It is over 17,500 kilometers (10,874 miles) from Melbourne, Australia to Halifax, Canada, as the plane flies.  After watching more movies in one night than I had seen in the previous year, I was glad that I had scheduled a layover weekend in Los Angeles.

The drive from the airport to a  friend’s bungalow in Santa Monica felt very familiar, even after twenty-two years.  The road was still shabby, littered with discount stores, gyms, car dealerships, taco stands and tattoo parlors.  Only the Whole Foods store was new.  It signaled gentrification that seemed a little late in coming considering the value of the property.

I have moved many times since my seven-year stay in L.A., but I still have one old friend in LA who puts me up and a few others who will buy me a beer or a glass of wine.  Most of them worked in the “biz”, as the entertainment industry is called.

They were always working too hard or hardly working, which is the norm in La La Land.  Right now, the economy is in free fall and the state’s finances are in serious trouble.   Much of that can be blamed on the referendums that plague every election in California and, of course, the Terminator.

None of this impacts on the traveler.  I had a good time, catching up with the few friends who were in town and not otherwise engaged.  Gordon and I  went out to the Getty villa in Malibu (recently re-opened after extensive renovations) and took lunch at the fish restaurant we used to frequent 25 years ago.  It hadn’t changed at all.

On my last night in town, we went to the new “Terminator” movie.  My friend, Bob, who has been editing the most expensive animated film in history for the last three years, emerged from his cocoon for the evening.

The Terminator movie was one explosion after another.  My ears rang when we came out.  It is hard to believe that the “Gov” actually injected humor in the first one.  The latest battle-fest has virtually none.  Some good actors are wasted in their roles and the movie seems interminable, but it will no doubt make a fortune overseas.

When I arrive at Grand Pre and resume life in the Stewart House, some work compulsion creeps in and takes over my body.  A two hundred year-old house is in constant need of care.  Everything exposed to the maritime weather tends to rot, amazingly quickly.  Last year it was the back porch and the fasteners on storms and screens that needed attention.  This year it is the front porch, the attic, study and carriage house.  There is always more than I have time for.

On the plus side, there are the fiddleheads, strawberries and rhubarb, summer evenings with long light.  There are the rain clouds, intense green in the trees, and friendly neighbours with whom I have some history. There are dykelands for long walks, spectacular sunsets and a lovely room for curling up with a good book. For all that, I can easily do some work and not complain.