Thursday, November 29, 2007


I had to do a few errands around downtown the other day, (i)go to a Japanese market in Little Tokyo to get some dried seaweed and (ii) go to Grand Central Market to get some nopales and plantains.

As I was walking to Little Tokyo from the Historic Core, I made the decision to get a bike. I have safety concerns about riding a bike in LA, but fuck it I'll just ride on the sidewalk. It would have saved me a considerable amount of travel time. I didn't want to take my scooter because I didn't want to schlep it around inside the stores, and the chain that I use to chain it to bike posts was accidently left at work.

I don't have a place to put it in my place (yet). I wish we had more bike racks in my neighborhood. -Heck, all over the city for that matter.

Anyway, so I was walking up Main St on my way to the office depot in Little Tokyo. I passed by this man standing by a phone booth. He asked me if I can take a picture of him with City Hall in the background. He looks as though he may have been standing there for a while looking for somebody to take a picture of him. I told him I will do it only if he would let me take a picture of him.

So he let me take a picture of him:

I have been wanting to take pictures of people I see in the streets for YEARS. I just never had the audacity to just do it without asking, or to ask them and then do it. Its just so awkward. At most I have just been taking pictures of people's feet and legs in the subway:

Or the backs of unsuspecting people from the back of the bus:

Or their refection (in addition to the backs of their heads):

Or unsuspecting people waiting for the subway:

Or photos of people I intentionally take while I am pretending to fiddle with my camera:

But for now on, whenever somebody asks me for something when I am out and about, whether it be for change, directions, the time, etc. They will have to let me take a picture of them otherwise they get jack shit from me.

On my way to that Japanese market in that pedestrian walk way between 1st and 2nd street, I came across a musician named Greg Walsh playing the shamisen

He had a gathering of women over the age of 70 around him sort of dancing their upper torso while sitting and he was just simply awesome. I bought his CD for a reasonable $5.

On my way back to the historic core I saw some guy on 3rd St riding a rather unusual bike:

It looks uncomfortable. I would have asked if I could try it if I wasn't wearing a skirt. That is simply the worse way to travel on wheels if you are wearing a skirt.

I ran into Ricky The Pirate and he let me take several photos of him. I'll do a post later of all the pictures that I took. I think he is quite photogenic.

I then went to grand central market to buy some nopales and plantains.

Then I went home to make cooked plantains, nopales with tomato and wild mushrooms.

A future post will be on how to make this favorite nopales dish of mine.


steve said...

but... you almost always wear a skirt.
(or, at least, that was true many years ago.)

That style of bike is called a recumbent.
I have 2 of them. You're welcome to try one, if you ever come east.


Urban Memo said...

i still always wear a skirt! :)

EL CHAVO! said...

Wow, great pics and great post! I'm the same way about taking pictures of people. And I think if I asked people if I could take their pic they'd just get scared, I know I would!
Looking forward to your nopal recipe, mine is getting boring.

chimatli said...

Nice photos!

cindylu said...

Some people on flickr have no problem taking pictures of strangers. I can't do it, it just feels rude and weird.

And that weird bike with a skirt would definitely be a bad idea.

bgfa said...

Great post. Nice photos.

meekorouse said...

hey did you ever get a bike?? I picked one up a couple days ago. I'm very happy with it. I look kind of stupid with my backpack and helmet on but what the heck it gets me around a lot better now. =) (not that I don't like walking, I do!)

Urban Memo said...

i don't have a bike yet...

since i am too scared to ride my bike in most of LA, i want to go on a ride with those hundreds of people that get together and bike at night.

they have a website. i forgot their name. midnight riddaz or something like that.

i see alot of solo bike riders outside my window.. just strolling around. i wish i could do that.

EL CHAVO! said...

Y los nopales?