It got up into the 90s yesterday, at least in the parts of town where I spent my afternoon. There was a slight breeze though and it felt good.
Now I am fully aware that in these days of global warming and high gas prices, driving around, simply looking at stuff is politically incorrect. But that's one of the things I most like to do. Sure, the world your kids are going to get old in will be worse for it, but, well, so sue me.
One of the running themes of the book I'm currently working on - tentatively titled "Shanghaied," is the age old excuse of: "If I wasn't doing it, someone else would." I would like to go on record as saying that I think that excuse is a crock of shit. The book makes fun of people who use it. But, well, any claim I may have ever made on perfection is increasingly laughable as I get older. And wiser, of course.
So I cruised around yesterday. My first destination was my favorite freeway interchange in the city. The elegant, soaring curves of the 110 and 105 mashup. Luckily, there's a MetroLink rail station smack in the middle of it, so I was able to wander around and shoot pictures. I need to go back when the light's better though, around sunrise or sunset.
Then it was time for lunch. I started driving east on Imperial Highway toward Plaza Mexico on the western edge of Norwalk. There's a big goat taco place there, right in between The Gap and a Ritmo Latino CD store. But along the way I passed The Slater Market and Hawkins House of Burgers. It looked too good to pass up. Turned out that it was. It's been there since 1952, which is how long I've been here, too. It was cheap, the burger was fantastic, my conversation with a couple of regulars who've been hanging out at the place for many years was interesting. I'm going to have to go back for soul food one of these weekends. (It's at the corner of Slater and Imperial Highway, south side of the street, just a few blocks east of Central Ave.)
Then I cruised up Main Street back into downtown, past the several blocks of furiously competitive goat taco stands - but I was full at that point, so I didn't stop. I went all the way past Chinatown to the LAX-C Market at 1100 N. Main. It's an old wholesale market, decorated with murals of Native Americans shooting arrows from horseback. Imagine, if you will, a Thai Costco. That's what it is. It is as big, if not bigger than any Costco I've ever been to, and it is entirely Thai (and some other Southeast Asian) food, cookware and household products. It is open for retail. Someone was grilling satay in the parking lot. Kids were tormenting the giant fish in the moat that runs along the front of the place. No one was speaking English. I felt right at home. It's Los Angeles.
Then I went home, where the garden has gone apeshit.
There aren't a whole lot of other places in the world where you can do all this in the course of a few hours.