A (short) Day in China town

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It’s funny to think that even though I live in LA, I never really “go” to LA. Nobody from the valley really ever takes time out of their schedules to go Downtown or really anything much past Santa Monica unless they truly must. But ever since I started taking my California Literature and Landscape english class this semester, I’ve realized that I really haven’t been taking advantage of the awesome place I live, so my friend Hannah and I went to China town today to make up for it.IMG_8613

Note the juxtaposition between the age-old, Chinese, memorial archway and newly-started construction right behind it. The aesthetic of this culturally and historically significant, beautiful architecture is totally being ruined by the obnoxious, unfinished creations behind: incongruous and oh-so-typical of Los Angeles.

This was the cheesiest sentence I may have ever written and it is totally due to my Chaminade lit classes rubbing off on me, sorry. s/o Derreatha Juarez you’re the best.

Because we are such ditz’s Hannah and I failed to realize that it was probably not a good idea to hit up China town on Memorial Day, when everybody closes everything. So, we walked into the central plaza to find rando locals sitting on benches, a couple shops open, and ourselves looking like two lost white girls with a big camera in downtown LA. The upside was that we purchased cute, 65 cent paper lanterns in neon orange and pink colors that will be absolutely adorable hung up on strings in our dorm rooms (thank you to myself for having such a fantastic eye to see potential in things). The shop we bought them from smelled like old antiques and soaps and the man at the registrar was passionately lip syncing to all of the latest radio hits such as Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off” with the occasional head bob and groove.

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I took this picture before Hannah grabbed me to pull me back on the sidewalk because cars were getting angry that I was not walking in the cross walk but instead doing the only logical thing any person would do in the middle of the street: take a picture of your feet.

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This is a collection of plastic toy peoples that were for sale in popstar lip-syncing man’s store. Is it just me or is it possibly like totally potentially racist and stereotypical that he decided to label this group of toys, “Homies” when they look like they are all black or Hispanic?? As much as Los Angeles is considered a melting pot, I’d say it’s much more accurate to call it a kantha quilt of patches. Imagine this: all the different patches of fabric are like the different races and backgrounds of Angelenos. Each patch is a clumped up area of where that nation of peoples resides in Los Angeles and they are all separated by stitching, or freeways and streets and cities, yet overall they each call Los Angeles, or their quilt, home. Wow that analogy rocked. A grid of downtown demographics would show how CLEARLY dissected downtown Los Angeles is based on culture/race. It is so interesting and remarkable that even to this day, nations of peoples and their cultures are thriving and ever-present in specific parts of LA just as much as they were the day these people immigrated here and settled roots. 3 minutes out of China town and the people walking the streets are no longer those who have ancestry in China but in the Philippines or Mexico or Korea; walking in downtown LA is like visiting one hundred different countries within a 20-mile radius!

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As we drove back home I had Hannah quickly try to take some snaps of the people along the streets. I think we were entering an area of town around or near or even possibly considered to be Skid Row because there was a ridiculous amount of homelessness and evident poverty. It was so sad to see homeless people lying on the ground during the middle of the day with nothing better to do and lined up tents underneath freeway overpasses that people considered to be their homes and people across the streets suffering in the sun trying to sell cheap food and toys to probably pay for their rent. This income gap is not something you can really understand until you go into the city and see for yourself; I would talk about the vast distinction between rich Beverly Hills plastic surgery patients and homeless Angelenos in my California Culture essays, but it was all just nonsense I thought I understood. Seeing this really makes you shocked and sad and enlightened to this horrible reality. We live in an area of LA that is so nice and so clean that it’s like we are pretending this part of LA doesn’t exist, and most of the time we forget it even does.

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^ cute Asian couple sitting on a bench in China town! I think they got mad I took this picture oopst

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This is actually a Japanese jacket but I thought it would still be a cute accessory, plus it matched my vintage, beaded white, green and pink purse! This is definitely my new favorite jacket: it’s reversible (the other side is dark blue and white and has a different design with tigers on it) and it is vintage and I got it at the Rose Bowl Flea market!!! I thought it was like one of those signature pieces you would see the main guy in a movie wear and then everybody would want to find a replica or wear something like it for Halloween and then everybody would be like, “oh hey you’re dressed up like that guy from that movie!” Not only cute but also iconic. So OBVIOUSLY I had to buy it. And hopefully next time I go to China town and downtown it’s not a holiday weekend and Hannah and I don’t rush back to Calabasas to eat Sugar Fish like the spoiled, white valley girls that we are.

~ xoxo Ali ~

2 thoughts on “A (short) Day in China town

  1. beautiful post! i really want to go there soon :) love your jacket!
    thesartorialcoquette.com
    instagram: the_ch1ara

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