As I come to the end of week 3 on my LA Adventure, I have been keeping up my sterling record in blogging. You know, when I was at UNC, I’d feel bad if I missed a single day. Now, this did mean there were an awful lot of entries consisting of a single paragraph, or an assortment of links, but I feel as if I was giving you better value. Apologies.
Life as a consultant has a few quirks, one of which is the issue of expenses. This, at first, seems great. “You’re giving me $50 a day to spend on any food that I want? HELL YES!” After the second week, though, the thought begins to creep in: “I’m eating two large meals a day, and I spend eight hours of the rest of it sitting down typing at a computer. I foresee problems.” At long last, I think I understand why every hotel seems to make a big deal about its gym - it’s not for us tourists, but the scary people who live from hotel to hotel. Yeah, 32 and making that leap. I’m a fast learner.
(not that I’ve ventured into said gym, which is advertised by a large poster stand as soon as you enter my hotel. It’s far too scary.)
Okay, still not a huge amount to report, seeing as how I’ve been mostly at work, or working over the weekends so far. But! There is the tale of turtle racing that I need to relay to you, dear reader. Yes, turtles.
It started one Monday, when my boss and I related the discovery of a bar near to our hotel that made a big deal about how it had turtle races every Thursday. Needless to say, our interest was piqued. How do you race a turtle? How do you tell them apart? What on Earth did it have to do with an Irish pub? We mentioned it to our colleagues at work, and a plan was formed. On Thursday, we would see those turtles race for ourselves.
The night started well enough, listening to somebody at the bar who had heard my British accent and decided that he was going to spend the evening telling me how great Winston Churchill was. That’s not the best way to get on my good side, but I wasn’t particularly looking for an argument against the continued defication of the drunk old sod (there’s an extended disco remix of it in my diatribe against The King’s Speech. I perform it on request!).
At around 9’o’clock, we headed out to the back patio of the bar where the races happen. We started to see how the races would work; there was a set of two circles painted on the tarmac, one inside the other, about 10 feet total in diameter. So it looked like the turtles started in the middle and the winner would be the one who made it to the outer circle first. Simple!
It was supposed to start at 9, but time rattled on, and it wasn’t until almost a quarter-to-ten that the race leaders came out to announce that for the next fifteen minutes you could rent a turtle for $5. A queue of people, from a suprisingly large crowd started lining up to rent theirs. I was a bit perplexed at this; there didn’t seem to be any point, but the queue was quite impressive.
Eventually, the turtles were rented, and we were told the rules. No pointing at the turtles. And they’re serious, charging $10 for a first offense, $20 for a second, and $50 for a third (people got the message that they were serious during the first round, so pointing was at a minimum). Having done that, it was time for the first person to claim their turtle.
And, just like that, the idea of turtle racing was about to change. You see, what I didn’t register when people were queuing was that they were all girls. And as the first girl picked up her turtle, I wondered what was going on, as she exaggerated bending over to place the turtle inside the middle circle. And then she was red-flagged, so she had to do it all over again, conveniently enough moving around so another part of the audience could see her bend over.
Turns out that turtles are not really the draw at Brennan’s. Girls in tight jeans and short skirts, on the other hand, very much so. However, the highlight of the night was probably the people behind us. They had never been before, but within ten minutes had inwardly digested all the rules (girls were made to re-place the turtles if they bent over too fast, or bend their knees, for example) and began haranguing the referees. Two hours later, and yes, I think I ended up seeing a lot more of almost every girl in the audience, including the person who I ended up talking to for most of the evening. That was a little awkward.
Los Angeles is strange.