Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Grove, Los Angeles Part 1



One of the many delights we discovered during our visit to Los Angeles, was the shopping mall/farmers' market called The Grove.  See HERE:

Main Stret - The Grove - Los Angeles

My blogger friend Nadege had suggested that Pat and I meet her there.  We weren't sure where the Grove was or even WHAT it was so we decided to take a trial run to find out where it was.  Much to our surprise, the Grove was only a few short blocks from where we were staying at our B & B.  Just one more reason to book our stay next year at the Hollywood Bed and Breakfast.

What a pleasant surprise!  Talk about a shopping mall.  Wow.  Pat and I were just going to touch base but the Grove was so inviting and comfortable we just spent several hours walking around, soaking up The Good Life.  The Dover Mall this wasn't.  

How do I adequately describe the Grove? From the music playing outdoor, to the relaxing whooshing sounds of the fountains, and the stress reducing, winding brick walkways . . . . this is living folks.  This shopping mall (if you can call it that) had everything.  From high end department stores like Nordstroms that sells $85 T-shirts and $1,395 Jimmy Choo shoes to a regular farmers' market bazaar of every kind of find you could wish or imagine for.  Talk about sensory overload.  



Quite frankly folks, Pat and I are just a couple of tourist hicks who were so overwhelmed at how the Other Half lives. And here I thought Peebles at the Rehoboth Mall was a big deal.

Among the many things that impressed us while we were in California was the sunny, mild, spring like days . . . in January!  The easy going people.  We saw nary a gun-toting, Tea-Party pissed off redneck, while we were walking around this wonderful mall.  Pat and I didn't get even one of those "funny" looks like we surly would have received if we were walking around a mall like this in Alabama or South Carolina (even if they had a mall like this).  Like Pat's hometown of Toronto; the Los Angeles we visited was a very diverse community that was unconcerned about two older men walking around together obviously enjoying each other's company and more concerned with their own lives.  Imagine that . . . live and let live.



One of the main reasons I moved to Delaware was that I was so tired of getting the "queer eye" from some when Bill and I shopped at Home Depot or Lowes in Downingtown, Pennsylvania where we used to live.  Where we had a neighbor who reported us to police just because we were gay (or as she called us "gaywads.")  Of course the local police threw her out of their office.  I guess in her eyes we weren't allowed to live in the country but instead restricted to living in an inner city gay neighborhood.  But here I go again getting all negative and I do want to keep (most) of my blog posts from here on out positive and happy.  But folks I couldn't help but notice the welcoming and friendly and minding their own business and not being concerned with my business ambiance of the folks we mingled with in Los Angeles.  Wow, was that ever a long sentence.  

Remember two years ago when I told you that a distant cousin of mine in North Carolina threatened me during me and Bill's visit to his parents because I lead "the gay lifestyle"?  No threats like this were received by us when we visited California.  How refreshing, and free.  





18 comments:

  1. Yes, it is diverse here. The way I experience it after living here for over 20 years is that everyone is way too self-involved to care what anyone else is up to! Guess it could be worse!

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    1. You know Tony this is exactly those were the words that I was going to use, they're "way too self-involved" to care about me or who I'm with. It's funny that you said it.

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  2. But also Tony you know I'll draw the people be way too concerned with themselves then to bother about me and worry about what I'm doing and who I'm with or whatever like to seemed to be when I visited the South, too many people seem to be worried about me and my life.

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    1. There is less to distract them in the South, so anyone who is different is exciting! Here, there are million distractions, and that is not just what is on their iPhones.

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    2. Tony,
      It so nice to go someplace that I didn't get The Stares because I was with another man. The last time I experienced that was last August when I visited Pat in Toronto. The population in Toronto is very diverse. I felt a little bit of The Knowing Stare at a family Indian restaurant that Pat and I liked so I guess no place is immune from disproving looks when they encounter a male couple enjoying themselves. In the South, they are so in their bubble, and so afraid of the real world intruding on their safe world (still fighting the Civil War, the Confederate flag is still prominently displayed at many locations), they will never change in my lifetime or the next lifetime. The geography in the South is beautiful, and the people are very hospitable . . . . as long as they think you're straight.
      Ron

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  3. More coolness from LA! YAY!

    Peace <3
    Jay

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    1. Jay,
      We loved L.A. and you would too!
      Ron

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  4. I'm assuming this is the original Farmer's Market on Fairfax and 3rd. It has changed drastically from when I knew it. The Grove wasn't there, but from the looks of it - - the place has assumed a Vegas atmosphere. It seems like fun but -as you said - it's far too expensive.

    Long ago the stars used to shop at the Farmer's Market (I don't know if it has the same allure nowadays). I've seen Zsa Zsa Gabor there and Debbie Reynolds and Dean Martin and lots of others. Nowadays I wouldn't know a "star" if one crawled up my leg and bit me on the ass.

    Good heavens, you and Pat will get corrupted if you move to L.A. (just joking, of course.....).

