The plan was to take public transportation, as a new adventure. Drama ensued from the very beginning, as we tried to figure out how to buy a Day Pass (Posted Price: $7; Actual Price: $6), figuring that would be the most efficient method of payment. There was no one at the station to assist us, but we finally managed to figure it out. My indignation was short lived when I realized my change was not tokens, but dollar coins. I thought it was funny that regular public transportation riders thought we were from out of town; they laughed when they discovered we were local yocals! Navigating the different levels of the trains was confusing enough for us. We took the green line from the Aviation/Imperial station to the Blue Line, to the Red Line and then walked from Union Station to Philippe’s. With temperatures in the mid 90s, I was done already, after having walked through the stations platforms to the front of the station and then another three blocks to the restaurant. Thankfully, we were going to be sitting for a while and nourishing ourselves.
Philippe’s was okay, but hardly worth a return visit. I figured since it was my first time there, I would order as much as possible to get a taste of the fare: Beef French Dip, Potato Salad, Cole Slaw, Fresh Fruit, Pickles and Unsweetened Iced Tea. The sandwich was good, as were the cole slaw and the potato salad. My total bill was $16.00. I little pricey in my estimation. What I could not get over was the lack of a cooling system in the restaurant. Not that it was terribly uncomfortable, but I was seeking refuge from the heat.
Because my neuropathy felt like it was acting up, I suggested sticking to our plan – it had been suggested that we could walk Olvera Street as well. Unfortunately, for us and a major complaint against the Los Angeles Transit was the fact that the Dash (downtown bus) was not operating on the weekend. WTF!? Just becasue corporate workers are not working does not mean there are a significant amount of people downtown that would benefit from the Dash operating on the weekends! This meant we had to walk back to Union Station, catch a train and then walk about another six blocks. I was not feeling that, but was willing as I really wanted to see Gather DTLA; others in my party were not so enthusiastic. Thankfully, because I live right nowadays, I offered to pay for a taxi to which everyone agreed. How much could it cost to go about seven blocks, right? Thus began the taxi debacle. We were directed to the taxi stand at the south side of Union Station, found the stand and waited…and waited…and waited. My frustration grew in direct correlation to the heat index as I noticed taxis parked at the north end that would not come to pick us up. Turned out Union Station had a special event going on, in addition the the Mexican Independence Day celebrations on Olvera Street and they had temporarily relocated the taxis. Fucking idiots! Why didn’t they cover the taxi stand sign for those of us not in the know? About half an hour later, we got a taxi van that took us to our next destination and splitting the $7 dollar fair among five riders, we got off very cheaply at $2 per person.
We finally get to Gather DTLA and the only mode of cooling was a big fan. OMG! I took the seat in the most direct path and after finally acclimating to my environment was able to cool down. It is a cute little shop above a book store; my party of five occupied about one third of the retail space! The selection is nice, though small. The owner, Ebby?/Evy? was nice enough. However, I do have a complaint: I found a MadelineTosh Merino Light yarn (Yarn Color: Holi Festival) that I fell in love with; my store never had that color. I managed to find two skeins and was ready to drop $50 on the purchase until I was informed that one of the skeins – which I had removed from the yarn tasting display – could not be sold. WTF!? I’m sorry, but the customer should come first no matter what. I did not like that one bit. Only because a friend of mine works there, I found something else that my store does not carry and made a purchase to support the store: Lucky Lamb (Fiber Content: 100% Superwash Wool; Yarn Color: Felix; Yarn Weight: 3, DK) and some place markers in an unflattering color.
The ride home – 16 bus to Silver line to Green line – seemed quicker and was a welcome relief to a weary day of heat. My major complaint of the day was the lack of cooling, bathing me a light layer of perspiration the whole day. I am certainly spoiled because I found the public transportation system below average from what I was used to: poor cooling, low class citizens, animals in crates, walkers, etc. Call me prissy! I’ll accept the label if I never am forced to ride public transportation again.
Overall, I had a great time with new friends. We worked well together as a team and I was please do have an opportunity to solidify some new friendships.