I make it to Santa Monica on a wing and a prayer in about three hours from Escondido. I find the Primary Parking in front of my Aunt’s house and get my bags inside; we’ve no time to wait and I’ve wasted enough already! We stop long enough to pick up people and head to Oliveras Street, the closest parking. The destination: Chinatown, Los Angeles. Today is the Lunar New Year! GUNG HAI FAT CHOI! It’s nearly two hours of floats, costumes, persons of interest, marching bands, martial arts schools, and Dragons! It was an amazing rainbow of sound and movement. There are so many different creations coming down the road that I have trouble keeping up with them all. At the very end, fifteen rolls of firecrackers are set off to chase away the bad luck and ring in the year. It takes nearly two whole minutes for the bulk of the crackers to go off; it sounds like gunfire over Baghdad when the Iraqis won at soccer. Once they were done the people pressed in, coming from the end of the road to the Gate to get out of the area. We have to wait nearly twenty minutes for some of the crowds to clear to go down the road to a restaurant. It takes another twenty minutes to walk down the street because of all the people still around for the New Years deals being offered by vendors. Once our group finally reaches the restaurant, we are seated quickly, and then almost ignored. We have to ask for menus and water, and once our food is ordered, it takes nearly an hour before we see the first of our food. The wait, although upsetting, was forgotten as we ate ourselves nearly sick on the amount of food set at our table. A good meal followed by time with good friends; we don’t leave until a rather large group comes in, probably a family reunion. From here all but three go home: Ms T, Ms M, and I stay to shop a while with the last stragglers of a crowd. I find some fabulous deals and pass up many more, have a light dessert of tapioca pearl tea, and then we head home.
After a night of light sleep, thanks to Boo Cat, I wake late in the morning ready for an afternoon of fun in the sun. My Uncle and I go to one of his favorite places for lunch and we have the most amazing weather for the afternoon. Southern California has the best anyone can ask for when it comes to winter weather: it’s in the upper sixties and there’s not a cloud in the sky! We meet my Aunt and have a fabulous time walking down the water to Venice Beach. The Pacific is so cold that my feet go nearly numb. We get back up to the sidewalk and head back to the Santa Monica side of the beach; there are bathrooms that are actually in the realm of sanitary. The sunset over the ocean is well worth the wait; the hues that we see in Californian skies I have yet to see anywhere else. Once the Sea swallows the Sun the water boils; its warm enough now to consider swimming, but this is when people get seriously injured or go missing the most, so I let my feet be warm. We head back to the house for another night of Cat-filled sleep. I wake up late, again, to a lazy day of reading, and getting my dear sick Edyth into the shop to see what ails the old girl this time. It makes me sad and angry that I am still fixing my car; after every turn she has some life-threatening issue that will strand me in the middle of nowhere without the ability to reach help. Every time as well it costs more and more money to fix her. It will take another day to know what it is this time; so the three of us are going to the Happiest Place on Earth!
As many times as I have been to Los Angeles, I still can’t get over how long it takes to actually get places. It’s not just the traffic; LA is fairly spread out for being one continuous metropolitan area. We left the house around eleven, getting to the parking structure around noon. Before I can enter the park, I receive the call about my car: my head gasket it still leaking water into the piston, and my timing is slipping. In layman’s terms: I could still drive it if I don’t go uphill, but the Grapevine would kill her absolutely, and HWY1 might kill her. All translates to no more Northward Bounds for my Edyth. I decide to leave it to another day, because I will not allow anything to stop my happiness today. I’m at Disneyland! I quell my nerves with a Nutella and banana crepe and head into the park. The flowers are exactly how I remember it! I answer a quick survey with the nice lady right by the gate and head over to New Orleans Square. My Aunt and Uncle have already been on Splash Mountain, and we head on over to Pirates of the Caribbean. I totally sqee’d over the Jack Sparrow additions, but one of my favorite bits has been silenced: “Wenches for sale” is almost unheard. We have lunch and explore the rest of New Orleans, then on to Adventureland and do the Indiana Jones, and off to EVERYWHERE! I see the Fairytale Kingdom (and nearly kill myself in Sleeping Beauty’s castle). I was desperately upset that my favorite ride, It’s a Small World, was closed, the water drained and the lights off. I find my second favorite, the Teacups, and have at! It starts to become evening as the lights come on like fairies. We enjoy a fabulous evening of rides and lights. Much ado about everything in the Magic Kingdom; every little detail is worth seeking. The entire ambiance is so carefully played out to create What Dreams May Come. We end our time within the safety of the Gates at the Soundsational Parade on Main Street. Lights and Music come down from the Castle, and I have only one complaint: there is no Alice. She has been absent this whole day, because she leaves for the day earlier than the other Actors. Otherwise, it is amazing and fabulous. One former Actor had come to see his friends, and was next to us as the parade went by; all of the other Actors and Actresses waved in our direction. I felt like a Princess. The costumes are worth mentioning: the details and visuals they created sent my muse on a high that it hasn’t returned from. Once the Parade was over, my Uncle and I caught a showing of Steamboat Willie, and the three of us went shopping. I got myself a Tea Service for one, as well as a new Tea Press. We head home to Chinese food and another cat-filled night.
After another late breakfast and my Aunt takes me to the shop to talk about my Edyth. As my car is now costing me more than I can afford, I decide to finally give up on my Old Girl. My Aunt and I clean her out of all my possessions. The shop owner is a great friend of my Aunt, and he agrees to hold my car for me until it gets picked up. I finally decide to donate her to the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee (http://www.elephants.com/). Cars for Causes picked her up three days later. My last leg North was spent as a passenger in my Aunt’s fabulous minivan, complete with Car Lashes.
I arrived Home on 02 February 2012. This leg of my journey has been completed. Forward; Father up and Farther In.