In Britain, a ‘continental breakfast’ makes sense, when compared to a ‘real’ breakfast as it is served in a proper British restaurant: eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes and all the fat and sugar your stomach can take on an early day. A continental breakfast only amounts to some juice, cereal, toast, maybe an egg and some coffee and tea there. Over here, in these inns, a ‘continental breakfast’ turns out to be coffee and donuts. Don’t get me wrong, I like coffee and donuts and I was in the mood for them, but to call it breakfast? Not really. Still I prefer it to ‘breakfast burrito’s’ or ‘egg mcmuffins’ which is what the street has to offers. The sight of people working their way into a nice hamburger at 9:30am is enough to take your appetite away until lunch at least.
I drove around some parts of Los Angeles, getting a feel for the city and talked to all sorts of folks. Cops, vagrants, shopkeepers and even a banker who was camping out in a Starbucks over the weekend, waiting for Monday so he could get back to work. LA generates a constant feeling of having been there before, with so many streets and scenes having showed up in TV or movies at some point. I kept getting reminded of specific movies and even computer games that clearly got their inspiration here. Driving around some parts of LA (and later on San Diego) made me feel like jumping out of my car and pulling some poor old lady out of her Lincoln for a bit of joyriding. You don’t realize how much of an influence in style and models of toys and entertainment California has until you’re in the middle of it.
At the end of the day, I visited an online buddy living in Vista in the San Diego area. Being inside their house, I was overcome by an opposite feeling. As recognizable and familiar as everything outside seemed, so unfamiliar is the inside of a normal California home. All of the products and objects in the house were of unfamiliar brands and make. Not a single point of recognition in sight, I really felt like being in a truly foreign country for the first time. Sure enough, everything is basically the same. Sofa, TV, dining room, kitchen. And a fridge stocked with mostly familiar food. But everything of different brands and all the furniture of typical American make. On closer inspection, you find out that the companies behind the brands are sometimes the same global corporations that create European brands, but the difference was marked and I would feel the same when I got into some supermarkets later on.