One store drew my eye - it was a Chinese import store. When I was a little girl, someone bought me one of those Chinese pin-cushions - you know the ones, right? A silk-covered ball, with little puffy silk figures embracing it around all sides, in shimmering jewel-like colors? Well, you can get them here - by the dozens. Curly bamboo plants in earthenware pots; carved wooden Buddha figures, brocade cosmetic cases and purses - I ended up buying a parasol to protect me from the sun. The proprietor asked me how many dozen I wanted. $2.50 each for the first dozen, he said. If I only wanted one, it was $5.
Sold anyway - because the sun was hot.
Down the block there was a lady selling chickens and cats and bunnies. Not real ones, but posed figures of them, with feathers and "fur" applied, so they looked real...ish. She did not let me take a photo.
Another store had real bunnies and birds...parakeets, finches, grey parrots and cockatoos. Also, swimming in a pan on the pavement a half a dozen turtles about the size of salad plates. They looked happy, paddling away in their watery pan, but I don't think these are legal.
I went across the street and got my watch battery replaced for another $5 by a nice Indian gentleman, and then I bought a $15 watch from him - it looks very 20's retro, with fake jet and marcasite. He kindly adjusted the clasp so it fit my wrist, and then he replaced the old battery with a new one, to start me off right.
There are a lot of stores selling items printed with crazy punk patterns of skulls, smiley faces, camoflage and cockroaches. Messenger bags, backpacks, wallets; you can buy imprinted suspenders and belts, too. I almost bought messenger bag in black with skulls and red roses - only $20 - but decided against it. Maybe next time.
In one little shoe store, the young Asian man waiting on me complimented my sunshade while I examined the sneakers and "crocs" and vans on the racks. Ooh, comfy shoes! I ended up taking the plunge - check these cool vans out:
Pink hearts and skulls with bows - the perfect thing for a 54 year old woman! Maybe I can wear them to staff meetings. And only $10!
At the south end of the district - where they sell fabric by the yard, I browsed among the silks and rayons, and found some incredible dupioni silk for only $8 per yard. It's a brassy yellow/chartreuse, with an undertone of magenta (can you believe it? I hardly can myself!). I bought 3 yards, being a cheap-ass, hoping to have a fantastic table-covering out of it. Now I need to find some fringe to sew along the edges.
I saw tons of things I adored but would never buy in a million years. How about these clocks?
There were some other cool ones with fiberoptics! And you could buy figurines that were also lamp-bases, with shades. And how about these tasteless ethnic stereotype kitchen accessories?
You can find anything you want here. As long as you buy it by the dozen.
Who wants to go on a group expedition? I know there are at least enough people out there who would justify a 12-parasol order. If you're in L.A. this summer, and you can arrange a weekday free comment or email me, and let's plan a group excursion.
We can go have cocktails after.