I am mulling over the idea of participating in the women’s march scheduled to take place in Washington DC on January 21, one day after the Presidential inauguration. The march is meant, not so much to protest a President who, willingly or unwillingly, will be my President for the next four years, but to send a signal that a majority of women will not take any assault on women’s rights of any kind lying down.
4:40 pm on a Wednesday afternoon. I look up and the sky is a perfect shade of intense blue, so velvety I think I could touch it. If I turn around, towards the mountains, the blue dissolves into a hazy white, fading into the rock. On the opposite side, the sky mingles with the ocean, creating a smattering of stripes, from grey to baby blue and every shade in between.
One might argue that living in Southern California, weather wise, is an endless sequence of the same blue sky and 70 degrees sunny days. And one would be wrong. We might not have the falling of the leaves or the gently falling snow, nor does the light change in any dramatic fashion, but there are clues that Spring has finally stepped aside to let Summer in, while we were too busy to notice.
My still unused dark blue passport attests I am 100% American. Uncle Sam watches over me – or, at least, listens in on my phone calls. I haven’t mastered the Star Spangled Banner in its entirety but I am well versed in the intricacies of American politics. I am a certified citizen of the U.S. of A. Mostly. Legally at least. Embracing the American culture as a whole has been a different ballgame.
If you like bucolic scenery, and are planning to take a trip to California, may I suggest you skip Napa and head a bit farther west to the Russian River Valley? With none of the glitz that Napa has come to embody, this northern corner of Sonoma county retains its simple allure: still plenty of wineries to visit; a meandering river where to stop by, sit and read (or float on); if the need for an ocean beach strikes, in less than 30 minutes you can sit on the sand and, if you just can’t go without some serious shopping or dining for a while, head to Healdsburg for a fix. Still semi-undiscovered by the throngs and hoping it stays that way.
If you sit down at any restaurant in California, from a burger joint to Spago in Beverly Hills, chances are your meal will be prepared by a Latino worker. Gardening, cooking, cleaning and looking after children are still the domain of immigrants from Latin and South America, and they will probably be for another couple of generations. In kitchens all over the state, some manage to climb to chef’s positions, but most are the engine behind the cooking lines, the hands that learn to make anything, from pasta to sushi.
And then it rained. Finally the sky opened and fat drops of water started falling in rapid succession. Ottie was none too happy about it, his gallivanting put on hold for the day and, stuck inside, he sat by the sliding door letting the world know his displeasure by uttering a sequence of lamentations, a monochord and unbroken rumble that he can will to go on at great length.
For this week’s “art tour”, let me take you to a little known corner of LA. After calling Los Angeles my home for the last 18 years, there is very little of cultural interest I have not seen, and now I am left with the more obscure sightseeing locations, those that even many Angelenos don’t know exist.