I’ve never really like LA. I suppose this is a confession, but not surprising from a woman who grew up in Portland, Oregon. I could list all the reasons I’ve never enjoyed Los Angeles, the cultural clash that caused a cognitive dissonance.
But that would overshadow another confession I feel compelled to make –
I also kind of like LA.
I should clarify – I like pockets of LA. The distinct neighborhoods that patchwork together into the gigantic urban sprawl quilt that makes up Los Angeles. Temple City, on the eastern edge where my aunt lives, is a perfect example. Once upon a time created as a suburb for affluent whites, it’s now a changing tapestry of ethnic groups, currently a mix of Asian cultures. Elders gather in the park to practice synchronized tai chi and coffee shops serve sushi. It may take an hour by bus to get downtown or three agonizing hours to get to Griffith Park (I cannot fathom how long public transit would have taken to get to Santa Monica – I didn’t try), but it was eye-opening to live in a Los Angeles that exists beyond the typical tourist fare of Hollywood and crowded beaches.
My LA is the jaw-dropping collection of The Huntington Library in Pasadena, with everything from pivotal astronomical first editions to hand-written drafts of Jack London’s White Fang to a Gutenberg Bible on display.
My LA is a satisfying bowl of udon in a Little Tokyo restaurant tucked away in a shopping center and crowded with Japanese-Americans expertly slurping noodles with chopsticks.
My LA is stumbling across Last Bookstore, a den of the written word brushing shoulders with tacky pawn shops and run-down grande dames of theater.
I still wouldn’t live here, but I might visit more often.
To view my photo slide show, click on the link: Los Angeles, May 2015