Why has it taken so long to get these photos on the net when I visited Jaime Roque in February on my return from Costa Rica to Taiwan? You may well ask, but probably with a much shorter question or in truncated questions. Well I went to visit Jaime in Los Angeles from the 4th to the 8th February on a stopover from my trip to see Sonia during Chinese New Year. We had a great few days together and Jaime had his video camera along the whole trip. Jaime kindly burned the videos onto CD using Intel Indeo codex and I've been looking for the right converter to convert them from Indeo AVI files to Mpeg2. Everything I've tried so far has failed. (any clues?)
I flew in from San Jose, getting in to LAX very late on Sunday. Jaime picked me up and took me for dinner at a chain diner. Can't remember the name but apparently it's very well known in the States. Now I've heard before about the huge servings you'll get in American restaurants but nothing could prepare me for the ckicken salad I was about to get. From childhood I've been conditioned not to leave food on my plate ("All those starving in Africa...") and it's time like this that I feel the guilt rising as I have no option but to leave at least half of what I ordered. Jaime explains that that's the reason why obesity is so high in the States. Faced with a monster meal like that every time you eat out it's easy to imagine. However in Taiwan, eat out most of the time and it's a rare occasion that I've actually cooked myself.
After leaving half of my meal, Jaime took me back to his apartment (still not sure which district of L.A. it is, all I know is the street name) it looks a really nice area though! It should be though, Jaime's forte is real estate in USA funding, a business Jaime originally set up with a partner and now has built up on his own over many years. He shares his apartment at times with his two teenage daughters Joyce and Jamie (who were ousted because of my visit. Sorry girls!)
Monday 5th February
Slept well and awoke to find Jaime chatting in Tagalog on the phone. ( I'm pretty embarrassed to say that when I first met Jaime in Berlin in '91 I thought he was Japanese - not Philipino-American. Oops!)
Although Jaime had taken time out of his busy schedule to show me around he still had an irate Philipino customer who hadn't a clear concept of the mortgage system and was blaming Jaime for something that wasn't even anything to do with Jaime's part in the deal.
After a few phone calls back and forth we set out for Jaime to show me around. His car, however, had other ideas. Luckily we hadn't gone too far before there was a grinding noise coming from the front of the car. Jaime turned into a side street to park up and investigate when CRRRUUUNNNNCCHH! Luckily it wasn't the gear-box, as Jaime had feared but the ball bearings (or something technical.)
Of course Jaime was really embarrassed but there was nothing that could be done about it, eh? Jaime called the recovery company and within a short time the car was being towed to his regular car servicer - a Chinese guy whose family, all from Taiwan, were in town visiting. We chatted for a while and I told them that I now lived in Taiwan - they could harly believe that this white guy lives in Taipei, where he studies Chinese. Jaime was surprised that I could chat along as well.
Luckily again, is that Jaime has two cars. So we still got to go sightseeing. We first stopped off at Venice Beach to see if we could pick up tickets for a TV show the following night. Unfortunately the guy with the free tickets was closed by the time we got there but Christie had told me of Venice Beach when she used to live here so I was quite looking forward to seeing it. We stayed for a while attempting to take photos of us against the setting sun, however some guy was hovering a little too close on bike to leave the camera sitting too far away.
Next Jaime took me to Beverly Hills where we strolled around. We stopped for photos at the door of the Beverly Hills Wiltshire and I chatted with the doorman (Paul, I think from Paraguay.)
From Beverly Hills we went to Hollywood and down Hollywood Boulevard. Our first stop was outside Mann's Chinese Theatre where we checked out the legendary handprints of the stars.As soon as I can have them converted, I'll put the videos on the page. It turns out that I have the same hand size as Eddie Murphy (and if rumours are right then maybe that's not where the similarity end.) We walked around, for a few hours and saw some of the wierdness that's often associated with Hollywood before heading back to Jaime's place.