I had seen neither Twilight nor New Moon, and yet, shortly after touching back down into Los Angeles, I found myself at a preview screening of Eclipse with my friend Lindsey and two of her friends. As it turns out, you don’t really need to have seen the previous two movies if you’ve paid attention to any newspaper in the entire world for the last two years. Vampires, werewolves, no sex, Taylor Lautner without a shirt, and you’re good to go.

Dakota Fanning.

What a bitch.

The clock was officially ticking – on the last few days of my 28th year and the last few days of our stay in the States. The previous thirty days had taken us from the West Coast to the East – through the fake plastic scenery of Las Vegas and the wilds of Utah. We’d fired guns in Colorado and smelled trees in the Rockies; walked the mean streets of Chicago and driven down Main Streets where Old Glory moved gently in the breeze that ran over porches. We’d seen fireflies and squirrels, rivers and lakes, college towns and Rust Belt graveyards.

We’d seen New York.

And we’d come back from New York to Los Angeles – across bridges and lonely highways and speeding motorways. From the birthplaces of the Civil War to the open deserts of New Mexico and Arizona; through the thick air of the South and the dry heat of West Texas.

It was a trip of empty water bottles and truck stop snacks, of iPods and laptops and discarded packs of cigarettes. It was writers and writing and readers and reading; now, months on, the writing and the reading continues.

We spent the last few days of it with Duke and Lenore and Lenore’s friend Jason, for the most part – in Los Angeles and Malibu. My birthday came, and I got drunk, which was nice, because I’d never had a birthday in another hemisphere before.

Thank you to everyone who put us up, and bought us drinks, and came to meet us and talk to us and make sure we had a good time. Thank you to everyone who sent us messages and emails, who called us to see how the trip was going, who commented on our pieces from the road.

I will never, ever, even try to pay you back.

Zara probably will.

But, you know… either in your country or in one of ours, we can’t wait to see you again.

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SIMON SMITHSON is an Australian writer and editor. He is currently based in Melbourne, Australia, but frequently finds himself in Los Angeles and San Francisco. His work has appeared on both sides of the globe in print and online in publications such as BLIP, Every Day Fiction, Beat, The Loop, My Sinking Boat, and more. He has a tumblr at www.simonsmithson.com and he runs a lifestyle experiment at www.selfhelpless.net.

3 responses to “TPAC 2010 – Day 30something, and a Couple More: Los Angeles to Auckland”

  1. Becky Palapala says:

    No paybacks??? WHAT!!!!!!!!

    Beatch, you owe me 2 Budweiser tall boys and a tour of the nearest millennial monument.

    Don’t try to wiggle out of this.

    Especially with some “I bought dinner” nonsense.

    Pfft.

  2. Zara Potts says:

    This is the end..

    My Brewtiful friend.

    (apologies to Jim Morrison.)

    Oh. I’m sad now. Some many memories, I’d like to catch them in a snowglobe and shake them all around.

    One more thing:

    Sir Ian Sir Ian Sir Ian Sir Ian….

  3. Jude says:

    What a great trip. Thanks for taking us on your ride across a country of such contrasts.

    Although I have to say the best part for me was when I welcomed you both back to the Southern Hemisphere at Auckland International.

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