Downtown mixing it with the locals

Published: June 25th 2017
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Geo: 34.0533, -118.245

The day started with a rumble. Denise was sure there was an earthquake but luckily it was just Von welcoming us all to a beautiful day in Los Angeles. That was a relief!

As we have made our way up and down Hollywood Boulevard each day so far we have been greeted by the same tour operator with a cheery "Hello Aussie Girls" - it seems we have a new best friend. Today, he shared a very blue joke - and you will have to ask Julie about it some time. The punch line is "Not so funny when it is your mother!" Very, very naughty and only Julie will remember it.

The Metro was the first challenge of the day and after a "hustle" from our new best fried at the ticket booth we had the LA equivalent of a GO card - only difference was that the generosity of the guy who had barricaded the booth resulted in us being fleeced for a tip for helping us! Cost us an extra $1 each. Oh well, we were supporting the local economy AND quickly learning that "the hustle" is the norm.

Travelled a few stops...with Von testing the quake theories a little further - luckily Denise had fine tuned her seismograph early so we all had a chance to take evasive action. And somehow amongst it all Julie managed to bond with the locals and share few fundraising and charity ideas with a couple of ladies from Long Island.

Our men folk would be pleased to note that we drew the attention of eight fellow male travellers - a sprightly group of retirees from San Fernando Valley who were on their way to the big smoke for their once a month lunch date. They asked if the Red Flower ladies would like to join them .... their group was called the OFC. (Just to keep you in the loop OFC = Old Farts Club ... And we declined....)

We popped out of Union Station to land right in the middle of the Mexican District replete with markets. But not before a little history with a visit to the Avila Abode on Olivera Street. We love a free museum. Took a step back in time and toured the hacienda, enjoyed the cactus garden (find BJ) and had fun with the year 3 and 4 students who were on a field trip. Had our first Spanish lesson as the children delighted in teaching us the basics of Spanish. Three of the #Fab5 were instantly in teacher mode.

(Have to admit we rejected a visit to the Chinese-American museum because they wanted to charge us admittance.)

So back to the real attraction of the markets. Julie was in shopping heaven. Carolyn and Denise were first to open their wallets right at the first stall. But OMG, this paled into insignificance in the wake of shopaholic Julie. There were over 100 stall holders and shopkeepers in this little market and somehow Julie engaged with them all. Every bargain was unearthed and the commitment so intense she even had to buy the Frieda (heavy browed Latino artist) bag to tame the loot. We learnt about The Day of the Dead, El corazon, mosaic tiles, crosses, Frieda Kahlo and the little miracle charms or milagros.

Lunch was at a quaint Mexican restaurant - read beans here and then extrapolate to earthquake. It was the pickup we needed to get us to the next round. Only margaritas.

Of course, with fireman connections in the group, the next port of call was the first fire station of Los Angeles. Okay, so we should have been more attentive and read all of the stories and signs, but seriously, the focus was on the POLE and yep, we tried out our pole dancing skills as a prelude to Vegas. And despite her best efforts Jan did NOT attract a crowd.

Next mission. Conquer China town. And with two maps and two group leaders we were literally in two minds. But with an "I told you so" The Daring One claimed bragging rights and once again Julie was on fire with full marks for shopping! So many bargains, so little time.

But the big smoke was calling and we ventured back through Union Station to get further down town. Tried the Coffee Bean on Flower Street and watched the world go by before tackling Macy's.

Home again, home again jiggedy jig with our final Metro adventure of the day in peak hour squashed cheek to jowl with the locals. A quick turn around and we were back on Holllywood Boulevard to try and find the perfect solution to dinner.

The destination was the Hard Rock Cafe and after giant burgers, salmon salads, more beans and French fries...all washed down with two jugs of Sangria... entertainment from our waiter Shane, (who doubles as the opera singing potato) and a photo shoot with Snoop Dog.. all we needed to do was finish off the night with a late night visit to the 24 hour supermarket to top up on the essentials.

And the finale, an entertaining walk back home down the Boulevard just before 1 am. Not a bad day for the #Fab5 #stayers #stilllaughing #toomanybeans

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