13 April 2007

Monday March 26th

Today is our “play day.” We have no ministry scheduled and can do what we want. Many other teams are going to one of the amusement parks, but not us. We got a slow start to the morning. We decided to do some sight-seeing in the morning hoping that the clouds would burn off by the afternoon so we could enjoy the beach. I suggested we go to Hollywood Boulevard Our first stop was Amoeba Music, a place Charith loved when she visited last summer. It is a huge place with used and new music, a Powell’s for music. After a couple hours we finally managed to get everybody out of the store and to lunch at Baja Fresh. Not a very original place but it was very close. While we sat eating dispersed through the restaurant a lady came up to Chris who was sitting beside me and asked for money to buy food. She didn’t look particularly down-n-out, but someone in need. Chris was still waiting for his burrito so he earnestly offered his chips; she ‘pa-shawed’ it with a look of total disgust. It came out later that night that this incident really bothered Chris and proved to be a great launch for discussion. where the mix of people and landmarks is bizarre.

After lunch we went up two blocks to Hollywood Boulevard with Grauman’s Chinese Theater being our destination. For reasons that I was oblivious to we started walking in the opposite direction of the theater. We continued in this direction for several blocks until enough people had asked me and been informed that it was the opposite direction to change the herd mentality and change course. The area of Hollywood BLVD we traversed contains rather questionable shops. Some had clothing in the windows that made everyone blush. Meg was amazed at the number of shops prominently selling bongs and other drug paraphernalia. Tiana and Dot were too distracted by the names on the stars to take much notice of what they were passing. Every once in awhile we passed a store front for a cool hip looking restaurant or shop which seemed so out of place it was jarring. It made me wonder if there is some sort of initiative going on by the city of LA to revitalize this area of town. The architecture of the buildings were beautiful, ornamentation of the roaring ‘20’s degraded by the junky shops now calling them home; it made me sad. We stopped and talked with one man who was sitting on the sidewalk cleaning the stars. His lower legs looked lifeless and the crutches he had beside him testified to their inability to function properly. He had been homeless until recently when he got this job. He knows where all the stars are! Tiana had picked up a free map from the Visitor’s Bureau but this guy got on a roll pointing out all the stars that were misplaced and told us where we actually find Elvis. (We never made it down that far unfortunately.) He told us that there is a team of 4 or 5 people who clean the stars and each star gets cleaned about once a week.

Soon after meeting the star cleaner we split up. The three guys and Meg wanted to go back to the Scientology ‘store’ to talk to the people inside. The rest of us went on to Grauman’s and Kodiak theater. I enjoyed watching Tiana and how she marveled at the handprints in front of Grauman’s. Tiana and Dot were taking pictures like crazy; they were rather star-struck which was so much fun to watch. As we walked in front of the Kodiak theater someone dressed rather oddly, I don’t know what character he was trying to portray, walked up beside Charith and Bethany unnoticed until the giant afro wig entered their peripheral vision. This produced a loud scream from them both, and then a second scream when they noticed the creepy eyes produced by contacts. I was lagging behind with Tiana and Dot and we heard the screaming but didn’t connect it with Charith and Bethany until we saw them run away from the guy. We all got a good laugh out of that one!

On our way back to the van outside of a bar I nearly stepped into a puddle of vomit. Eww! Thankfully someone warned me just in time so that only the sole of my sandal got gunk on it. All the walking did my hip in and my injury from last November flared up ferociously. I was about to sit down and burst out crying I was hurting so bad. But we made it to the van and I got to sit down which eased the pain after a few minutes.

The weather was still overcast and chilly but we decided to go back to the beach anyhow. We drove out to Santa Monica again and played on the beach. I used the ocean to wash off the gross stuff from my sandals and tried to take a nap. The lack of sleep was already hurting me but the sand flies and the chilly air kept me mostly awake. We lost Corbin for most of the afternoon; he went long boarding down the boardwalk. After we packed up and went back to the van it took another half hour to decide what to do about dinner. We left Santa Monica about 6:30pm and after a series of discussions and decisions we finally ate dinner – Domino’s Pizza – at 8:30pm.

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