I want to remember how my stomach was turning before I boarded an airplane for the first time, but how hungry I was when we landed; the burrito from Brite Spot with hashbrowns on the inside; Chinese checkerboards on the wall; the nap I only half took that first day; Echo Park the neighbourhood; Echo Park the park; the familiar lake under unfamiliar palm trees; the men waiting for work on street corners; the men fixing cars on the side of the road; Benjamin Button under the Dome; celebrities in the concession line; that everywhere you go in LA is a road trip; Solvang, two hours north and nothing like California at all, except for the tourists, the Franciscan mission, and the sun bright enough to blind; a damn good pretzel; typical California at the end of a foggy pier; New Year’s Eve; feeling monumentally lost; Madonnas in gardens; dogs behind every fence; sushi; brunch; the pier, the ocean, the beach in January; the fancy parts of town; the good parts of Atlantis; lasagne; Animal Crossing; the tail end of the farmer’s market, but enough time to find a new band, a nice cheese, and the Pupusa; that when you start with good produce, you get a good photograph; The Getty, and only a fraction; how I could have spent the whole day running my hand over the stone, tracing the white curves against the blue sky, watching the sun come down from high above the city, never stepped inside an exhibit, and it would have been worth the wait for the tram ride up; Carleton Watkins’s 19th C mammoth photographs, his California split-panoramas, and the tools of the Gold Rush as still life; a Bacchus and Ariadne so blue I can’t imagine what it cost to paint; a woman in a Yosemite kerchief photographed in Yosemite Park; how long I stood in front of “Lot and his Daughters” before I saw his wife; being stuck on a local bus and hitting every light on the way back; the Echo Park Time Travel Mart; that it isn’t a one-note gag; that the books are kept with the robot milk; that the eggs under the EGGS sign are incubating dinosaurs; the doughnuts are from 1965; a caveman needs a new roommate; no Morlocks are allowed; another fictional shopping centre, but the signs here say Nike; what a genuine American hamburger tastes like; finally making it to Hollywood Boulevard to do the tourist thing; stars and hands and fake Chinese architecture; fish tacos next to a laundromat; the Grammy Museum; the Pete Seeger banjo, which surrounds hate and forces it to surrender; a Woody Guthrie guitar, and maybe the last one; that real things can survive this world; the stencils on the sidewalk in Silverlake; the poetry on the walls for Elliott Smith; the Chinatown that looks like a film; the earthquake I didn’t feel in the basement at MOCA; more fish tacos; a persistent Mariachi; breaking my no-restaurant-twice rule for Brite Spot, because it was lunch, then deciding I wanted pancakes; wormhole conditions are apoplectic today; fried chicken and waffles; churros at the drive-thru; flying out at night and seeing the lights of Los Angeles; the snow on the ground when I got home and looking for the sun;