Thirteen or so hours from Sydney's Kingsford Smith to Los Angeles International. Long is the journey from coast to coast as the fires of the Big Sur cloud the windows of the approaching plane. Weary with a sense of thirst ever lingering on the lips. Lips now flaking apart and ready to bleed. Barely breaking through the skin as each flake takes the place of teaser food. Living off the grid of high prices with the face paying the bill.
After the short (30 minutes) process through US Customs, several stands showcase LAX. The free new magazine pocketing the terminals. One here, another there, all of the inaugural summer 2008 issue. Black, white and Joe Torre all over. LAX Magazine - the "official in-terminal magazine of Los Angeles World Airports" - quarterly from Simon Media Company.
No pages turn until cookies literally crumble at the sight of clashing pretzels. Where the food court of Terminal 1 at 3am says everything in conversation with buzzing fluorescents. Other cattle sleep it off at tables across the court with an apparent ease. A wonder how they manage to fold their bodies over the tables. Hard tops, harder seats. Buttocks loose from walking and waiting feel bones prod the mean surfaces of comfort in agonising pain.
Lower back support glimmering wishful thinking as the muscles tear away to hunch. Spinal column and the rib cage running away as quick as they can and tearing the back along with. Sleep is under bright lights with no cushion save for the mush between temple and skull. For sitting down, eating an expensive snack of a meal and moving along, the furniture services fine. For travellers looking to catch some easy sand off Morpheus, not so much.
TSA personnel hold their meeting of the maws before walking off to the smell of feet and toothpaste. Quiet times in the dead of another morning in the airport. Nodding off is waking up as the wakeful state saunters off to complete the never ending cycle of side to side swaying.
Man in background has a folder of cash
Content of LAX is sparse, touristy. City as a shell, pointing fingers at the go-to places of the area and fixtures of the countryside. Plenty to write about in glossy format. Travel writing like all before. Nothing at all about the gangs and crews roaming neighbourhoods just another bus ride away. Here there be attractions and restaurants and a few profiles of LA personalities, no matter their stature.
Exhaustion mixes badly with crossword puzzles and sudoku. Fighting the strain of completing a monstrous task is easier when the solution to the puzzles are right beneath the questions. What is normally a skill of logic or vocabulary is now of coordination. Helpful if on purpose. Bring your own pen.
30 minutes and done for an eight hour layover.
Reviewed on Tuesday, 16 December 2008