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    1. Jon,
      I believe it is one and the same. We went back on a different day (during the rain, and I took videos which I will post), to check out the farmer's market portion. I was so impressed. I could go there every day. Even though the stores in the mall part were expensive, I didn't feel out of place mingling with folks, who probably report income in the six figures on their tax returns. But for a couple of Old Guys From the East, we liked it. Just wandering around, in and out of the stores, with the throbbing music, was worth it. And as I said, no one made us feel unwelcome. I didn't detect Attitude once. When I worked in Philly I got more Attitude. In fact, one after hours bar I used to frequent had a sign outside the door "Attitude Adjustment." Some gays can really put the Attitude on. I've encountered it often here in this backwater, wanna be destination beach resort Rehoboth Beach. I could get up from this desk now and go down to the main drag (no pun intended) in Rehoboth and bang my head into attitude every block. Unfortunate and unexpected fact of life here.
      Pat and I will get corrupted if we move to L.A.? Hey, we're already debauched and decadent. We couldn't get anymore. What you see with us is all a facade. (smile)
      Ron

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    2. One of the many wonderful things about L.A. is the extraordinary diversity. The general consensus is to live and let live. Narrow-mindedness almost seems non-existent. A very refreshing change, compared to other places.

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    3. Jon,
      The attitude of "live and let live" was one of my first impressions of L.A. I liked it. Unlike many if not most parts of the South, where they seem so insecure about their Way of Life, that others different than them will "destroy their way of life." It's not a coincidence that the recent killings of those two Muslim women and the husband was committed in North Carolina, the same state where a distant cousin of mine threatened me because I "practiced the gay lifestyle." Guns and God, that's the Great Middle (and Southern) America.
      Ron

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  5. I don't think I agree with the phrase "too self involved to care about others". Maybe it is the weather, different cultures living together for so long..., but I frankly think that people go about their lives without caring if you are gay or not, black, mixed races… simply because they know that all kinds of people have been here for a long time. Angelenos accept everybody with open arms as long as you are polite and don't create problems. Really, it is not about self involvement, it is about acceptance and respect.
    (I am not sure I was able to express my thoughts well enough in this comment. Angelenos welcome everybody, not because they are self centered, on caring only about themselves, they genuinely love everybody, that is why they have those huge signs at LAX that says "welcome" in so many different languages). I am glad I was the one who made you discovered "The Grove". It is a great place with some wonderful restaurants and shopping. I shoot "Dancing with the stars" right next door to The Grove. The "La Brea tar pit" is right across the street along with other museums. Little Ethiopia (with many vegan food) is down the street.

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    1. Nadege,
      I stand corrected. I think you're right in your assessment that most of the people in L.A. "go about their lives without caring if you are gay or not . . . . etc". That was my initial impression. Visiting the southern states (North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina), with the exception of a semi-metropolitan city like Greenville South Carolina (which, ironically is the home base of the very conservative Bob Jones University and my Christian Fundamentalist brother pastor), I was almost always made to feel like an alien, especially when Bill and I were traveling together. We're not one for public displays of affection (neither are Pat and I) but the ever attuned folks of the South, who distrust anything different than their pure white lily ways, frequently cast "I know who you are" stares in our direction. It's amazing that the Civil War was fought by the South to maintain their Way and their still fighting the Civil war, witness the Mississippi supreme court judge who has chosen to ignore the Federal court ruling for same sex marriages. I was not only threatened by one of my family members who lives in the mountains of North Carolina, but the wife of another family member, who lives in Tennessee, after she received my Christmas card last year showing me and Bill on it, told me that I was "going straight to Hell" and that her departed husband (my cousin) would be "very disappointed" in me. Nice folks. They're brainwashed and I fear most of them will never change, and living in the bubble they live in, change won't come anytime soon.
      When Pat and I were in Los Angeles, we felt so welcome and free to be ourselves, which, as you saw, wasn't anything radical. We're just two old guys on a holiday. Just like any straight couple. No ominous stares when we laughed and enjoyed ourselves. No hiding in the closet and substituting pronouns when referring to friends.

      We both LOVED The Grove. We hardly had a chance explore everything. Sure, a lot of the places were expensive and beyond our means but we still enjoyed them all the same. And that movie theater was the most comfortable I've ever been in my life. "Taken Three", the movie, not so much but still it was a pleasure to be there with you Nadege. And you were so very welcoming to us like all the Angelenos we met. Of course we went out there not looking for love or to be discovered. We already have that (smile). I guess if you're on the other side of the equation (life), young and on the search for a career or That One, maybe your take would be different on Los Angeles. For us (me and Pat), L.A. was everything we hoped it would be and more.
      Ron

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  6. I could live on the west coast, someone would have to pay me a big premium, but I would enjoy living there.

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    1. David,
      From our brief foray on the west coast, I definitely could retire there. Yep, a "bit" expensive. We went through one open house that I thought was ideal. Cute, modern, new and right in downtown L.A. in a nice neighborhood. 3.2 mil. Just a "tad" beyond our budget.
      Ron

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  7. Great Ron. Terrific memory blog posting. It takes me right back there. Both times - the first and then with Nadege who extended our tour to the farmer's market. Just a very pleasant place to hang out. I can only express to others what I experienced myself. Lots of different places to feel at home and feel good about. And I found LA folks really nice all over. Not one upsetting occasion. Polite, friendly. Not stand offish at all - which is what it is a little more like here in Toronto. Way more laid back in LA - tho the traffic indicates people are always on the move.

    Pat

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    1. Pat,
      Like you, I felt right at home in L.A. I didn't have one down moment our whole ten day stay. Everyone made us feel so welcome from our hosts at the bed and breakfast (William and Nina) to Nadege and Tony, who were so welcoming and helpful for the two old buzzards from the East. Such a good time we had. I can't wait to go back next year.
      Ron

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  8. I simply MUST visit L.A. Up to now I'd no idea about it being so attractive, always having been put off by the warning that you need a car to get around, though you've proved conclusively that it needn't be like that at all.

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