Weekly e-newsletter for members and friends of the Dublin Community Church
May 11, 2007
Taking the local transit bus to the Santa Monica Pier is not exactly the dream of every California tourist but it worked for me. I’d recommend the same for you.
We finished the seminar in Los Angeles by Friday at noon. That was it. Everyone flew home, but I had a Saturday flight out and so had the rest of the day to see something of the Los Angeles area. Some of the seminar participants had driven out to Santa Monica earlier in the week in their own cars (they were from the West Coast) and they suggested that I should just go ahead and rent a car and hit the freeway.
That seemed like entirely too much work for a couple hours on the coast. I would have had to go somewhere to rent the car. Pay for it. Pay for gas. ($3.50 per for Regular. Get used to it.) Negotiate the freeway. Find parking in Santa Monica . Then do it all in reverse at 8 pm. Not interested.
My continuing mantra has been “The journey is the goal.” So, I figured I could negotiate the regular city bus system since I walked by the bus stop each morning in search of coffee. It was easy. I called the Metro Bus hotline. Told them where I was going and from where. They said, “Take bus route #304. When you return in the evening, take bus route #4 and get off at Echo Park .”
I could do that. I have ridden on buses before. Get in. Pay. Sit down and hang on.
The bus stop was only 3 blocks away. On the way I walked by a small shuttered building just off the street with bars on the windows and doors. The Bank of America across the street didn’t have 1/10 th of the security measures that this small building did. Over the doors it said, “Independent Clothing Contractor.” Mercedes parked out front. You figure that one out.
The bus was a bargain. For $1.25 you can get on near the L.A.Downtown, ride along Sunset Boulevard all the way to the Santa Monica Pier. As the crow flies it is about 20 miles. It was a fascinating slice of West Coast. It was rather like a 90 minute bus-crawl through the Short North of Columbus.
As I looked around, I think it is safe to say that I was the only Ohio tourist on the #304. but I had a seat and they had Transit TV for us passengers. This was a 10 minute newscast detailing the recent riots in downtown L.A. and the weather and a feature or two of some Hollywood movie stars who have never noticed an L.A. bus, let alone ridden in one. But I got a pretty good video of the riots and weather and sports report…9 times… as we moved westward on the boulevard.
Santa Monica was nice. Terminally trendy. I got off the #304 a few blocks from the beach when the bus turned south. I walked west and soaked up the ambience of this tourist destination. I was hearing the siren call of the beach and knew from my days in the San Francisco Bay Area, that a sunny, windy day means a very windy time at the beach. Indeed, it was too. But the view off to the north and the south was quite nice. I merely stood on the small cliffs over looking the Santa Monica Freeway and the Pacific Ocean.
I walked the Pier and spent my time looking out across the ocean. I never cease to marvel at the idea of looking westward across the Pacific. Being a Midwesterner, it still amazes me that there can be a shore and that the next human being to the west is thousands of miles away in Japan or Sumatra or wherever.
It had been a long week and dinner called and I found nothing immediately in the beach area, save for fast food on the Pier. I didn’t ride the #304 for 90 minutes to eat a taco and root beer at El Burrito next to the Burger Buster, so I walked a few blocks back into the heart of town to the open-air shopping mall.
I liked it. It was sort of an authentic, Easton Shopping Center-type place. Several city blocks of downtown Santa Monica had been renovated and it was a huge pedestrian shopping area. A block from there I found a small Japanese Restaurant on a corner. I ordered an Asahi, Beef Teriyaki and Shrimp & Vegetable Tempura. I sat and watched the people as they walked by.
As much as I enjoyed the food and drink and atmosphere, I found that I could not eat the beef. It was shoe leather…tasty shoe leather, but there was no way to eat it without breaking my crowns. I left it. The waitress asked if I wanted a box for the beef teriyaki. I told her it was far too tough to even eat. She smiled and gave me the bill.
A few minutes later after I had paid, the head waitress brought me a gift certificate for the price of the beef teriyaki. “We are sorry for the dinner. This gift certificate has no expiration date so you can use it any time in the future.”
It was nice of the Aki Japanese Restaurant to make the offer of the gift certificate. I am 56 years old and this is the first time that I have ever been in downtown Santa Monica so the prospect of making it back for another meal while I still have teeth is slim. I put the certificate in my back pocket and headed for a cafe.
Along the way were numerous street performers. A guy was singing Nat King Cole and doing quite a good job….dressed in a suit and wearing a hat that Nat would have worn in the 1950’s. Further down the block was a “Bruce Springsteen-type.” There was little chance of confusing him with the real thing. And as I sat in the café some 10-year- old girl, wearing a jaunty cap and outfit began singing Diana Ross songs, hip-hop and soul. She was good. Her parents sat on the bench behind her and put tapes on the sound system so their daughter could do a karaoke set of songs.
The crowd gathered to watch this 10-year-old-talented-and-far-too-precocious child, sing and dance. She even “worked the crowd” as tourists and shoppers walked around her stage area there in the street. Nothing fazed this kid. The crowd loved her and then she announced, “Thank you very much! You’ve been a great audience! My next show will be in ten minutes!” (I wondered if this kid could really be 10 years old, but then I figured, “This is practically in Hollywood , why should I be surprised.”)
The crowd moved forward to drop money in the basket in front of the singer and then moved on. I remembered the gift certificate in my back pocket. I dropped it in the basket and went off in search of bus #4 to Echo Park .
I hope she and her parents like sushi, I’d certainly recommend it over the beef teriyaki. If not, the Asahi was cold.
DCC Web Site
If you haven’t seen, the web site for the Dublin Community Church has been redesigned thanks to our own Ellen Morse. Check it out at www.dublincommunitychurch.org. Of course, web sites are never done, so we’re really interested in your input of other things to highlight or include for existing and prospective members. Please send feedback to email@example.com.
The youth group of our church is an exciting and vibrant group of wonderful teens ranging from 6th grade to 12th grade. They are fun, and devoted to the church, mission work and to each other. They constantly challenge us to do more, to be involved and to strive for greater opportunities to grow their faith. It is fun and exhilarating to be involved with them, and also exhausting (or 'good tired'). The adults that are leading the youth group are constantly being asked to give more, and always willingly to. But in order to meet the needs of the youth group we count on many, taking turns so that not one person does it all, and we share the responsibilities. We have come to a time in our youth group where we need more adults to help. We would like to find adults who are interested in helping but are not necessarily the parents. The youth in this age group need experiences from other Christian adults to role model as well. So if you feel a calling towards this vital ministry, please contact Brenda Rizzo or Bob Tussing as we could sure use your help.