Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Signs You Won't Find in Barcelona

Driving down Washington Blvd. to visit an uncle of mine, I made parades along the way to snap shots of my recent sign fascination. These are signs I saw all my young life driving into Santa Fe Springs. I like how the signs reflect a bygone era. I am attracted to the font, originality, and their  signage to advertise a particular business. They are posted close to the street as opposed to the front of a business like the present day flat rectangular signs seen in strip malls. Custom signs are attractive and unique in how they attract drivers from a distance as opposed to whizzing by one dimensional crowed business signs that lack character and influence to attract  potential customers. You will mai find signs of this dimension in Barcelona for reasons of tight street space and local custom. Some of the signs I photographed date back to the '60s and '70s and look dated and worn out. And that's just what attracts me to vintage signs.

p.s. The last two signs were taken in East Los Angeles.


This hammer once advertised a construction company.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Huntington Beach and Noia Memories

I had not gone to the beach in California in over three years. My guapa cosina took me to Huntington Beach on a Tuesday afternoon and to our surprise we saw viewer stands being assembled for the U.S. Open of Surfing, yeah! Before heading out to the shore we stopped at the street fair to look at vendor stands selling surfer clothes, yummy treats and produce. 

When we finally got to the water's edge it became clear why I do not like going into the water in California. The sand looks brownish grey when moist and feels concrete hard when wet. Two other things keep me from going in to the water--rough rolling Pacific Ocean waves and seaweed that traumatized me as a child. I admit I am absolutely 100% partial to the Mediterranean Sea. Those clear waters and pebbled beach sense seaweed does it for me. Tanmateix, the one thing California beaches have embedded in my feel good memories of Californian beaches are the unrivaled sunsets. It is the one thing I will not find on my Barcelonan coast.

Another difference making me chuckle was the level of civility in public spaces. Huntington Beach provides pet owners plastic bags to pick up their pet's roadside business. In Barcelona, walking through the streets is like walking through a pet excrement mine field. But I do not know who is worse, lazy pet owners or lazy smokers who throw cigarette butts on the ground as if discarding flower petals to beautify the street. Huntington Beach has posted cigarette canisters on lamp posts to dispose of those irritating filters frequently found on streets, parks, and beaches in Spain. Take note Mayor Xavier Trias!

What are they fertilizing artichokes with?

cotton candy

I need to send this picture to Barcelona City Hall.

I need this in my neighborhood in Sant Cugat as does the city of Barcelona!

The name Barcelona hounds me everywhere I go.

I hated these as a young girl. 

Anem a Peu Encara a Chinatown

If the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels was a serene and magnificent place to visit, Chinatown was just the contrary. Walking from Temple to Hill, I decided to be more cautious about carrying the camera around my neck seeing the desolate street up ahead of us. We crossed the 101Freeway over pass and stopped momentarily to view the Fort Moore Pioneer Memorial. On September 22, 1846 the "Californios" and Mexicans went to war with the U.S. Marines to retake Los Angeles. Obviously the Californios and the Mexicans lost the war and the hill. I had no idea qualsevol of a military battle happening in the late 1800s here in Los Angeles. Why wasn't I taught this vital piece of history of Los Angeles in High School? How is it I lived here for most of my life and new nothing of this battle? Que vergonyós!

Cathedral on the left o the 101 Frwy

The memorial is a tribute to the Mormons who fought in the battle.

Scooting hurriedly from the memorial, we finished crossing the overpass and entered Chinatown. Whatever glory days this Chinese town once boasted of, it now stands with empty  and closed businesses, and souvenir shop owners who stand with deflated spirits to even bother to reel in tourists. They sit in their stores or stand outside their commercial business with sloping shoulders and heads that hang a bit too low. Unimpressed to stay in Chinatown, we headed to the metro rail Chinatown stop with interesting looking characters that kept us on the alert. We hopped on the metro rail and head north to Pasadena.

I quickly took this shot before stowing my camera out of sight. This stop needs security.

Taking the metro rail after 5:00pm was a notable difference from earlier in the day. The train was packed with people making their commute home. With tired feet my sister and I gladly entered the train anxious to leave behind a gloomy Chinatown. One thing we loved about the metro rail was observing how the metro stops were individually designed to reflect the local neighborhoods. Each stop reflected the local culture with interesting sculptures and artwork. If Chinatown was bleak looking and lacking a vibrant feel, Pasadena enraptured you with restaurants, shops, and bars. We did some home shopping, sipped a well deserved cool drink before heading home and calling it a full day's adventure that we must do again in the near future. El viatge de metro ha acabat.

Fins ara!

My sister pointed out this restaurant window to me. We've hear of Spanish tapas, but no Japanese tapas!

I once came here to eat patatas bravas...big disappointment. 

Empty wagon upon arriving to final destination.