Wednesday, April 2, 2014


One thing I certainly didn't expect to happen was how social Mr. E and I become once we moved to Los Angeles. We both prefer to hermit ourselves away at home, tinkering with our books and movies, but there is just so much to DO in LA we'd be remiss if we didn't enjoy it all. But sometimes the hanger takes over and you just can't enjoy yourself without food.

That's how we ate Greek fusion pitas at the Chinese New Year Parade in Chinatown.
We should have known that streets would be closed off- it was a parade after all. But we're new to this sort of thing and the streets of LA have a mischievous nature to them in the first place, full of hidden side streets and colorful expletives when you take the wrong turn. The tall buildings wink their bright windows at you in laughter and you quickly learn to avoid taking anything car-related personally.

The Catholic church we parked at was truly a haven in our time of need- both in (nearness) and in price. Any Angeleno will tell you that $8/day is an absolute steal. If we had lived any closer I would have parked our car their overnight on a regular basis. We followed the crowds down streets, around school buses, over and under bridges until we came to what we assumed was the end of the parade. The floats seemed sad and exhausted, more Mexican skirt-dancing children than dragon puppets and the ground was littered with the impressive aftermath of poppers and streamers.
We braved the throngs and walked single file against the current following the parade. I kept a firm hand on Mr. E's arm and a tight grip on my phone, trying to take pictures one-handed. I had never been to Chinatown and the shops beckoned with their foliage fronts and tiny animal cages. Would you like to buy a turtle? A song bird? Fresh vegetables out of soggy cardboard boxes? A knock-off bamboo hat, the only time Made in China makes you wonder if it's truly authentic.
We passed from restaurant to restaurant, feeling much like Mary and Joseph- driven by my midsection and turned away at the door. An hour wait was too long when you're surrounded with the smell of pork bao and chicken dumplings. The plaza was thick with people, but what struck you most of all was the color- the brightly painted walls and doors, the lanterns hung haphazard across roofs and bits of paper exploded periodically as late-comers paid $3 for a three-foot confetti cannon. I bought two buns and a donut-type confection covered in sugar and the size of my two fists, paid the young girl  behind the hastily erected table as she munched on an egg bun.
But a bun or two will never be enough to satisfy my husband's bottomless pit of a stomach and we were really intent on fully immersing ourselves in culture, but the day was long, the noise was loud and the food trucks were just so...available. They lined up like quaint little houses in the back alley, humming and whirring and emitting such lovely aromas you wanted to kidnap a food-truck-chef and bring them home because my kitchen is at least the same size so they wouldn't mind, right?
So we caved and congratulated ourselves on at least getting off the couch today, and look at all the walking we did plus food trucks are cheaper than Chinese sit-down restaurants. We munched our too-hot-pitas back the way we came, the streets quickly and forcefully being cleared of pedestrians so the street cleaners could hoover and sweep and spray all the litter away like it never happened, or maybe just happened last week. We held our noses past the bridge because the beginning and the endings always smell like pee- it's downtown, folks- and although we were really looking forward to seeing our pup again, we detoured to the church grounds because it demanded our attention in the setting sun.
And this is how I know my husband loves me most, because he'll suffer through an entire day on his feet, eat strange foods and watch strange people, tolerate the monster I become when I'm hungry and sit and smile as I sit in the passenger seat and sing my heart out, just so happy to have all of this.

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Mrs. E