LA time – 00.15 am:
Last time I was in the US I was in Georgia. I noticed an unfamiliar smell around where I was staying, but everything was so new I didn’t associate it with one thing in particular. I vaguely assumed it was the scent of the air-conditioning or the wood of the house where I was staying. Today, intent on going to Downtown Disney to buy souvenirs, I walked out of the hotel, into glorious Californian sunshine, and smelled the same scent.
A little investigation (which involved checking that no one was looking first) revealed that it’s the palm trees that I was smelling. It’s an odd, slightly smoky, slightly aromatic smell, and, combined with the heat and the sun and the endlessly blue sky, it’s, to me, quintessentially American.
It was lovely to be out in the sun and the heat. When I arrived at the hotel Monday evening (LA time) it was in the early hours of Tuesday morning by my bodyclock time and, as I can’t sleep on planes, I had been awake for twenty-four hours. Thankfully, my room is hugely comfortable (and just plain huge), and room service brought me up a tray of English Breakfast tea and a jug of skimmed milk (today I worked out how to use the room’s coffee-maker to make tea, but I couldn’t face trying last night). And this morning I slept and slept and slept, finally going to the hotel Starbucks for a breakfast of spinach, feta and eggwhite wrap and a latte at around 12 noon.
And then, of course, off I went to Downtown Disney. Passing palm trees and magnolia trees and a tumble of gorgeous pink flowers falling over the sides of a bridge, and, as I got closer, signs to Disneyland itself.
To quote the four-year-old Gloworm, the first time she saw Meadowhall (a shopping mall near where we live) lit up at night: “Oh wook, Disneywand!”
In Downtown Disney, I wandered around in the sunshine, had a smoothie, and did my souvenir shopping. Then I walked back and had dinner (meatloaf, mashed potatoes, broccoli and carrots–very British sounding and yet very gourmet-American in the experience, take my word for it!) in the outdoor bar area by the pool.
I met up briefly with Lindsey Faber, Samhain’s publisher, and then had mojitos, deep-fried asparagus and ranch dressing and tuna nachos with Marty, another Samhain colleague.
And now I’m back in my super comfortable room. That’s my huge bed, below, with Taffy the tortoise keeping me company.