A couple days in Los Angeles before leaving the country

I got to the airport early, after a goodbye hug to my nervous mother I was on my way out of New York. There was a layover for a couple hours in Chicago, then I flew with the sunset on to Los Angeles. I hopped a bus towards Venice, there I was picked up by an old family friend with her two sons. They were really friendly, after some Thai food we went back to their place where we talked and I watched the two brothers work on a big drawing of an octopus for the older one's room in college.
The next day I wandered down to Venice Beach, walking along the boardwalk and a quick splash of the ocean. Later I came back to the house where the younger brother was rehearsing and singing with a friend, they sounded really good.
Come night fall my friend Mark picked me up and we headed into Santa Monica for wings, beer and the Lakers game. I'd met Mark at the Stagecoach music festival a while back, gone camping near Joshua Tree with him and some others, and also saw him one time in Vegas.
It was a good night, watching the Lakers blow out the Cavs by 55 points, by the end of the game we'd made our way to his regular bar, Busby's. I met some of his friends there, we played pool and skeeball through the night. When we first came in we found a huge pile of tokens, unexplained, but to our fortune, this funded the skeeball.
The next day I hopped on a bike, heading out to get last minute supplies, draining a few gift cards I'd been holding on to that would be of no use out of the country, mostly I got granola bars and food that would last. I came back to the house I was staying at afterwards and tied up loose ends, laundry and this sort of thing.
I got a ride to the airport hours early, but for good reason. My friend Walter was flying to Florida from Asia, he had a layover in LAX at the perfect time.
I got checked in, then went through security. This was foolish, as our meeting point was before security... I came back out and he found me quickly.
We grabbed a couple beers and caught up, it was great to see him and share stories of our recent and future travels. We pawned stuff off on each other, I gave up a gift card only good in the US, he handed me a wad of Malaysian bills.
We parted ways, it was back to security, the line was much longer than the first time around, but I made it through again without any problems.
I made it to the gate and got to talking to some other people on the flight. A mom and daughter were going to live with a bunch of sheep on the north island for a while, they were coming from canada. I talked to a couple going on a rapid world trip hitting all kinds of places, they mentioned Malaysia, so the wad of money Walter gave me got passed on to them.
The plane was huge, as we filed on I happily realized that the K on my ticket meant window seat. Better than that, I got close to my seat and saw the girl who'd be sitting next to me on this 12 hour flight. She was so beautiful, she could be a part time model, but she'd probably still have to keep her normal job.
She was from Saint George in southern Utah, off to New Zealand to nanny for a year. In the seat in front of me sat the guy from the couple that I'd given the malaysian bills to. Dinner came around and I saw the booze on the cart and a cup of wine being poured for someone. "does the liquor cost anything?", I asked.
"all the drinks are complimentary", she told me. The guy in front of me heard my question and not the answer, so he asked me.
"complimentary", I smiled. I got a rum and coke, he heard this and did the same.
"sounded too good to pass up", he said, we enjoyed the drinks and the decent meal, I was starving by that point.
For a brief time I looked out the window at the stars, the half moon reflected on the massive ocean below. After that short time everything went completely dark outside, nothing more to see.
I got a lot of sleep in, breakfast came and soon enough speckled lights on the ground popped up and we were landing in humid Fiji. The nanny was staying there a few days before continuing on, we parted ways and I got in the long line with the rest of the people continuing directly on to Auckland.
After the security check and the layover, I was on the plane bound for New Zealand. We rose up above the green island and into the blue, then the white of the clouds, pushing through to the next adventure.