I used to think LA didn't have a skyline.
Ignorance is embarrassing.
I drove toward the skyscrapers in the horizon.
The Bradbury Building
A historic landmark designed by a self-taught architect after guidance from the deceased through a planchette board. Its design came from a 19th century sci-fi book.
Ornate ironwork, pink bricks, lacquered wood.
La Cage aux Folles elevators to a glass ceiling.
Featured extensively in Blade Runner.
Grand Central Market
Where the hungry and the picky unite.
Tacos, oysters, pupus, currywurst, bento boxes, bbq, ramen, pizza, ice cream, c'mon order something already.
The Last Bookstore
Walked through the book cave.
Perused the true crime vault.
Opted for a 45 by The Snowplows.
"Schussing Parts 1 & 2" (1964)
Surf meets ski.
I knew it existed.
But I was not prepared for what I saw.
It is real and it is intense.
Blocks and blocks of tattered tents.
Squalor, addiction, mental illness - out in the open.
A third world just blocks from the nearest Starbucks.
Truly eye opening.
Couldn't bring myself to take any pics.
However, there seemed a sense of community.
Groups gathered on corners, others kept to themselves.
A guy tossed a fedora high into the air.
It boomeranged right back to his palm.
I walked the periphery and felt a sense that I didn't belong.
So I pressed on to The Toy District.
The Toy District
What? There's a district named after toys? Yes.
A garish maze of wholesale merchants hawking all things cheap from the Pacific Rim.
Stuffed animals, party supplies, radio controlled novelties.
They took a portion of skid row, painted it pink and blue, and turned it into a strange, straggly wonderland.
The oldest part of downtown Los Angeles.
I strolled down its rich Spanish - albeit touristy - heritage.
Wrestling masks, candles, bajas, sandals.
Scored a half dozen confetti eggs.
A dance was happening in the plaza.
I remain quite taken by this gentleman's spirit.