I woke up today and went to check my email. As I was running a little short on cash (the hotels in Hong Kong and Tokyo had been a fair bit more expensive than I had expected) my parents kindly wired me some money via Moneygram. After seeing Carolyn off to the airport, I decided to take the bus into town to collect my money. The closest agent to me was on Sunset Boulevard, and I was pretty sure I could find it.
I got off the bus on Sunset, and was dismayed to find that the shop numbers were in the 7000s. I was looking for 1508. I walked up for a while, but it was becoming obvious that it wasn't a distance that I could walk. I found a bus stop, and stopped the next bus that came along, asking how far down it goes. I got on, and after around 20 minutes we arrived at the shop. By this time we were far off the edge of the map had with me. I went in and filled in the necessary forms to collect my cash. Unfortunately, I discovered that I'd left my passport at the hostel, but the shop owner said that he could put the order through anyway.
He phoned the Moneygram line, but then discovered that he didn't have enough cash in the store to give me. He gave me the address of another Moneygram agent nearby who I should go to instead. I didn't have a clue where this was, however, as my map didn't go out this far. Luckily, a Spanish man walked into the shop and kindly gave me directions. I walked to the other shop, and by this time it was midday, and it was shorchingly hot. I was really struggling with the heat so I stopped for lunch at a nearby McDonalds (you're never too far away from a McDonalds in Los Angeles!) which actually tasted a lot better than the stuff they serve in England.
I reached the other shop after about a 20 minute walk, right through some of the roughest districts in town, but when I went in I was told that the guy who does Moneygrams was on holiday. I went back down the road and called Moneygram to find an alternative location. I was put on hold, and sat down for a while but I was in direct sunlight and I was starting to get very hot, so I walked down the road a little to try and find a phone in the shade, but they all seemed to be in the sun. Eventually I found one in the shade, called Moneygram and was put on hold for 15 minutes. Then they told me that there were no other agents within walking distance of where I was.
I decided to go back to the hostel, get my passport, and take a taxi to collect the money. It's certainly a bit more comfortable than strolling around in the baking sun. I was trying to find my way back to Sunset Boulevard, and stopped someone to ask for directions. She very kindly offered to drive me back in her car! Her name was Lisa and she was a property agent. She said that the areas I'm going through are not the kinds of places that tourists should go.
I drove with her back to the hostel, and then she called and managed to get Moneygram to give her the address of a slighty closer agent to the one I had tried to get to. It still would have been impossible to get to on foot, being a 15 minute drive from the hostel. This place was also in a pretty poor neighborhood, and was in a small, seedy loan shop. The guy who served me was Armenian and couldn't speak English very well. When he had to write out the amount of the payment in words on the form he got out an well-thumbed English dictionary and started painstakingly looking up the words.
He took his time over this, but eventually I got my cash. I went out to meet Lisa again and she was on her way in to find me. The transaction had taken so long that she though I was being robbed. She drove me back to the hostel and I thanked her profusely for helping me out. Without it I probably wouldn't have got the money.
After all that I laid on my bed and watched some cartoons in my room. Kirsty arrived, and I suggested that we go out and watch a film later on. We ordered Thai takeaway from one of the local places, which was lovely, and later on Rowan, Kirsty, Catrina and I went to the cinema to watch Osmosis Jones. The film was excellent. It was very well written, funny, and it looked amazing. It was the story of a white blood cell called Osmosis Jones, who lives inside the body of a guy called Fred who works for a zoo. The film sets out the inside of the body as a huge city, with a mayer, tons of motorways, and even a mafia who live in the armpit and all animated. I would definately recommend it.
After the film, we all came back to the hostel. There was a gathering in the canteen as usual. We sat there for a while talking and then Kirsty went for a late night swim with Rowan. I sneaked into the room where one of the internet access terminals was, and hacked into it to get free internet access. I surfed for a while, and then set the terminal to restore everything to the way it was on the next reboot. I told Kirsty she could use it for free and then reboot it when she's finished. Then I went to bed.