Saturday, October 30, 2010

Our First Full Day in L.A.

Today was AWESOME! Aside from running into a wall about 10 minutes ago, today was ideal. We woke up this morning feeling fine. I had something special on my mind.

That's how it's been going all day. I've had a song in my heart, and a smile on my lips. We set out from our couchsurfers' place and walked to the Ralph's to buy our bus passes for November ($84 each). Then we took the bus to Wilshire center. We missed our stop by one, but the day was beautiful and the walk was pleasant.

Our first apartment was on the north end of Koreatown (hereafter referred to as K-town). It was close to some shops; a grocery store in particular encouraged us. The apartment was the same deal as so many others - run by Statewide Enterprises, $695/month, a $2.96/month admin fee, utilities included, no refrigerator. What's that? Where are we, Germany? No fridge? Indeed, place after place (with a few exceptions, like Germany - thanks, Sven!) had no fridge. No big, though, we can use our Amazon wedding gift cards to get a fridge. The place was (in hindsight) largish, it had a space for a breakfast table, and had a "first two weeks free" special. Also, like every place that follows, it had laundry on the premises: $1.25 wash, $1.00 dry.

Just around the corner, Stina had contacted someone about another place, not Statewide this time. We stood outside the building and called. Then someone let us in. Then we stood outside the manager's apartment and called and knocked. No answer, so we moved on. It will turn out, I am sure, that that apartment had a magic sink that grants wishes.

Proceeding on to the southern part of K-town, we saw another studio. This one had a nice outside entrance and bigger kitchen, but overall it was smaller and had carpet instead of hardwood. It just didn't make us AS happy, so we left quickly.

Heading East now, we checked out a pad WITH a fridge. The kitchen was significantly bigger, and this one was $670 instead of $695, PLUS the laundry was $0.75 and $0.50, so over 24 months, we'd save $700. It was smaller, though.

By this point, we were about an hour ahead of schedule, so we sat and discussed the places we had seen. The 3rd place we saw and the first place were the 2 contenders for the top spot. After figuring out the money and envisioning our lives in each, we walked to lunch. Our next appointment was the immediate neighbor of our last, but we're speedier than we expected and were 1.5 hours early. I mean, we'd been early for the last couple, but there was someone on site; this lady said she could come later. So we walked to lunch and decided that the first place was better than the third, though we were still kinda up in the air and hoping something would jump out at us so we wouldn't have to make that awfully close decision.

We ate at a market/taqueria/pupuseria. I had 2 tacos, and a pupusa. All were delicious. So delicious, they musta had to violate a health code to do it, 'cause I noticed after the meal that, while every other place we had passed had a grade of A posted in their windows from the health department, this place had a C. A delicious C.

We walked back to the apartment. No lady. We called some other numbers we had for Statewide people ('cause her voicemail was full...). Sergio picked up and sent someone over from his office, which was, we later learned, half a block away. Saw the apartment. It was okay. It had a nice big closet that we almost thought we could sleep in. And I noticed a wide windowsill that I'm sure we could grow plants on. Ultimately, it was smaller though, with none of the perks of place number 3, so we proceeded on to apartment number 5.

We walked through MacArthur Park. We started telling ourselves to get used to the idea that this apartment was going to be smaller and worse than all the others, because the area is so nice, if it's the same price, it must be crappier, right? WRONG! Perfect! It even has a second room that we'll use as a studio, and a breakfast nook. No fridge, or really ideal place to put a fridge, but the VIEW! And a fridge can go anywhere, and we don't need a large fridge.

So we called Sergio. He summoned us to his office. We spent an hour relaxing with him, filling out paperwork and chatting. He was super nice, and he gave us a ride back to our couchsurfers' place. He likes the observatory, and came to L.A. when I was 1 year old. He only has a sister or two still in Mexico. Almost all the rest of his family did what he did, and moved to the U.S. - L.A. and Chicago. We know more about him than that, but you'll learn more if we get the apartment and he becomes our property manager. We're crossing our fingers that happens. We have great credit scores, but no income... so...

In all, we walked 5 miles today, and my missing appendix is tired. Oh yeah. And the place where we're staying has a pond. I slipped, almost fell in, didn't fall in, but "oh no! a wall!" I'm fine.

In other news, our CS hosts are awesome. One of them owns a car, but only uses it once a month. They bike everywhere. They're at the end of a 30-day dumpster challenge. They've eaten only dumpstered food for the past 29 days.

We saw couches and mattresses on the roadside. Not as many as in Magdeburg, but plenty. We think we'll use our Zipcar gift from Nikki to wander about the city picking up useful trash to furnish our new apartment.

I can't wait to chop veggies in my own apartment!