of ice cream at McConnell’s (my favourite was chocolate almond brittle and strawberry! I know!).
Incidentally, the ice cream (and other goodies) at Manhattan Beach Creamery are worth the train ride and the beach of course also helps – that sunset will break will your heart in the best way possible.
Before you leave the city for your next adventure, and this one is particularly sweet if done on your last night in LA, sink your molars into a GRILLED CHEESE AND LOBSTER GRILLED SANDWICH (capital letters, baby!) at LA Cafe. Go late at night, get it served at one of the tables outside, check your troubles and food guilt at the door and get stuck into the grease. You deserve this. Next best if they’re all out is The Original Gyros Fry Madness (does exactly what it says on the tin and so much more…) from Springtime in New York (they also serve fried sweet potatoes with Nutella and diced strawberries, so there).
If I could have stayed on in LA, I would have. I had some options, and got into some weird and interesting situations with some unique characters, but ultimately I had to make a call about the budget issue and decided to go back to South Africa to regroup and plan my life a little from a family member’s couch. It’s as if I started missing LA the minute my feet hit the concrete those first few days, Apple Music tuning me into different moods, it felt in a way as if I was being given a quick intro to a place that I would definitely be coming back to at some point in the future. I know that I will.
On that note and acutely aware that I’ve chucked proper sentence structure and punctuation out the window in favour of expression of my love for (addiction to?) food, let me end this post by also admitting that I was super hungry when I wrote it.