Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Topo Gazing and Roach Coach Commons

Jan. 9

The first leg of the plane ride was vastly entertaining, as I studied the topography of the Western U.S. unfold from 30,000 feet in the air.

Coming in to the Salt Lake City region, the topography of the mountains is deeply etched into the earth. It is easy to visualize the path of rainfall flowing out of the hills, draining the watershed, perfectly illustrating the “anatomy of a landscape” that P.A. Yeomans describes in his classic treatise Water for Every Farm. More on that later.

My first adventure was a six hour layover in LA, where I got scooped up from the airport and launched to my former stomping grounds of Venice by an old friend – Alex the cyclist, designer, activist, and all around creator of beautiful things.

He whisked me off to eat some tasty street food – apparently Los Angeles has finally found its “street food” identity. Chicago has the hot dog, new York has pizza, and LA has…foodie food trucks! This hopping Friday night found Abbot Kinney lined with literally dozens of food trucks each specializing in a particular food, from the Korean taco truck to the grilled cheese truck.

Southern California is notoriously obsessed with the automobile, and it was somehow fitting to see how the combo of food and vehicles brought people out – literally hundreds of people roamed the street looking for an inexpensive, tasty bite of trendy food around elaborately decorated food trucks.

How classic of LA to create a commons around an automobile.

After all, Los Angeles is the city that sold its extensive public transportation network of light rail public to automakers Ford and Chevy back in the 50s. They quickly filled in the underground tunnels and built the miles upon miles of freeway network that ubiquitously laces the region.

And though not sustainable or local or organic or any of the things one might ideally look for, it sure was tasty.

A Vietnamese pork BBQ sandwich and order of kimchi French fries later, my tummy was full of grease and satisfied for the last leg of my journey. Onwards, it’s 14 hours to Sydney!

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