9.  Bonsai - Good SAI

A visit to Los Angeles without a trip to Hollywood is like leaving the Eiffel Tower off the sightseeing tour in Paris. I took a bus from Santa Monica on the same afternoon I had experienced the mystery of the PLT Restaurant on Montana Ave. It only took just over a dollar in bus fare, a 45-minute ride, plus a short walk at the other end and I was treading holy ground on the famous Hollywood Boulevard.

I recognized a few landmarks from my previous visit 17 years before. In between browsing shop fronts, pavement stars and even a movie set, I got myself a coffee at the Musical Institute. I sat outside on the footpath, called sidewalk by the natives, and took it all in. From where I sat I could read names on the pavement; people whose star had risen so high, people from the world over were walking all over them. 

Was I going crazy or was my Da Ninci code so versatile that I saw a speck of DN in almost all? Al Jolson, Rev. James Cleveland, Journey, Dick Enberg and Tim Conway, names I had seldom heard of before, all went down with my sips of coffee. 

Tourist attractions didnít attract me. I wasn't a real tourist. I felt a mild sense of guilt just being there without my family. Spending big dollars on luxuries such as entry fees to theatres or Universal Studio or buying Chinese made ornaments with Hollywood written all over them, was not my style. It was cheaper picking memorabilia off the street. And libraries, public parks or churches don't charge an entree fee. 

Just a short distance from Hollywood Boulevard was a Methodist Church. I was told the movie Sister Act, even I knew Whoopi Goldberg starred in it, was filmed there. I walked past the church, intending to visit it later. I continued my exploratory stroll and turned up a steep, narrow road called Hillcrest Avenue. I asked a gentleman, if the road leads to a lookout, from where I could take a photo. The tall man was very friendly. He  talked nicely to me. I overlooked the occasional F-word; F as in French.  

I accepted his invitation to have a look around his house and property. He mentioned particularly that he was clearing his overgrown garden that weekend. I thought about offering my services for a day. It would have been great fun to pull out old trees, bushes and weeds, as long as nobody told my wife. (Címon, you cant' compare pulling weeds in Hollywood for a retired film producer to pulling weeds at your own backyard to please your wife).

On leaving the gentleman, his name was Richard, he directed me to continue up the hill and follow the road around to a Japanese Hotel/Restaurant, from where I would have a good view to take my photo. It was a magnificent spot - the Hotel grounds featured a Bonsai (!!) Garden right there. 

 

            

Top: View of LA from Japanese Hotel/Restaurant's Bonsai Garden, a few minutes walk from Hollywood Boulevard.

 Left: Richard, a retired film producer, who might have appreciated help in clearing his overgrown garden. 

Right: 'Marilyn Monroe' handing out flyers outside Mann's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood Boulevard. 

 

In great anticipation I walked up the steep, narrow street, thinking - what a great location to be living at, a few minutes walk from Hollywood Boulevard, overlooking LA. But I wasn't feeling jealous. Around one bend I noticed a business card in the centre of the roadway. I picked it up, feeling a little silly for doing so, but did it anyway. 

Much of what I do, to this day, is in general terms regarded as not normal. The fact that I felt silly when doing silly things, proves that if I were classed as mad, I would know that I was mad, because what I did felt silly, if you follow my mad thinking.

But often it was much later that I saw a connection, a far-flung code, which linked what I picked up, to the bigger picture of my story. Then I thanked God that I had followed the inner promptings and acted in blind faith, as it were. However, this in turn encouraged me to pick up more stuff, which created the danger of a mental overload. (For this reason I am seldom picking up anything at the present time).

 

Here is the card I picked up in a narrow street above Hollywood.

As happened often, it only came to me much later, what Chrisí Tree Service & Landscaping could mean: Re: Christ & Land Escaping Service, not one letter wasted. (Note my handwriting, I called Richard Roy, which is incorrect).

