Sunday, September 23, 2012

Saturday and Sunday, 22, 23 September

We have been spending the weekend in Valencia with Jean's cousin Holly, her husband Derek, and son Tyler. Tyler, who is now 10, is an amazing child.  From the time he was four until two years ago he fought serious cancer. He went into and out of remission at least two times in that time. One of the things he got interested in while in hospitals was the cooking shows on television. Once he got out he became seriously interested in cooking. Not just hamburgers and mac and cheese, but fairly exotic stuff involving spices and sauces --- all done from scratch. Two years ago he published his own cookbook, Savoring Life. The book contains Tyler's story and recipes that he developed. If anyone is interested it can be ordered online from <> (all profits benefit the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society).

Saturday Tyler and Derek spent the day at a UCLA Bruins football game (UCLA lost) so Holly took us to see whatever we wanted in LA. We spent much of the afternoon in Olvera Street. This is where the little pueblo of Los Angeles was started. The original Spanish land grant was 1781, the plaza was moved twice due to floods and eventually ended at the present location in 1822.

Today, much of the area is given over to small stalls, like a village market. Many of the buildings are very old.

The original church of Our Lady, Queen of the Angels is located there and has this beautiful altar.

There were lots of small groups busking in the area, mostly doing traditional music. The oldest tradition was represented by a couple of men (a drummer and a dancer) in Aztec costumes. All the announcements were done in Spanish.

After touring and shopping and getting some lunch, we went on to experience Angel's Flight Railway. This is the shortest incorporated railroad in the world. It goes one block,  up the side of a hill in downtown LA. It operates on a 33% grade. The two cars share the middle rail except at the halfway point where they diverge enough to pass. One car balances the other, so both move at the same time.

The cars are designed and built specifically for this service, so the seats are level.

Sunday, Holly drove us and Tyler to Malibu where we spent the afternoon on the beach. Tyler and the women enjoyed the water while Gene enjoyed relaxing on the beach and checking out the nautical traffic with the binoculars.

We stopped for lunch on the way back to Valencia, and then relaxed before a delicious supper of coq au vin that had been simmering all day (Holly's recipe, not Tylers). A most pleasant weekend. What will tomorrow hold?

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