Today was Exploration Day! Its been about a month and a half since getting back from Hawaii, and I hadn’t been on the metro to explore yet. If you don’t know this already, a big hobby of mine is to abandon my car for awhile, buy a $5 day-pass, and ride the LA metro systems to wherever they take me. It’s a practice of abandon, of letting the world run its course. Like others from Southern Cali, I had this nasty tendency to live fast- too fast. I’d miss the beauty that surrounds me. About this time last year, I was immobile, had no car, could barely walk, and was forced to stop, go slow, and let the earth move on its own. So I started looking at SoCal differently, and with more appreciation. This blog was then born.
A year later, I’ve decided to leave my car at the end of the Expo line in Culver City, and take trains and busses to meet a friend in the San Gabriel valley. Those who really know me,
know I HATE the valleys (san Fernando and San Gabriel) with a passion, mostly because it gets scorching hot in the summer time in the valleys. At Culver, one could already see the beginning of the add-on to Santa Monica, which will be done in 2016. Into Los Angeles, I reminisced about bacon-wrapped street dogs, people walking their cats, celebrities trying to hide from people. From the 7th Street Metro Station, I transferred onto the Red Line toward Union Station. From Union Station, I got onto the Gold Line toward Mission in South Pasadena. On our way past China town and East LA, there was fresh street art in the river basins. Street art makes me all warm and fuzzy… and so did the guy sitting across from me…. hello cute hipster-iphone-game-player…. the things I’d do to your sideburns…
Finally, I stepped off the train and into the heat. Okay, it wasn’t so bad this time BUT it’s still the valley. Walking up Mission street, toward Fair Oaks, I noticed this was a quaint row of shops, boutiques, antique stores and restaurants, dotted with a pub and yoga studio here and there. Actually, this place was nice! I browsed through an antique store, and saw a young couple perusing the clothing. They were both dressed in vintage 40s/50s style clothing with the matching hair and such. A slight part of me wanted to be jelly at their cuteness but eh, I like being single. Right next door, there was this super different restaurant- specializing in grilled cheese sandwiches and cereal. Cereal. Only in LA would you find a shop for gourmet cereal. The fat kid in me leaped for joy! Next time, Ill have to stop in.
Walking about 4 blocks, I passed a Farmers Market, several more antique stores, and some elderly people on a bench. I caught the 762 bus toward Alhambra, then transferred to the 78 at Main and Atlantic toward San Gabriel. The dry heat reminded me I was definitely out of my beach element. Looking around as I headed to my stop at Mission and Las Tunas, I noticed something: China China everywhere and not a sign to read haha… This area of California is mos def populated with Chinese and Vietnamese communities. Pho, Boba, Chinese bakeries, tea houses abound. I was supposed to meet a friend around there, but didn’t know exactly where until I came across Whatever. Literally, Whatever Café. GENIUS name, by the way. Thankfully their AC was up. My friend arrived on crutches, as he hurt his ankle playing basketball a few months ago. Poor thing, I could tell he was getting depressed about it- it reminded me of how I felt when I was on crutches a year ago. We chatted while I got a boba tea, then wobbled across the street to a pho place. He had never had pho and I was appalled. “You LIVE in Asian central!” I said. He shrugged, “I dunno, it never crossed my mind to eat out here.” ~Sigh~ He clearly needs to get out of his element of funk that’s been layered on since his injury. While talking, I, OF COURSE, analyzed him- mannerisms, parts of speech, etc etc… And a small thought crept into my mind… should I take on another project? By “project”, I mean Project “Clean the Guy Up”, similar to what I originally did with my ex when I first met him. Then, as fast as that thought came, it passed. No, No more projects. He’s cool as he is. Even though he could use a shave and a haircut. We must’ve spent a couple hours just catching up and talking about school plans. As he spoke, I realized he was wearing a jacket. In the heat. Under the sun. Jokingly, I told him, “Dude, you don’t have to make weight, whats up with the sweater?” “I dunno, it’s comfortable.” uhhhh k. To each his own.
Back on the 78 bus toward Union Station, a hipster, in his early 20s got onto the bus from a stop. Immediately, he caught my attention- he was holding a flag. A 6-foot pole with a bright orange silk, I knew he was in colorguard. My nerdy past includes doing years of competitive colorguard, in and out of high school. “DIAMANTE?” I asked him, and he stopped, snapped his eyes to me, and shrieked, “OMG YESSSS!!! HOW DID YOU KNOW?!!!” HAHAHAAAAAA…. Im such a nerd… we talked about colorguard, coaching, going back to the circuit, coaches we’ve had, teams we’ve coached, teammates we’ve spun with, old and new gossip in the CG world all the way to the station until we had to part trains. What a small world. Another sign that I’m going in the right direction with my life.