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Arrived at LA airport about noon. The plane for Changi leaves in 13 hours so plenty of time to cool my heels – reading, blogging, waiting to check my bag in. A deaf bloke circulates the tables selling pens and little stars & stripes badges. I buy one of each. Shortly after the PA system begins blaring announcements warning passengers they are not obliged to give money to “solicitors.” I’ve been a soft touch all the time I’ve been here – apparently over generous when tipping and falling into conversation with “solicitors” and inevitably slipping the odd buck here and there. I am really surprised at the low rate of pay here. Service people and even “solicitors” go out of their way to be friendly and polite. Should not enterprise in hard times be rewarded, or am I exacerbating “the problem?” This is one cultural reality I think I would find difficult to get used to if living here longer.