Will the waiter do anything to be in the movies?
18.05.2012 - 18.05.2012 23 °C
Room 251, Doubletree, San Pedro, CA.
Saturday 19 May 2012
Last time we were in Los Angeles, (DON'T call it LA, the locals don't like, whoever they may be) and the time before that, and the..... we meant to go to El Pueblo de Los Angeles, the original part of LA (whoops, don't tell the locals).
This time we went. But before that, we'd also heard about the "Grand Central Market" and decided to visit that. All of this is in, or on the edge of Downtown LA (I give up). For those who have not visited, Downtown LA is like Downtown in many other big American Cities with big 30s office blocks (mostly restored but empty, very sad) flash modern blocks, plus lots of Bag People and empty blocks, used as parking lots. But this means you can park for only $6 for the day.
Central Market is the market Mazarrón should have had. To be fair, perhaps Mazarrón is not big enough to support such a market but, because it's surrounded by Hispanic areas, it feels like a great, bustling Spanish mercado with a good sprinkling of Koreans and Chinese.
It was FABULOUS! In the old days, we were always a bit nervous of Hispanic areas but now it feels just like home. And speaking Spanish gets you far.
Wander a bit further through Downtown
you come to the Civic Center with the City Hall, and Federal & City Courts.
These have all been cleaned and restored and some very posh looking gardens and parks are being laid out and planted
One building which was semi-derelict last time we saw it, was important during our youth. For why? Here's a clue:-
Aaah, Perry Mason. That window is one of the iconic windows of the old City Courthouse that used to be shown in the opening credits. We just read the building is now being converted into luxury condos.
Hands up who knew Raymond Burr was gay?
Anyway, we digress. Past the Civic Center and we came to the old pueublo and what may well have been the original mission around which this city grew:-
There was a whole bunch of school kids. There to visit a schools art exhibition which we visited and were really impressed by the high quality. All of the names, of course, were Hispanic and many reflected the tough upbringing they must be experiencing.
On then to marvellously preserved, Art Deco, Union Station. Via which the Movie stars travelled to and from New York, or wherever. It's still, very unusually, a very busy railway station. The only part not in use is the massive booking hall.
We then walked a long hot way (a few ounces lost, maybe?) back to the car. Then onto Manic Highway 101, northwards.
It pays to be fitted with blinkers when driving on LA freeways. The traffic on up to 12 lanes is of more than M25 proportions, running continuously and each junction brings sudden tailbacks as cars join and leave, and freeways merge. It's a matter of heads down and hanging on to your bit of tarmac (sorry, blacktop).
This was to get to the top of Topanga Canyon, home to the aging hippies from the 60s and 70s music and movie scenes, including Neil Young, who still lives there, Dennis Hopper who doesn't, given that he's dead, The Doors, Linda Ronstadt etc.
A nice drive back to the Ocean, where we stumbled upon Paul Getty's beach hut:-
We were looking for somewhere for an early dinner but could not find anywhere. So we put "Denny's" into the navigator and it took us back to Culver City. We had decided to avoid Dennys for anything other than breakfast. But it turned out to be excellent and cheap, served by an extremely pleasant young Hispanic waiter who clearly wants to be in the movies. I wondered if he thought we were two English film producers. Anyway, he certainly looked after us!
"Cranberry Apple Chicken Salad. Grilled seasoned chicken breast, glazed pecans, apple slices and dried cranberries atop a bed of crisp spring mix. Served with balsamic vinaigrette and dinner bread. "
"Sweet & Tangy BBQ Chicken. Two grilled seasoned chicken breasts smothered in our Sweet & Tangy BBQ sauce. Served with smoked Cheddar mashed potatoes, fiesta corn and dinner bread."
Oh, on the way, we spotted this classic motel. Puts you in the mood for Route 66.
Right, time for tonight's salad! See you soon. Off to the California desert tomorrow.