Sunday, June 21, 2015

City of Contrasts

$16.95 Monday night prime rib at the Smoke House
is a nice bonus of living in Toluca Lake.
I went to Downtown LA a week ago, looking for a fabric shop. I rant into a massive bong district instead. Wholesale bongs, blocks of them. Who knew? Not me.

I am skeptical of Downtown. I hear people singing its praises, talking about its great restaurants. Well, great restaurants are generally wasted on me. I travel alone, seldom having the occasion to sample the wares at a place with a rep and a line. Grit and sketchiness might be wasted on me too. Been there, done that, these days preferring a bit of pleasantness.

But I still went ahead and booked a stay there. I have to laugh--my first reaction was "Well, this is sketchy," and yet I still booked June 29th to July 8th in an AirBnB in DTLA. I wanted to give it a shot, see what people are raving about. Maybe I'll even go to one of the restaurants if I can find one where I can eat at the bar.

I moved from Toluca Lake to Studio City yesterday. The aesthetics are questionable. Toluca Lake is lovely, and the apartment I'm staying in is an upscale version of Oakwood. It's very beige. And yet, it's nice to be anonymous. I left the breakfast dishes in the sink this morning and walked up the hill to CityWalk, a ridiculous fake city sponsored by chain restaurants. I wanted to see Mad Max while it's still in theaters--my trip to see Road Warrior when I was 16 blew my little teenage mind, as did Escape from New York and Dawn of the Dead. I didn't want to miss it.

And afterwards, as I walked the length of the fake city, past the fountain, then walked down the hill to where the serviced apartments overlooks the swimming pool, I couldn't help but contrast the movie with the reality of drought-stricken LA. I don't know what to make of it. I added money to my metro TAP card and noticed my card expires in 2025.

I sure as hell hope I'm not here in 2025. But for while I'm here, I'm going to try out different neighborhoods and enjoy the adventure of living somewhere new and full of bongs and sketchiness. Or whatever each region might bring.  

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