Los Angeles. I like to get out and walk, but Los Angeles is a driver’s city. I did drive around to all the disbursed sights, parked my car and drove away again. That isn’t right. I didn’t drive around town. I drove onto freeways and drove for some time until the exit for my next destination appeared. I don’t recall much about that except I spent a night in Pasadena because that is where the Rose Bowl Parade happens. That was something I knew about before I got there. LA, like China, was a bit of an odd destination for me. I wasn’t all that familiar with it except for the Beverly Hillbillies TV show and the Rose Bowl Parade. Even so, as it is the largest city in Southern California, I spent quite a bit of time exploring LA.
My AAA Tour Book provided a route for a suggested walking tour around downtown LA. It was a Saturday afternoon and I found the starting point and the suggested parking area. I drove up and up around the spiral parking high-rise before finding a space to park. All seemed as expected until I got out of the parking area and started to walk. Even then, it looked pleasant. The sidewalks were twenty feet wide. Benches were plentiful in small gardens along side the municipal buildings. But other than the cars driving the streets, all was quiet. It reminded me of the 1970s movie, Omega Man. I was the only human as far as I could see. Was everyone inside? What was going on? (A New England mill town has more foot traffic downtown on a Saturday afternoon.)
After an hour and a half of having the sidewalks to myself, I encountered an outdoor festival. It was in a small square. Everyone spoke Spanish so I couldn’t ask them about where the other people were keeping themselves. It was good to hear people though. On the last leg of my walking tour, I came into a small Chinatown area. That had a few people about, a normal amount. I stopped at a bakery for a snack but didn’t feel comfortable inquiring there about where the people in downtown kept themselves. My return route was solitary with some great rooftop views. Then I encountered another loner like me. He was a big body builder sort, sitting on a rooftop bench. I waved and said hi. He grinned and politely said, hi. While I had thought I was anxious alone, my anxiety increased when finding I was all alone with one other person. Did he feel the same way?
I’m glad I took the LA walking tour. I felt it gave me a better sense of LA than all the driving from point A to point B. In addition to the walking tour, I recommend visiting the LA County Art Museum and the adjacent LaBrea tar pits. Archeology and art are in a line so that if you start with archeology, you will stay in chronological and alphabetical order. (If either of those matter, it works.) And do see the expansive Getty Villa, a lavish art museum near Santa Monica Beach, a great destination if you find yourself with some free time to spend in LA. Otherwise, head directly for San Francisco!
TATTOO—Journeys on My Mind by Tina Marie L. Lamb
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