The Chinatown of my childhood, (the one of downtown Los Angeles) celebrated the Year of the Rabbit this past weekend with a parade. My African-American friend and his Peruvian wife invited us--so we hopped on the Gold Line, exited about where we bought a Christmas tree once, and ambled over to barricades.
I tried to think back to the last time I stood on the street and watched a parade pass before me: I couldn't. While the evangelists had their six-year-old blond boy warning urging us all to believe in the one true way, and Asian supporters carried banners of a rather brutal crucifixion and statements in Chinese that I couldn't read, my son and I set off in search of food. He was hungry. I thought: pot stickers. Lychee or green tea ice cream, shops filled of incense; again, the experience of my childhood.
We found the food truck zone: crepes, lobster, hamburgers, french fries, shaved ice, grilled cheeses.
We found the fountain I used to hover around, with my sister, pitching pennies in.
We found an espresso shop.
While the mayor rode by, martial arts experts staged a mock battle, the bobbing dragons swirled past us, and tubes of gorgeous confetti exploded around us, my son ate sliders. As my friends and I watched the crowd and the participants including South Pasadena High School, Alhambra High School, Pico Rivera Elementary, City Terrace Elementary (a hovering mom kept squirting a water bottle into kids' gaping mouths) it was clear no one culture or heritage had the lock on this parade.
There you have Los Angeles, showing the rest of the world the inherent possibilities.
The next time I want Chinese food I'm heading to Monterey Park