Saturday, February 18, 2012

My LA: Whirlwind Through the City

A MAN gazes confusingly across the stage and at the tape recorder across his neck, he is trying to remember who he is, where he is and what he was doing just a second ago. The widely diverse audience gazes either confusingly back at him or are stunned and in awe at the rare beauty of this thought invoking performance piece.

Cinnamon rolls, cheese filled turnovers, croissants, cakes, cookies, fresh baked goods of all kinds stare at you and you can hear them through the display case that they are just begging you to eat them.

The smell of dirt, sweat dripping from old men and delicious food being cooked fill your nostrils. Crowds mingle throughout the field, some weaving by you some plowing through, and all with the same goal in mind, pick a truck. With over fifty food trucks there is much decision making to be done. One of them immediately draws attention with over fifty people in line while the rest remain unattended. I quickly realize the line is because of the infamous “Grilled Cheese Truck” and I hop in line behind the rest, because well I love cheese. My mother asks me what the hype is about and I say, “melted cheese… of course!” The people in front of us inform us that “it is really good and well worth the wait.” SO that is exactly what we do. We are joined by a alligator sausage cooked and a Creole soup from trucks nearby. We digest our delicious and greasy food and continue our day.

I scream and yell, hoping my horse will finish first, presenting me with a hefty fifty cents. I take in the mesh of people from old men circling their stacks of papers, carefully calculating choices; to families dragging coolers behind them in order to save a dollar. Then there is my family, my husband and I do this a few times a year and we have fun seeing how long our twenty dollars can last. I remind myself that I am just having fun, after a stranger taps me and informs us that we “will make no money on that bet” as he looks over our shoulders. I ignore him and my husband and I walk away down eight dollars.

Seagulls hover over fishermen and seals chase jet skis throughout the marina. We questions species of birds, which we have never seen before and start to expand our knowledge of marine wild life. We listen to the barking of the seals mixed with the motors of the boats and the squawking of the birds.

All of the above happened in one weekend in which my family and I never left Los Angeles and there was no need to and that is my Los Angeles. There are hidden gems and well-known gems and everything in between. There are dozens of sites helping people to discover their Los Angeles, such as “”, “”, “” as well as numerous blogs about people’s own personal journeys through Los Angeles.

When I first moved to Los Angeles I did not see it for what it was and I probably could have used one of those websites. However, I began to love it when my brother visited during Christmas that first year. We went to Universal Studios, we drove around looking at all of the Hollywood landmarks and explored restaurants and movie theaters, that was when I first discovered just how much there was to do. My mother visited a few weeks later and we did a few of the same things but we also went to the fashion district and ate in Little Ethiopia. Through the awe and sparkle in their eyes I began to see what LA really had to offer and the sparkle in my own eye began to shine. Los Angeles make take a while to really discover what it has to offer, but once you do it really is a giant playground that comes up with new attractions almost everyday.

--Mickala Jauregui

Caption: Marina del Rey Wildlife
Credit:  Mountainbread via Flickr Creative Commons

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