I folded up the yellow blanket and tidied my belongings in the back room of Matthew’s rented house. Outside the noise of sirens and brightly coloured birds compete with each other. I am exhausted and bewildered by Los Angeles, I dont think I can really get the hang of this.

 Yesterday was a day of struggle. I bought an AT&T simm card for my phone which was not too expensive – it took two hours for it to work for incoming calls.

Taxis are not hailed from the street in LA, they are ordered via phone. When you get the cab, beware of going outside Los Angeles for my Russian friend got terribly lost when I asked him to venture onto the 101 to Montebello to look at an aged XT550. We did about 12 U turns when we got off the freeway to negotiate the maze of thread like streets using the battered street atlas. His reading glasses simply were not strong enough to read the street names, so he perched his wife’s (mother in law’s?) glasses on top of his own to decipher the route. He tried phoning up the taxi company for directions but they could not help. He radio in for help, no use. He stabbed at his GPS with his dirty fingernail but the unit did not recognise the street. We are in another city he wailed. My headache got worse. I moved into the front seat and took hold of the map and eventually we found our way, gingerly crawling along the roads, asking the two policemen standing by their smart patrol cars which look like they were customised with shiny chrome wheels. It was prom night at the local high school and they were directing the traffic. I was dropped off an hour late to the house of the owner of the prospective ride I hoped to purchase. A 1983 XT 500 Yamaha – with unsuitable off road tyres which I intended to replace. He wheeled the grubby bike out of the shed, at the end of a parched garden littered with 2 trucks a shiny new BMW, a Honda Accord and two Harleys. Twenty Four hundred off road miles he announced as my heart sank. The forks leaked, the bike was totally covered in rust.

There was rust on the rust and the chain was shot. The plates had 2000 on them, no way was I going to ride it back to LA. An indicator lens was missing. I had visions of the smart policemen catching me riding this illegal heap past them and busting me for no bike insurance.

This was not going to happen.

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