Sunday, January 11, 2009

One hundred and eight minutes

Yesterday we had an experience that crystalizes for me what it's like to live in L.A.

We pulled into a parking lot off of Logan Street, just south of Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park. We put enough change in the meter for 2 hours.
Here's what we did.
Marveled at the terra cotta decorations on an historic building.

Stopped at a taco trailer and ate a taco - his was chorizo, mine al pastor.

Ate blue-corn quesadillas from an illegal street vendor, with potatoes and chorizo for him, and - for me, huitlacoche. Garnished with pickled red onions and nopales.

Bought a horchata smoothie from a Thai woman at an ice-cream store, to cool the chile burn.

Checked out an artsy boutique with a militant pro-Latina, pro-Native American vibe.

Walked up a 1920's era flight of steps to a broad avenue of palm trees with a view - in one direction - the skyscrapers of downtown, and - in the other direction - the Hollywood sign.

Saw a glimpse of golden domes behind the cover of trees and the houses. Walked through the neighborhood to find it, while rock bands rehearsed in nearby garages.
Climbed a path through Elysian Park and saw Dodger Stadium.

Asked three guys with jailhouse tattoos about the golden domed building. "I don't know, man, I think it's like a Buddhist church or something. There's a path that takes you there if you follow the road."

Followed the path through a grassy parkland with arching pine trees and verdant green grass.

Climbed a heart-stopping hill to the end of a street and found Saint Andrew's Ukrainian Orthodox church with its golden domes. Admired the restored 1920s bungalow across the street.

Walked down to Sunset Boulevard, passed a Cambodian restaurant, a shuttered cocktail bar and black-painted nightclub, closed during the brightness of the day.

Bought a papier mache figure from the militant boutique.
Passed a trendy beauty shop, a fashion boutique, an antique store, a 99 cent store, a dental clinic painted with colorful murals.
Passed a fruit vendor and exchanged a pleasant greeting with a random guy on the corner who blessed us.

Bought fresh tortillas.

Got back to the car and there were twelve minutes left on the meter.
So, to recap:

Multicultural ice cream
Hollywood sign
Garage bands
Dodger Stadium
Three cholos
Beautiful religious monument
Historic restored buildings
Handcrafted folk art
Antique store
Being blessed by a random guy
Fruit vendor

Los Angeles in one hundred and eight minutes.


Vicki said...

I knew the golden domes immediately. I went to a wedding there once. My dad, who was Ukrainian, said "Don't wear high heels." He was right. You stand when the bride enters and you don't sit down again until she leaves a wife an hour or so later!

Kate said...

Oh my gosh; what a priceless day and so beautifully chronicled with photos and commentary. Your blog is uplifting. I always come away feeling that if we just open our eyes to the experience(s) that are there for the taking, our lives will be enriched. You are a wonderful role model for this and your posts very inspiring.

Love the photos. Great things to see and do right in your backyard, so to speak.

Gary Rith Pottery Blog said...

(hey, what a tour! I AM MOVING! Thanks for the add :)

Woman in a Window said...

What a strange and wonderful place you live in.

I am a Tornado ~ proven fact! said...

Okay ... I think I've drooled all over my keyboard ... another picture of that damn tortilla ...

and then there was GRASS. A picture of beautiful GREEN GRASS!

I see snow.

(muddy snow - not dead people). Yeah ... my humor is off today, sorry!


WOW! That's what I call making good use of your time (108 minutes, to be exact!). Sounds awesome!


JCK said...

You truly love it here, and it shows, G. Such wonderful adventures you have.

Sugee Andersyn said...

My favorite was 3 cholos.