N and I are back in LA now. The contrast between the serene beauty of Seattle and the constant barrage of Los Angeles became noticeable as soon as we stepped into baggage claim. At first I thought an angry mob had come for us.
At first panic set in. From left to right of my peripheral vision and all the way to the sliding doors was a mass of people. Yelling, waving papers and gesturing in random unfocused directions, they made me want to run back through the "no return point". A small pathway to the exit opened and closed like the walls of an artery, as the mob pushed in and retreated back. Fellow de-planers complicated the scene, crossing wildly and with little warning. Then my well honed LA instincts kicked in. I took a breath and made a beeline for the door as if the crowd would eat me alive if I moved too slowly. I didn't dare look back to make sure N followed and made it through, but luckily he appeared by me side as we escaped through the doors.
Not that things got much better. We still had to catch the bus to long term parking. For those of you unfamiliar with the bedlam of the LAX arrival level, you may want to sleep with the lights on for a few nights after reading this. People are forced to wait for a bus on a 15 foot narrow strip of sidewalk. On both sides cars, tour buses and all other vehicles you can imagine barrel past as fast as they possibly can. Some point their car at the spot you are standing as they floor it only to turn right before they would jump the curb, taking you and 10 of your fellow human beings with them (from both sides remember). You stand there a mix of the anxiety of cornered prey and the calm irritation of prima-donnas.
Three buses came and went, too full to take anyone from our stop. When an available bus finally came, it stopped 50 feet short and drop off its load. Threatening to leave it made everyone run the distance to catch it. On board people jostled and pushed to stake a spot. Luckily both of us were able to carve a space. I'm still not entirely sure if N would have left me and I don't think I would have blamed him.....
But now we're home and re-steeling ourselves for LA life. I plan to post thank-you's to all my gracious hosts once I stop clicking my heels together and realize I AM home. :)