The last few days have been amazing, I want to stay here for a few more months!
The first thing I did was pay respects to my great-grandparents, who are buried in Forest Lawn which is considered prime property for the dearly deceased. I laid flowers on both stones and attended a couple of museum talks. I watched the unveiling of The Last Supper in stained glass. The creepy part of the story was that the section with Judas Iscariot in it, broke 5 times before it was successfully completed.
The next day, I popped over to USC for a campus tour as well as to meet the good people at Annenberg for a talk. Did you know that the rivalry between UCLA and USC is so great, that people from UCLA even rented a helicopter so they could drop paint on top of USC’s mascot, Tommy Trojan (who is a warrior statue with a great body)? His sword was also broken off and attached to inappropriate places.
And of course this being America, there were shopping malls galore. I just survived Ontario Mills Mall, which is huge, but not as big as Malls of America and Bluewater (in the UK), both of which I wasn’t even able to cover on foot by the end of the day. I barely made it at Ontario.
Now when I shop, my thought cycle goes like this:
- That’s a nice looking ______ (insert item name here. Recent examples include a torchlight that uses kinetic energy not batteries, an ionizing hair dryer, spy cameras, various books and clothing items). It looks pretty useful.
- Hang on – can I find it in Singapore? Is it much cheaper here? (quite unlikely)
- OK, even if I can’t find it in Singapore or if it’s cheap, do I really need this thing? How many times am I going to use it?
- How am I going to carry this thingummyjig in my dinky little trolley bag?
- Etc etc
This thought process has saved me a lot of money. But before you shopaholics moan and groan and say ‘Ohhhh nooo, that’s the PURPOSE of going to wonderfully huge shopping malls in America where you can buy lots of cool things!!” let me assure you that I did my part to help the Californian economy: Health supplements, specialised music studio/production books, a few items with my name on it (yes it’s VANS, egotistical little me).
Universal Studios was great as well. I hadn’t been there in a decade or so. It’s an interesting story: I was dropped off at the front entrance, and saw so many queues I didn’t know where to start. I was also a bit stunned when I saw the price of a regular ticket. I griped silently to myself (and God, who usually listens to all my complaints and hasn’t hit me with a thunderbolt – yet).
I wandered to the middle of all the queues and something just prompted me to stand in one particular line. They were all about the same length.
In front of me was a Hispanic family – a mother, daughter and grandmother. Nothing too unusual.
Suddenly the mother turned to me and says, “Excuse me, are you by yourself?” (or something to that effect)
Wondering if she was suddenly going to make friends with me, I said yes. She showed me a small paper slip.
“I have this coupon [she pronounced it as ‘kew-pon’], it says buy one ticket, get the second one free… Would you like to share it with me?”
I said sure! So instead of getting ripped off US$50 each for a day ticket, we paid only $25 each. Her mother and daughter had a discount kew-pon too, but because there were three of them, she needed another person to split the costs with.
“I’m so glad I stood in your queue!” I exclaimed. The woman grinned.
Within minutes of entering the world of Make-believe, I came across a youth choir singing a very, very familiar tune: For The Beauty of The Earth, which was exactly the song I played for Brenda and YK’s wedding march. I felt happy, and that my life was meaningful again 🙂
Early this morning, I will leave for Las Vegas. It’s been a lovely summer spell here, and it feels a little too short now.