Yesterday, i woke up with a plan to take the subway into downtown LA and explore the area. I entered downtown excited as a midwestern boy, riding the train into a big city. I checked out the incredible public library (with the largest surf book and Buddhism book collections i've ever seen) and walked the streets watching busy professionals grab a quick lunch and tasty fresh produce from impromptu street markets.
Around 1:00, i finally got the chance to meet my third cousin, Marty, who i've been in contact with since i began planning my journey. We hit it off immediately. He heard the reggae coming from my headphones, and started listing the awesome live reggae he's seen. He has been here for 15 years and is well versed in all things Los Angeles. During his lunch break, he showed me around some downtown areas and then he headed back to work. I continued my explorations. The Museum of Contemporary Art is closed on Wednesdays so I walked to Historic Downtown and gave the granola bars i had in my bag to the hungriest people i could find.
MOCA-The Museum of Contemporary Art- I'm going back there today
US Bank Tower and the Bonaventure Hotel
Inside the Los Angeles Public Library
Walt Disney Hall- a Frank Gehry masterpiece
I then met Marty in his office as his work day came to close. Pretty awesome that he is an administrator in the exact field that i am pursuing (Special Needs Education). He introduced me to 6 of the entertaining ladies that he works with, one of which is an Ohio University grad...GO BOBCATS. We enjoyed some lively conversation in his office and then he drove me around the Spring Lake/Sunset Strip area, pointing out the hot spots for music etc.
Next we headed out to his house in Studio City. What a pad! Gated with sweet views, a concrete beach, Don- a roommate, surrogate uncle and super chiller, Marty's amazing, beautiful wife Beth (a practicing Buddhist...perfect) and good times all around. We played tennis down the road, Marty took it easy on me and still beat me badly 6-1, 6-1. We then went back to his compound were i was treated to some fantastic Thai food from Beth. I rarely eat meals without meat, but these authentic Thai dishes were great with fresh fruit for desert.
Next we shot hoops and played Ping Pong, all the while indulging in more fun conversations about education and eastern thought. Family is very very important and i am very excited to have made this connection into more extended parts of the tree.
Marty and I after tennis, basketball and ping pong...can't leave out a wonderful Thai meal.
I'm heading back downtown now to finally check out the MOCA. The Ocean is pretty much dead flat and windy so i'm taking advantage of this opportunity to check out other LA sights and sounds.