pWdumaNjA-6CEEBhRoD5euxNETs When All This Actual Life Played Out: In which chaos ensues

18 February 2014

In which chaos ensues

Train station
Santa Ana, California
15 February 2014

The daughter belongs to a Spanish language honor society (as did, rather bizarrely, I in high school). Of the various annual requirements of the chapter, she must attend two field trips annually that in some way reflect the culture.

So, off they went to Olvera Street in Los Angeles. It was going to be an adventure. First, Olvera Street! Second, they were taking the train.

I said I would go. I did not offer to chaperone. But no sooner had I set foot on the sidewalk in front of the station than I was required to start buying tickets for minors. Amtrak, as it turns out will not sell tickets to those under the age of 18.

(I said I would go because Olvera Street has some stalls with very good taquitos. The spouse and his family have been dragging me off to get taquitos for decades. Totally worth it. The buying tickets for minors? Agh.)

Anyway, the whole thing wasn't very well organized, though I will say that the girl who tried to organize it tried very hard. Given that she's in high school, hats off to her, truly. It just would have helped if an adult had done a reality check on the whole thing because there was actually an easier way to go about it all. So it goes, live and learn, etc.

The trip up was nice, and our conductor was very sweet. Obviously used to the whole thing because he didn't bat an eyelash when I pointed out the five people on my ticket.

And let's face it, it beats hell out of trying to drive up there. More to the point, it beats hell out of trying to park up there.

Olvera Street was Olvera Street. The leather goods have a very particular smell that hearken back to childhood trips to Nogales. I don't know how the stuff can smell exactly the same 40 years later but it does. Even the little tooled leather purses look exactly the same with their blue and red flowers, the same ones I wanted so badly as a kid. Velvet sombreros. Seriously evil marionettes.

(My brother and I did have a pair of those. I actually got quite good at wielding the rolling pin mine was holding.)

Taquitos, of course, and on to the candy kiosk. The daughter and spouse nibbled jamoncillo while I searched out tamarind balls.

"Sweet or spicy?" the vendor asked me when I found them.

"Spicy!" I replied.

"Ooooh," she chortled. "Spicy lady!"

We visited a gallery, museums and artwork. Watched the dancers; listened to a musician.

The daughter bought an accordion. Allegedly because I will not buy her a drum kit.

(When, I ask, would she have time to learn how to play it?)

But I did buy her a little ring with a devil on it. She's worn it every day.

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone4.

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