Views through the barbed wire

While the kids were splashing away their last summer moments before going back to school this week, I was sweating over on the east side of L.A., on a little visit back to my old neighborhood of Silver Lake and surrounds.  I confess it took me about three weeks to make it back up to the old ‘hood.  I wanted to feel as prepared as possible to confront the madness that is inter-tangled freeways, LCD screen billboards, and parking signage that could qualify for a jigsaw puzzle.

To initiate the dive back in I hopped on the new foot path (completed in my absence) that rounds the Silver Lake reservoir- the body of water responsible for one of the reasons I managed to live 18 miles inland from the coast.  And I can say…it’s still blue!  You never know.  Surprisingly, with the remnants of the Station fire still hanging thick in the air, I was embraced by the green and blue that this neighborhood is, to me.  Gorgeous cactus gardens and slightly unkempt greens spring forth from cutesy craftsman homes from the ‘30s tucked into the hills and valleys of this topography.  Tasteful post-modern architectural gems are camouflaged by their natural wood coloring amongst taller trunks. And as your eye pans the hilly view, a hot pink or canary yellow house jumps out in eccentricity, reminding you that this is the city’s other gay friendly neighborhood or alternatively, that the Mexican piñata at Casa Jimenez exploded it’s color rosado onto the building’s façade.

At high noon as I circled round the reservoir in my workout gear, I was greeted by other smiling walkers, little dogs and their owners, and what’s this?  A water fountain with some doggy water bowls next to it. I noticed which shops along the main drag have changed hands and the others that are simply no longer standing.

Pink in the face myself (from the walk, not the piñata) I made it over to my old favorite, the Café Tropical, where their coffee’s caffeine plunges you into the deep end.  I thumbed the pages of the L.A. Weekly with a sigh of resignation over all of the concerts and shows I simply won’t be able to attend, but also with a contented satisfaction for how much is going on in this mad city.

Later in the day I marveled at the billboard for chile and lime Cheetos (en Español), overheard a conversation about some script getting sold and a different one about the air quality this weekend.  Extras from a film shoot were huddled under a bridge seeking shade.  I stepped on sidewalks littered with more dirty gum rounds than stars visible in the L.A. night sky.  A helicopter buzzed overhead and the Goodyear blimp made his appearance for the Dodger fans in the distance.   The tap tap of the espresso container dumped its used grounds to fill up for another drinker.

Not too long from now, I’ll hear that lovely victory chant at the close of a Laker game, “We Love L.A.”

An urban postcard

An urban postcard

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~ by maureenmoore on September 8, 2009.

2 Responses to “Views through the barbed wire”

  1. hello my love. I am really enjoying your writing. you should be writing more travel articles or even a book, honestly. I love :…coffess caffeine plunges you into the deep end 🙂 (and you are right coffee in san cristobel is gt)
    And the kids ‘splashing away last summer moments….’ is lovely ( but you dont need to add : before going back to school, because the beauty is the simplicity of the line, and we know what you meant because of the word ‘last’, it says it all.) only line that does not sit right with me is: I stepped on sidewalks littered with more dirty gum rounds than stars visible in the L.A. night sky – because its too laboured/hardwork for me.
    I am so enjoying having time to do things like read your blog. if you dont want me to make comments about what works and does not work for me, then please say, really. xxx big hug and keep writing.

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