Walking in L.A.

Could it be that the smog’s playing tricks on my eyes
or is it a rollerskater in some kind of headphone disguise
Maybe somebody who just ran out of gas,
Making his way back to the pumps the best way he can.

Walkin’ in L.A.
Walkin’ in L.A., nobody walks in L.A.

— Missing Persons, Terry Bozzio

I love this ’80s tune, but I have to say that I completely disagree.  One of my favorite things to do here is walk, even though sometimes I feel like I’m taking my life into my hands with the way people drive. I took this love of walking, along with the Man’s love of seeing movie locations in person into account when I purchased one of his Christmas gifts this year — a certificate to participate in one of CityRace‘s local adventures, exploring Downtown Los Angeles.

If you’re familiar with the Amazing Race, the show that never stops airing on television, CityRace is akin to the local version.  It doesn’t last for weeks (just a few hours) and it doesn’t cover as big an area (just a small part of whatever city they focus on), but it’s really good fun.  No nasty things to eat either! Plus, you get to go home at night and sleep in your own bed.

We trained it down to Pershing Square and met our fellow racers, nine teams of mostly two, and sometimes three people, eager to get to know downtown a little better, and to get bragging rights for winning the race. When everyone arrived, we got our clue books, answer sheets and off we went.

Now, as the Man has only been living here a year and change, and I haven’t spent terribly much time downtown, we were a bit directionally challenged.  We also didn’t go in with any type of strategy — which had both it’s advantages, and disadvantages.

We got lucky on a few things…for example, one of the first clues directed us to this beautiful art-deco restaurant, the location of my company’s 2009 holiday party…

You say cicada, I say cicada


and we also managed to get completely off-track, as we later learned that this beautiful little plaza…


was not the same as this one…


but we ended up in another historic spot on the way there.  If you’re a ’70s movie buff, the ceiling might look familiar:

Here, we ran into a few young women participating in their own race, and answered some survey questions for them. Then, they asked us if we wanted them to pray for us. I was a bit taken aback, as that generally isn’t a part of scavenger hunts, but I played along. When they asked us if we wanted to pray together, right there and then, both the Man and I felt that they had crossed some unspoken bounds, so we politely declined and went about our way.

I finally got to see the Walt Disney Concert Hall up close — and the beautiful garden that hides behind it.  The stairs are intense, but if you make it all the way up, you’ll be rewarded with a canopy of these…

Pink, pink everywhere
Pink, pink everywhere


some pretty cool views…

City Hall from afar...
City Hall from afar…


and some seriously worked out thighs.  During the course of our day, I kept my MapMyWalk app on and we actually covered over nine miles of ground, a lot of which was uphill!  No surprise that when we arrived at the next location, we knew we’d be coming back after the race to eat up.

A maze of good things to eat
A maze of good things to eat

And eat we did, but not before we saw the Bradbury Building and checked out some items at the Central Library (get it…checked…out – I’m punny…) — if you’re in Los Angeles, I highly recommend a visit. It’s huge, beautiful and has a lovely garden outside. We only saw a fraction of it and I know I’ll be going back.

As I said, I disagree with the song’s assumptions, but the first thing I thought about half way through the race, as we climbed yet another hill was this song. Apologies ahead of time if it gets in your head and you can’t get it out!





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