Stop Press: I just checked the local street map in Google. I may have picked this card up in Bonita Terrace, which puts another spin on the whole story. (Read on).

 

For the very fact that Richard had drawn special attention to his garden made me wonder, was there more behind than I realized? Nobody told me to walk up that street? I had no idea about street names. The name Bonita only came just as I was checking a map in Google, if Hillcrest Avenue was correct. As is evident in my diary, I had mixed up Richard's first name and surname. It starts with Roy.

For along time I stood just inside the Bonsai Garden, which surrounded the swimming pool of the Japanese Hotel/Restaurant and enjoyed the sunshine and the sweeping views of the greater Los Angeles area. It showed how large Los Angeles really is. I mused that the Central Business District is called downtown LA, when it clearly is elevated against the surrounding suburbs.  

LA has been blessed by God. It plays such a huge role in shaping the thinking of the world, via their movie industry. Oh that it would be used for good and not for evil!

As I looked over this vast expanse of high-rise office buildings, residential blocks and hotels, human habitation as far as the eye could see, I couldn't help myself praying over the city - God open the eyes of your creation, wake the multitude of people in this great city, to place their trust in you. Let all worship you alone to find happiness and peace in this troubled world. 

At this very morning of writing I sent an email to Governor Schwarzenegger. 

(Believe it or not - after I finished my first draft last night, I did a word count - exactly 3000 words, 51 paragraphs - for chapter 9, written on 9/9)

I had read on a news-website that Californian lawmakers had passed legislation to legalize same-sex marriage. The Governor, however, has a right to veto the bill.

In my brief email I urged him to use this power and to not let the holy institution of marriage be trampled on by those, who have no regard for God's ways. I reminded him that God will not keep silent forever. HE wants to bless America and all nations. 

In shame, some have made a wrong turn, away from God. He wants to put them back on the right path. If they don't listen to his gentle call, HE must draw their attention in other ways. I am publishing this on 9/11 - the fourth anniversary of ... Have you already forgotten? Did anybody make a pledge to God in those turbulent days? Have you already forgotten? 

 

When disaster strikes we often ask - Why God, why?

Why did you die?

Taken in a church parking lot in Tustin, Ca. around Easter 05. (Notice Ea). 

I noticed that at least two other countries, out of only a handful who have recently passed gay marriage legislation, were experiencing natural disasters on a grand scale. Portugal had devastating bushfires after years of drought. Switzerland was swamped by the worst floods in years in the midst of their peak holiday season.    

God is not mocked, friends. Whatever we sow, we shall also reap. God is calling nations to repentance, to turn back from evil and to do what HE told us to do - loving God and doing good to our neighbour.

 

On the way back from the Bonsai Gardens I walked into the Methodist Church. In the gateway I picked up a tiny pink toy bear, not bigger than a postage stamp. My diary says: Everyone wears pink or is it just my imagination?

On the church notice board I read: 6 PM Dinner, 7 PM Childrenís Choir practice. Now I remembered seeing a car, registration No. CHOIR .. moments earlier on my way back from the Bonsai Garden. I returned around 7 pm (6 pm would have been too obvious, what I was after). I was going to listen to the children sing.

However, I felt a little out of place, after the lady conductor asked me what I wanted (or similar). I went back and had a look around the courtyard and counted the traffic cones in the walkway (I didn't record the number). I left for my long walk back to Santa Monica Boulevard to catch the bus home. 

However, a sandwich board outside advertised Meditation - 8 PM. The big letters SAI caught my attention. Obviously they were the letters for the organisation running Meditation at 8pm. Those letter had a special ring to it - SA, my home state in Australia - were we number one? In football, at the moment, yes. But ...

As I was writing I discovered something -  another possibility why SAI? I had just been to the Bon-sai Gardens! On the way there I had walked up Bon-ita Terrace. Bon bon in French means candy? The rest, I sai, sounds a little like da Ninci. 

How wonderfully weird, except I am not so keen on sweet and sour!

Chapter 10

Index