Approximately 11.5 miles northeast of Los Angeles is one of my most favorite places in Southern California: The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens. Encompassing 207 acres of land in the San Gabriel Valley, it is an Olympic feat to see it all in one day.
As a tribute to the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 2020 World Series run, I recall the moment I fell in love with the Blue Crew.
By birthright, I was told to pledge allegiance to the Cuban League team of Los Almendares, never the Habana baseball club. Later in my youth I was instructed to support our Cuban prince, José Canseco, and cheer on the Oakland A’s, even though we took great offense when he didn’t show up to his own street naming in Miami. Then, when Florida got a team it was all Marlins, all the time. It was the congeniality of Mr. Marlin Jeff Conine, the drama of Alex Fernandez’s torn rotator cuff, and the mantra of “I love Miami,” by Liván Hernández after the unlikely 1997 World Series win. They broke up the team and broke our collective hearts, but then in 2003, they brought back Conine and added Mike Lowell and a young pitcher named Josh Beckett and struck gold again, this time against the Yankees. I remember hitting pots and pans all night on 49th Street in Hialeah. And I remember the team and my heart being broken again. So, I gave up on baseball all together…until I moved to the City of Angels.
As a kid, I remember watching the Rose Bowl Parade on our very non-HD, barely color and monstrously boxy television set. I could hardly hear the announcers’ color commentary over my mother’s “¡Mira pa’ eso!” “¡Que cosa más bella Dios mio! ” and “Como inventan los Americanos.”
Now I get to send her text messages with crisp photos, inches away from the floats.
There is something magical about this place. The beach, the cliffs, the flowers, the trees. They all conspire together to thumb its nose at Los Angeles. Yet, Santa Barbara doesn’t need to be compared to another city to be better than. It earns that distinction on its own. If money and means were available to me, it’s where I would call home…at least part of the year.
Photo Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images North America
No other place in L.A. personifies the word chanchullo like Hollywood Boulevard.
Half of the tourists are looking down at the names immortalized in thin gold letters, the other half are looking up for a glimpse at the world-famous Hollywood sign, meanwhile Batman and Elvis are desperately trying to get those distracted people to take a picture with them for a dollar or two. Over the music that blares from stores, street performers and musicians, there are approximately 3 tour companies on every block that try to get you to listen to their pitch as they hand you a brochure. And they are competing for attention and turf space, not with each other, but with Scientologists and Christians who also like to hand out pamphlets and Bibles, while inviting you to take a personality test or warn you about hell. The homeless panhandle everyone, except the occasional camera crew, as they know to stay out of their shot.
Photo credit: Adoramassey – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0
I speak English and Spanish separately and together, as well as broken Italian, elementary French and can utter two phrases in German. Yet none of these linguistic tools are absolutely any use to me in Southern California. Every sign across every highway, and every street in every city is pronounced exactly opposite of how it naturally comes out of my mouth.
By CrispyCream27 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0
An hour from Los Angeles, you’ll “leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy” for about two hundred bucks and a mean sunburn.
The city of Temecula is a little under two hours away from LA, which is also the exact amount of time you’ll need to exhaust all of the culo jokes you can come up with.
originally published June 2015
In a few weeks, I will embark on my most ambitious road trip thus far: An epic 40-hour, 2,700-mile journey from Miami to Los Angeles — in a Fiat.
Richard Nixon was a congressman, a senator, a two-term vice-president, a near two-term president, and an adviser to the presidents after him. He was also the first president to resign. All of these are facts I knew thanks to my seventh grade civics report on the 37th POTUS. Years later through movies, books and the Pentagon Papers, I learned that he was racist and paranoid, he held grudges and was grossly power-hungry. Basically he was tremendo H.P.
In 1956, Nat King Cole traveled to Cuba to perform at Tropicana, but he couldn’t stay at Hotel Nacional because of the color of his skin.
That same year, 1956, the iconic Capitol Records building was completed. A thirteen-story, earthquake-resistant tower that was the world’s first circular office building. And its nickname became “The House That Nat Built,” because it was he who put the record label on the map.
Among the very many things to do in Los Angeles is to drive down Carroll Avenue in the neighborhood of Echo Park.