Venice Beach, the famous Venice Beach, where the body builders really do just oil up to flex and stand around, the market stalls sell weed under the table, the rollerblader’s skate around in their underwear, the skateboarders are jibbing everything and the local entertainment is endless. Sinking back a few Coronas I attempted to figure out a way to the staples centre, after talking to a few locals I discovered it wasn’t as simple as I first thought..
I boarded the first bus.
“You wanna sit right behind and don’t move or talk to anyone ya hear me?”
I was a little confused at the warning…. for about 5 mins. What I didn’t realize is the suburbs the bus passed through were some of the most dangerous in Los Angeles… Without sounding racists we the only Caucasians on the bus. The first bus ride was full of young males causing a bit of ruckus; swearing and pushing each other around, the driver didn’t flinch, obviously this was normal. There were people yelling absurdities making no sense at all, clearly high on what I’m guessing was crack… we came to a bus depot, where we were to change buses.
‘You wait here for your bus okay, do not move, do not get on any other”
The next bus pulled up and I approached the driver to ask him if this was the right bus, he asked me where we were going. In response he through his head back in a laugh and for the second time today.
“Right here, right behind me, eyes to the front and they shouldn’t bother you”
At this stage I didn’t realize what all the fuss was about the last bus ride wasn’t so bad…
First stop on comes two ladies trying to lift a trolley on the bus.
“Sorry mam, that trolley cannot board”
I’m not entirely sure what the clearly cat loving ladies were saying but next minute they are ramming the bus and yelling, throwing their grocery bags at the driver. The driver without a second glance closes the doors and continues the journey, the ladies still chasing and hitting the bus. The next passenger boards quietly in a normal manner, bopping to the music of his head phones… we make eye contact.
“you guys wanna buy some weed? pills I got pills too?”
Politely declining he continues on down the bus offering his services.
Next stop; an extremely fragile, but not so old woman is trying to step onto the bus, after a few shaken attempts she steps onboard. I’d like to think her weakness and skeleton draped body was linked to malnutrition… Buuuuut I’m going to say it’s more like a heroin addiction. She sweeps onto the bus walking straight past paying the driver.
“Put it on the tab”
“Lady you ain’t got no tab, there are no tabs”
“Yeah well, watcha gonna do about it”
The lady then takes a seat, the driver muttering around his breath does nothing. Shortly after the lady has taken her seat, another woman, extremely boisterous, squeezes beside her. The loud woman was on her phone, she was speaking like she was fresh outta Compton.. oh that may be because we are in Compton…
“oh hell no, you tell that bi-atch that he your man” (not a word of a lie here)
“does she know who you are?! We gonna smash her teeth out”
The conversation continued much the same, become more aggressing with arms beginning to flail. Not to much surprise she strikes the lady beside her, and carries on without a worry. Miss quiet and fragile suddenly pipes up with her hand bag and starts smacking the woman, the two ladies break loose.
Still the driver continues like nothing is out of the ordinary.
The men on the bus are trying to separate them, and finally after a few good bitch slaps, they are torn apart. The bus starts to slow down and stops at the next corner, the large boisterous woman gets shoved out the door and the driver quickly drives off as if he knew this is what the plan would be. The mouse like skelton mutters some good riddances under her breath and the journey continues.
I was watching an active map on my phone and thought that I was coming close to my stop, I stood up to approach the driver and he very quickly and strongly reminded me that I should not be drawing attention to myself and sit back down until he tells me otherwise.
“I’ll be making a special stop for you”
And sure enough as the Staples Centre came into site, he pulled over so we only had to cross the road. I pulled a tiny little koala out of my pocket and put it on his coin desk, ( I always travel with these koalas to give for gifts) I jumped off the bus and looked back at him. The driver looked very confused and was looking the koala up and down, I have at him and yelled thanks. Next thing I saw was this beautiful glowing white smile rising up waving vigorously, it’s a pretty magical thing to watch happiness reveal itself in front of you.
We had made it to the Staples Centre.