Friday, February 02, 2007

LAX There and Gone

Flew to LA this week on business, back to America, that strange country where, if you pay someone to have sex in a public place, video it, and slap a name on it, it's called porn and it's perfectly legal, but if you pay someone to have sex in private, and don't film it, it's called prostitution and it's completely illegal. And to think economists treat humans as rational choice makers.....

I spent the week hanging out in Westwood, near the Hammer Museum and UCLA. Everything was so...orderly. I noticed after a few hours of walking around that the only person jaywalking was me. Not a vendor in sight. Everyone stopped at the red lights. All the pedestrians were on the sidewalks. No cops out directing traffic -- I even saw a police car make a stop on a moving violation -- three times! And it was spotlessly clean. It was like I was in another country or something. Culture shock. I found myself looking for people speaking Chinese so I could feel comfortable again....

I actually visited the Hammer Museum, where I saw Moreau's Salome Dancing Before Herod and fell madly in love, like the time I saw my first Jun ware or heard my first Pink Floyd song. I wasn't all that impressed with some of the other works, especially the contemporary stuff, but the two Moreau pieces there make everything worthwhile, and the photography was wonderful. If you're in the area, it's definitely worth a stop. Went down to Ocean Blvd and walked around the expensive shopping areas there. Realized I'm so dated; I still think game store means a place where you can buy D&D stuff or Third Reich, not Xbox and PC games.

I meant some wonderful people and had some very interesting experiences, but the funniest Taiwan-related experience was actually the ride back to the airport. There I met a taxi driver from Ghana, who turned out to have been a factory laborer in Chungli between 1988 and 1992. He still remembered all the political stuff too, knew his Hau Pei-tsun from his Lee Tung-hui, and recalled his employers with great fondness. He was really a kick.

Anyway, apologies for the long blogging hiatus. I'm hoping to get my website back on line soon, and get to work on the long list of posts I have in draft.

1 comment:

nancy said...

Have you been to the San Gabriel Valley in LA? Specifically Monterey Park, Alhambra, Arcadia, etc? HUGE chinese community there. Lots and lots of asians for you to talk to. :)