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15 October 2010

LAX to Dulles, Making My List

It has been a chilly and damp week so far in LA, but the forecast calls for sunny and warm weather all weekend on the east coast. I can't help but smile at this irony.

I'm sitting at the gate here at LAX, staying relaxed ahead of my flight. It isn't too hard to stay seated and rest, since I'm running on less than six hours sleep. I'm definitely going to get some shut-eye on this overnight flight.



My trip was planned somewhat spontaneously. I am currently of the opinion that I need to get out of LA at least once a month in order to maintain my sanity. So, with some friends of mine on the east coast, what better time than now to visit?


I have been to the east coast before, once when I was five years old, twice on trips to visit colleges, and once for a family visit. This trip, however, will be the first time I'll really get to explore east coast cities independently - no family, no tour bus, no rushed schedule (sort of). It will also be my first time visiting during autumn. I wonder if the trees have begun to change color?

I'm hoping that people on the east coast really are different from us in California. It would be great to encounter culture shock within my own country. I mean, the stereotype seems to be that people out east are more blunt, rushed, serious, and workaholic - mostly negative, but it does speak to a type of American ambition and virtue.

Anyway, back to the current. I'm sitting in a crowded waiting area at the end of Terminal 7. The flight at the next gate is departing for Sydney, and apparently it's overbooked: The flight attendant has been continuously asking--no, begging--for two people to give up their seats for a $600 travel credit. It's funny to observe. If I had the flexibility, I totally would do it. Unfortunately, on this trip, I don't really have time to spare.

The fluorescent lights and recycled air make my body feel achy and dirty, even though I showered only two hours ago. LAX is not a pleasant place to be stuck. Lots of noise, people breathing on me, and a constant nervous tension in the air. It's as if everyone is in everyone else's personal space all at once. The queue to get through security had nowhere to go but outside onto the bridge connecting to the parking structure. With only one screening station open, the line moved dreadfully slowly.

I'm ignoring what's currently around me and looking forward to what I'll be doing in a few hours: After arriving at Dulles airport at 6:45, I'll catch a Metrobus 5A to take me into the city, hopefully with enough time to drop my things off at Leslie's place before I head off and explore the city! I'm armed with a file folder of maps and reviews. The only part of DC I know is the National Mall and surrounding tourist attractions. I'm eager to see the city of DC (and of Philly).

And finally, I'm making a list. This is somewhat inspired by my friends the Hammock Brothers, and I don't know if I can actually get much of this stuff done, but it's a great way to break the ice for yourself and actually push yourself head-on into the local atmosphere of a city. So here goes...

The List
  • Convince someone I'm a local
  • Convince someone I'm a foreigner
  • Find my doppelg√§nger
  • High five 10 random people a day
  • Sneak into someplace
  • Protest something
  • Start a chant
  • Take a picture wearing someone's cool hat

We'll see what actually comes of this list. In the meantime, I've got a 5-hour flight to look forward to.

Cheers out!

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