2nd time to ever wear this helmet with the Howzers. (at Echo Park, Los Angeles)
8 year anniversary with the soulmate at our favorite watering hole. (at 4100 Bar)
So I guess I’d never carved a pumpkin until today. (at Los Feliz, Los Angeles)
According to the cashier watching Chinese soap operas on her laptop, this sweater is $960 not the $9.60 that I had hoped. Dreams of future ugly sweater parties be dashed. (at JJ Bakery)
It’s not a picture of the waves but today was my first sunrise surf sesh. (at Venice Beach Boardwalk)
Be Brave, Kind, Truthful
I said to the frightened girl
Seen through the mirror
I remember waking up and telling the man behind the desk that I was leaving. There was a quick gathering of my things, a short climb down the stairs, the heat again, the heaviness of my pack, the unattractive hunch I had when I walked, cars passing by, and each step taking me far, far away from here. I see the train station again and cross the street, walk in the shade, step over a low wall, enter through sliding doors, and disappear below into a train to Venice.
(The first view of Venice, post-Train station)
My memory resurfaces upon my arrival. There is a man who allows me to occupy a water closet before him and I am relieved. I open my jounral and follow written directions to the hostel.
The compass that points me towards the South East but from what origin, I did not know. There were no street signs and only tourists to ask for directions. There was a wall of construction behind me and the Grand Canal before. Was I on Calle Priulli Al Cavalletti, Rio Terra Lista di Spagna, or neither?
I walk into a a coffee shop and approach the man about to offer me a pastry.
"Do you know where Rio Terra Lista di Spagna is?”
"No, I don’t."
"How about Calle Priulli Al Cavalleti?”
"Yes, that road is back there." He points to from where I came from. "About 200 meters that way. You will see it."
I nod to him before turning back. “Grazie!”
I turn into Calle Priulli Al Cavalleti and I begin to feel like I’m going the wrong way. I had written the names of hotels I’m supposed to pass by and I am seeing them in the opposite order that I was expecting. This is because I’m walking towards where Google Maps thought I would begin and where I had just come from was where I was supposed to go. The street that I was on before was Rio Terra Lista di Spagna. I return towards it and turn into a bridge, which was the number 2 on my handwritten directions. This was Fundamenta Scalzi Cannaregio and I was not lost anymore.
I put my compass back into my pocket and navigate the turns in between the buildings. I don’t see any cars here as the roads are too narrow, a network of alleys in between buildings enclosing and familial in their intimacy. They were accomplices and confidantes, as if all escapades done within these walls were inspired by the closest of friends.
I must’ve crossed two bridges and made dozens of turns before arriving at my destination, persisting only on trust in my self-navigation.
It is the middle of summer and there is no air conditioning in the hostel lobby. The man behind the counter smiled through his sweaty lips, checked me in, and gave me the key to the room.
The room has four beds with two of them having bags on top and the other two joined together. I make quick work pushing the two beds away from each other, placing a side table in between, and smugly telling the empty room “That’s not gonna happen.”
This is my only day in Venice so that meant I had to dance. I perused guides online on what to do and where to go but what I glean as most important is very simple. It is to “Get Lost.” I clean up and head to the lobby.
"If someone only had one day here, what do you recommend that I must visit?" I open the map given to me at check-in.
"Definitely the Rialto Bridge and the Piazza San Marco," the man with the sweaty lips takes out a red pen and circles both landmarks on the map.
"Thank You. Grazie."
These were reasonable recommendations but first, I set off to do the most important thing on my list.
As soon as I turned the first corner out of my hostel door, I stop looking at street signs. And get lost I did.
When it was deemed that it was time to attend to my responsibility, I took out my compass again. I used the map to determine where I was and the compass to lead me in the general direction of the Rialto Bridge. There was no need to follow specific roads, as they all twisted and turned, changing names every few meters. One just needs to know in what direction of the compass they are headed to.
The Rialto Bridge is crawling with tourists. They are overflowing on both sides with consistent arms raised above their heads, taking photos of gondolas appearing and disappearing from below them. The crowd surged in waves as I tried to cut a swath through them with my tripod and camera in order, climbing to the crest of the bridge, right smack in the middle of everyone.
My arms moved the tripod as if automated. My anxieties were running behind my actions and I hoped would not catch up to what I was about to do. I made quick work and danced.
*incomplete entry hiding in my drafts*
I’d like the red drink with the alcohol please. (at Beckmen Winery)