Because I don't know when to stop, this is a continuation of the previous post, regarding Travel + Leisure Magazine Readers disliking Los Angeles traffic and the unfriendly, non-intelligent people.
I may not be intelligent and I may sit in traffic, but I'm not freezing my ass off in January, am I? Nope. As a matter of fact I spent an entire weekend, from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon, loving everything I experienced under LA's blue skies. Here's a little synopsis accompanied by smog-less photos:
Friday Night - Friends invited my husband and me over for smoked jalapenos stuffed with shrimp and cheese!!! AND the juiciest, butteriest, most-tender Chateubriand steaks I've ever had! Hmmm... He's from Oklahoma and she's from Minnesota. Thank God they moved to this smog-filled land of the shallow, if not - my tastebuds would have never experienced such barbecue nirvana.
Saturday Afternoon- My husband and I needed to take a trip to Long Beach to repair his bass bow. On the way, we stopped at MVP's Grill and Patio for tasty burgers. People sat at tables outside in the sun, eating and laughing. Then we passed through Belmont Shore - where people were lunching, skateboarding, bike riding and shopping - and drove through to the amazingly serene slice of paradise that is Naples Island. (My mental note: Make wads of money immediately. I must live here.) We walked along the walkway above the canal, as residents out enjoying the sun smiled and said "Hello!" See, proof that there are plenty of friendly people in Los Angeles County beyond the traffic filled streets and Hollywood Boulevard.
Sunday Morning: I opened the Daily News to see Sandra Tsing Loh, one of my favorite authors - an intelligent woman who hasn't fled LA - as a matter of fact, she lives in the Valley...And!!! She's even daring to raise her children here. Can you imagine? From what I read, she relishes that East Coasters and others find us shallow, it just gives her more writing material. After reading the paper, I went to Encino Farmers Market. If anyone wants to see smiling Angelenos (technically, Los Angeles County residents), watch us when were surrounded with fresh, colorful fruit and vegetables; or artisan breads and cheeses under the warm sun. People were hugging, waving, sampling fudge, honey, tangerines, cheese and whatever else was available.
The man I bought my garlic cheddar from travels the country looking for artisan cheeses. I revealed to him that one of my secret fantasies (beside living in Naples Island) is to travel the world trying the best artisanal foods and then getting paid to write about them and the people I meet. We both laughed and he nodded enthusiastically, because that's every food-lovers fantasy: to eat good food and get paid to do it. I then met the best salesman at the entire market - he's only eight, but had me at "1 bag of nuts for four dollars and two for seven!" And then he gave me a long list of why my life would be lacking if I didn't walk away with some pistachios or barbecue almonds. Okay, not really, but I was sold. It might have been his sweet smile and his cute giggle when I asked if he knew where I could find an ATM (see photo below.)
Next, I went home and made lunch for my family with my farmers market bounty: melted garlic cheddar on warm, fragrant garlic-herb bread, with the most amazingly sweet and juicy tomatoes, charred jalapenos, onion sprouts and Dijon mustard. It was heaven on a plate!!
Satisfied, I walked my beautiful dog, whose love I am not worthy, into the afternoon sun. We stood at the top of Pierce College, looking over the rolling green hills with red barns, burly black cows and scampering goats, and all I could think is, Well, if I'm not intelligent for living in Los Angeles, I'll just have to deal with that.
Post Note: It's true we have a lot of traffic and way too many paved over patches of green. That's why we, in Los Angeles, need and appreciate our state parks so much. So it's disgusting to think that Arnold Schwarzennegger is threatening to close 43 of our state parks. Arnold, are you nuts? These patches of green are our refuges!! What are you going to lock up next, our beaches?