my last 48 hours have been full of eclectic culture. here's the run-down, in brief (i'll write more about a few of these later):
- incredible ethiopian food for dinner at merkato in l.a.'s little ethiopia.
- followed by a run up beverly and sunset to the echo where we hoped to catch dr. dog in concert. the show was, unfortunately, sold out. but driving through the neighborhood and hanging out in front of the club for an hour gave me a taste of the l.a. hipster crowd.
- topped off with a conversation about the relativism of cultural values and right and wrong.
- a day spent perusing photos ranging from the 1930s to the 1970s. just think of the biggest game of concentration you've ever seen, in which i try to remember miniscule details in order to sort a few hundred photos of people i don't know. it was an interesting tour through 20th century clothing, interior decorating, and automobiles.
- dinner at the house of blues, with a predominately southern flair: pan-seared voodoo shrimp with rosemary corn bread, cajun meatloaf with mashed potatoes, sweet potato fries, chocolate cake, and raspberry apple breadpudding (and a few samplings of ribs, fried chicken, and jambalaya).
- stephen stills in concert at the house of blues with a crowd made up mostly of aging hippies and 60s protesters.
- ending with a middle-of-the-night stop at the kwik-e-mart at venice and sepulveda. alas, they were out of buzz cola and krusty-o's, but we did enjoy blue squishees and pink donuts with sprinkles.
- a drive across the west side of l.a. and into downtown.
- my first trip to a raumen shop. daikokuya in l.a.'s little tokyo (the geffen contemporary is in little tokyo). it's supposed to be the best raumen shop in l.a. i loved it.
- followed by a stop in fugetsu-do for mochi. this place has been in business, owned and operated by the same family, since 1903. i got one white mochi with strawberry inside and one lime mochi. delicious.
- another long drive across town, this time ending up at the beverly center. think enormous shopping mall. i wanted to try on a dress JP pointed out to me in a catalog. found the dress but it fit funny, so i didn't indulge.
you can see that it's been a wild mix of foods, places, and experiences the last few days. as i was driving back across town this afternoon, i was thinking about the simple variety of experiences and it struck me that such variety is perfectly representative of l.a. as a city. i've spent a lot of time in london (lived there for four months), boston (lived there for a year), d.c. (visited so many times i couldn't count), and new york (annual visits for about five years running). and i don't think any of them is quite as eclectic as l.a. while they certainly all offer amazing diversity and a huge variety of experiences--as much variety as l.a.--, they all have something of a unified feel to them. boston is historic. new york is colossal. d.c. is governmental. london is cultured. los angeles is eclectic.
now i realize none of those cities can be reduced to a single word. i know they're all wonderfully various. but none of them has quite the same feeling of hundreds of disparate elements together forming a single metropolis that l.a. does. i love that about l.a. the diversity that is just there without necessarily calling attention to itself. like a city cobbled together out of anything at hand, refusing to be classified or even to fit an idea of what a city is.