The first weekend I was here, we watched college football and chilled out - Romesh and Jehan should win a prize for their patience in answering all my incessant questions (their team lost resulting in a period of great mourning). On the Sunday night there was a Sri Lankan Christmas Carol Services - except that all bar one were actually in English so I could follow what was going on. It concluded with a hymn for Sri Lanka which was real cool. And there was this guy who's trying to make it as a musician and he did a rap. He was good. His rapper name is Jeevo - keep an eye out for him :-)
On the Wednesday morning I went with Romesh to an AIDS/HIV summit (he had to go for work and I tagged along). It was choice to hear about the progress that they are making without the need for patented (or generic) drugs and apart from the major pharmas. The summit was aimed at addressing AIDS in LA, but the stuff they were talking about could be equally applicable in the developing world. I got lost when they started explaining how the treatment actually works (gene replacement, proteins etc are not my thing) - and we didn't stay for the whole thing. But so so cool. Had dinner at Inpam Aunty's that night. Delicious - string hoppers, chicken curry, and mutton kotthu roti. Mmmnn. It inspired me and Christine Aunty to make a cheats version of kotthu roti the next night at home using store bought tortillas - it actually tasted pretty good.
On the Thursday, I caught a ride with Christine Aunty, and then caught the metro to downtown LA. I got a day pass and spent it walking and metro-ing to get around downtown. I started off in Olvera Street, which has these awesome Mexican markets. It was too early in the morning to try any of the food places though. My favourite was the Walt Disney Concert Hall - it has amazing architecture, and the auditorium is stunning! I wish I had had enough time to see a concert there. There was also this Cathedral that had these beautiful murals on the walls of people from throughout history facing a sculpture of Jesus hanging on a cross in the middle. It was quite moving, and it felt intrusive to take photos - I tried a few from
a distance but it came out quite dark.
On Saturday, Romesh took me to Venice beach. There weren't any body builders out. Shame. It has this laxed out atmosphere and you can meet some choice people. Romesh was way more into bargaining with stall owners than me (I think his time in India and Sri Lanka helped), which is probably why he managed to buy some art for his place while I bought nothing thinking that things were too expensive. There's some pretty cool stuff there though - we managed to spend a few hours there. Then we went to Hollywood. We were starving and by the time we had found something to eat it was pretty chilly outside - the lights were pretty, but I can't say I found being in Hollywood that exciting. I did manage to find one star that was worthy. And especially for you Nosh, Rodeo. I was shaking from the cold, and I kept having to run out into the middle of the road to try take a photo when no cars were coming with Romesh serving as lookout out - so it took a few tries to get something that resembled the sign.
I spent Wednesday afternoon with Dami Aunty and Bennet Mama - they made me laugh a lot, and on Thursday evening Ahilan came for dinner. I enjoyed hearing about the cases he's working on at the moment (he works for the ACLU) and learning a bit more about the legal aid/public defender service over here.
Other than that, my time in LA has just been relaxing at home, and running errands. It's been pretty cool. And hanging with the Anketells - but more about that later.