Thursday, May 21, 2009

I've Been Walking...

Last night I decided to make the courageous attempt of walking from my friend's apartment in Beverly Hills to the Urth Cafe on Melrose in West Hollywood. Now if you're from LA, you know that is a pretty far walk. If you're not, check out the distance below (A to B).

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But in reality, it's not THAT far. It took me a little over an hour and my stroll and sightings really got me thinking. People's relationship with Los Angeles is so disconnected and I really believe a big part of that is due to all the driving. People drive everywhere, no matter how close or far. How much can you take in when you're confined to this bubble with wheels going 50 mph? Not much, if anything.

So up Doheny Blvd. I went, walking in my new Urban Outfitter tennis shoes... without socks (bad idea), carrying my too heavy LL Bean Boat Tote, holding my pepper spray in my right hand, just in case, and of course squeezing my buns together for that extra workout. About every 100 yards, I would look over my shoulder scouting out any potential freaks. Eh, make that every few steps. To everyone who was watching me twitch my head, I looked like a normal person... a schizophrenic normal-looking person. I turned down Wilshire Blvd. (going East), probably my absolutely favorite street in all of Los Angeles, and started walking from Doheny to La Cienega. Most of Wilshire Boulevard from Santa Monica to Downtown LA is all businesses. I used to love driving down Wilshire towards Downtown to look at the old architecture and the tall buildings... it reminds me of New York City. But walking is a whole other experience. The cool air, the big city blocks, the loud cars - - I was really feeling the city. I took in everything. I observed every store, all the architecture. I stared at the amazing mid-century modern furniture at two stores, I saw the security guard at one building sitting in his station, looking at a pocket mirror, coiffing his hair; I saw the second floor of a business with massive vintage rock posters adorning the walls - what could that be!?; I passed by Bombay Palace, a beautiful Indian restaurant, where a HUGE tour of Indians were standing outside. There must have been two dozen women wearing sari's of the most breathtaking assortment of colors. Would I have ever noticed these things couped up in a car? Probably not. It was just past this point that I could feel the pain on my heels. Blisters were forming from not wearing socks, and while I had the choice to take the bus, I decided to push through the pain. I also did not have enough change for any bus until I got to Melrose. Actually, I didn't have any change at all! I was being sneaky and using a bus transfer from earlier that had already expired. I figured if the bus driver wouldn't let me on the bus, I would just walk the rest of the way home - - but my blisters! Anyway, I walked all the way to La Cienega and headed north. La Cienega, also known as restaurant row, is a bit of a lonely street. There's not much to see, minus the restaurant fronts and the valet stations with tired young men falling asleep on the job. My dad tells me to not be too nice to the strangers on the sidewalk because you never know who has a gun, but I like saying "hello," "good day," "beautiful weather we're having..." It's fun to see people's reactions - - they either smile and respond or think you're a schizophrenic normal-looking person. So I said "Hi!" to the people I passed. Most were smilers.

When you've walked this far, you start to think of strange things like, "Where is everyone going?" You start to wonder about other people's lives. "What's their story?" At this point, the pain in my heels was killing me and I was starting to feel discouraged about how much further I had to walk, until, to my left (West side of the street) I saw the new SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills. I've been so curious about this place since it opened, especially José Andrés' new restaurant Bazaar, which is like a chemistry lab more than an actual restaurant. Not sure how healthy foie gras with cotton candy is, but what an experience for the taste buds. Can't wait to try it. Anyway, I walked up to the hotel and peered inside. The decor resembles the pages of Alice in Wonderland, with beautiful modern furniture and lovely, quirky trinkets and design touches. Really unique and beautiful and a great distraction from thinking about my poor feet.

I eventually made it to Urth Cafe where I enjoyed my Urth Farmer's Salad and gazpacho. Never ate the gazpacho, but plan to eat it for dinner tonight. I got a ride from a friend home... thank God! I would have had to tippy toe all the way home, if I wasn't able to take the bus. I had one the best nights sleeps I have ever had and today my legs feel great. This is the first time in a couple weeks where I feel totally awake at work. Just need to remember socks next time.


Nicole said...

Great story/blog. Walking the streets of LA is an odd experience. It all depends on where you are. Some areas - people will slow down, well MEN will slow's creepy! They seem to think any young female walking on the street is for 'rent'.
Thus the preference to frequent hikes in the hills and mountains :)

Swiveler said...

I had a weird experience walking around LA. I was in the middle of a 30 hour layover and decided to walk to the airport from my hotel. It was about a 4 mile walk. Every single police officer on the way to the airport stopped me and asked me why I was walking. They kept telling me to take the free shuttle.

Mother Health said...

Swiveler, your comment made me laugh out loud.