Sunday, December 14, 2008

On a mission to San Gabriel


After an unfortunate sick day on Saturday, reminiscent of another Saturday last month, C and I decided to stay inside, watch way too much Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Little Einsteins and stick to bland foods ... heck, make that just water.


Ian had gone to Las Vegas for the weekend to catch up with some guy friends, and by the time today had rolled around, I was determined to get outside. So what did we do? While Ian hit the Strip, we hit ... San Gabriel!


We had been there before, namely on a trip for soup dumplings and massages with friends from work, but this time C and I were in search of a park that my friend Pat had recommended, Vincent Lugo Park, known for its playful and kid-friendly animal sculptures (see photo below, courtesy of Vincent Lugo Park).


However, in my haste, I wrote down the wrong directions and ended up at a nearby community center. The people outside setting up for a holiday fair were friendly but came thisclose to asking me if I was insane. Not kidding. I could see it in their eyes.


Me: "Do you know where the park is that has dolphins and dragons?"


Them: Weird looks.


Me: "You know," and here's where I just moved my arms up and down in a wavy motion, "that kids can climb on?" I then pointed toward the backseat, where C was sitting patiently, as if to show them that I did, in fact, have a kid and that I wasn't looking to climb on any dragons myself.


"You mean the zoo?" one of the women offered.


"Seriously? What zoo offers dragons? And komodos do not count," I said, in my mind.


They ended up pointing me in the direction of the nearby Smith Park. There weren't any dragons, but there were a few seals and a little whale that doubled as a slide.


Not only that, but we stumbled upon a man playing a traditional-looking Chinese musical instrument. He called it something that sounded like "tai nah," but when I Googled the instrument, the word "erhu" kept appearing. Luckily, the man was kind enough to play for C and me and allowed me to take a little video.


videoAgain, one of the things I love about L.A. is its multiculturalism. San Gabriel has a large Chinese population, and it's so great for C to get to experience different cultures first hand.


The town is also home to a beautiful mission district, which includes the San Gabriel Mission Playhouse, where C is standing in the above photo, the San Gabriel Mission Church and the old Grapevine Park facade (below), behind which stands an actual grapevine planted in 1861.



It was a lovely detour, and even though we didn't make it to our intended destination, we got a little lesson in Chinese culture.



I'm just hoping "tai nah" doesn't mean idiot ... or worse.

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