Secret of the Green Lawn


My accommodation in LA was Yfs house. As it was off-season for traveling in late November, I could get the return ticket from London with only 240 (approximately $400 American). As I could get a free bed and a free meal at Yfs, the total cost of my one-week trip was only $500. A more economic trip was unthinkable.

Yfs house, which was painted tropically in pink and white, had only one storey like most of houses in LA. They looked totally different from European houses, which were mostly built of bricks and gave us a heavy and serious impression. Y lived there with her family, a dog and a cat.


The roads in this residential area were unbelievable wide in my opinion. I was surprised at the width of the road in front of Yfs house. It seemed to be much wider than the main road of the town I live in London. Every house had a small front garden with a lawn.


Next morning, I sent her son to his elementary school nearby. The elementary school was also one storey building with a huge sports ground with a lawn. I felt as if the houses in LA said to me,

"Multi-storey houses are not necessary here, as there is plenty of space everywhere." When I observed the children appearing one after another with their parents, I found that about half of them were from Asian families. At the zebra crossing in front of the school, a middle-aged woman was helping children crossing the road. Yfs son told me she was called a "crossing guard", hence the woman on the same duty is called a "lollipop lady" in England, because the stick with a round board that she hold looks like a big lollipop candy stick.


After sending her children to their schools, Y took me to a beach near her home as she had taken a day off work for me. On the pier, there were some seafood restaurants lined up and dozens of people were fishing. Next to the pier, there was a sandy beach. Some people were sunbathing and some were jogging along it. The atmosphere seemed like one of holiday resort to me and so, I could not believe that I was in the middle of a big city. The weather was perfect again; the sky was very blue. But it was no wonder, that there are only about ten rainy days in a year in LA.


From the shore, Y drove me to a park on a peninsula, from where we had a nice view of Pacific Ocean. The park was also covered with green grass. I wondered how they could maintain the grass in such a perfect condition in spite of the very dry weather. . We have much more rain in London, but the lawn usually starts withering and turns brown in the dry summer. The grass in the parks in LA were in a perfect shape. I asked myself "Why?" I observed the surface of the lawn carefully to find a lot of black cylinders buried in intervals of the same distance. I learnt that they were nozzles of a sprinkler. The grass was watered by the sprinkler regularly. I wondered,

"If they have so little rain, how do they obtain enough water to sprinkle the grass?"

I asked Y about my curiosity. She told me that the water was carried from a river hundreds of miles away to the city through the pipeline. I remembered I had seen some sprinklers splashing the water generously in the garden of neighborhood houses on the way to the elementary school.

She asked me, "Can you answer this question: Which business made the biggest profit when LA suffered from a serious water shortage about four decades ago?"

I did not know and so Y told me that the correct answer was a "painter"f. It was popular among the people at that time to spray green paint on the brown lawn.

I had to admit the Americans were crazy about their green grass.