Just off of a plane, I walk from the gate through the terminals of LAX. Down escalators and hallways and past baggage claims. And all along the way, everything I see makes me glad to be home. We had just returned from a wedding in Denver, where we had a great time with great people. But in Colorado, something was missing. Variety.
Variety in people of every color and ethnicity, yet, being LA, they are all so attractive. Girls with their side braids and aviator sunglasses or messy hair and top buns, flannels and skinny jeans. Maxi dresses abound that scream summer is upon us. Spiky heels on some towering woman in a dress that seemed to belong in a club, not an airport. Smartly dressed Business women sit in airport bars next to a Pamela Anderson look alike. In LA, it's not just black, white or brown women, it's Nigerian, El Salvadorian, Korean, and Czech women. Accents and languages mix into the sounds of everywhere all in one place. The men, too, come in every variety. Young Mexican American men with guitars and black clothing and leather jackets. Tall or short, loose or tight jeans, suits or sweats, and bearded and without. Athletic looking black men in T shirts praising their favorite sports team stand at baggage carousels next to hipster bearded Caucasian men. Short Indian men with their grayling temples beside their family of women in saris. A Japanese couple dressed in western fashion perfection carrying large boxes of donuts from some hipster shop that undoubtedly sold sweet things with bacon on top. It's loud, jarring, and everyone isn't going to be polite. In LA, sometimes you get the feeling that everyone is a part of the hustle. Everyone you meet is somehow connected to the industry. Everyone has a screenplay or you tube channel. But when you dig deeper, you find more to it.
Outside of the airport, it is a stark contrast to Colorado's wide, open landscape, where space seemed everywhere we looked. New construction and parking lots with ample parking spaces everywhere. But here in LA, it's crowded, and yes, the traffic is that bad. LA is a sprawling metropolis and from the plane window, we had a view of endless buildings filled with endless amounts of people. According to the 2010 census, there are 3.7 million people in Los Angeles. In those numbers are some of the nation's largest population of Persian, Salvadorian, Guatemalan, Thai, and Korean Americans. In LA, you can head to Chinatown, K-town (Korea town), little Tokyo, Tehrangeles, little Ethiopia, or any other enclave that boasts a concentration of people, culture, food, diversity.
Looking out of the plane window as those LA neighborhoods moved in and out of view, it gives you the sense of unfathomable numbers of people all living and eating and driving in this western metropolis. For some people, millions means a place to get lost or being alone. Colorado, with its absence of teeming crowds, in difference and contrast in its people, seemed all the more lonely to me. A western state with its spacious and green dotted with houses that looked so similar, populated with an America that resembled its neighbors so much. In Los Angeles, a cosmopolitan city with its truly international airport, I see so much sensational difference. So many voices and lives that one really can believe what those who move out to Hollywood seem to believe, that anything is possible. It isn't so much of getting lost, but finding the treasures LA has hidden in its streets.