Any Asian kid who had the fortunate pleasure of growing up in Los Angeles or North OC can relate.
Whether your family had a store or you just lived in the neighborhood, around Chicanos you can be sure if you are Asian then you can remove the ca in CA.
I grew up in so many neighborhoods. From LA to Fullerton to Anaheim to Norwalk to Santa Ana to Orange back to LA. Now I spend my mornings on 41st and Central, then my afternoons on Washington Blvd and my nights on Normandie. My extended families have stores from Inglewood to Lynwood that I visit.
I’ve cruised on Whittier Blvd back in the day. Creased my Levi’s. Boxed in parks. Got high with Cheech. Made tamales in December. Listened to ska and punk with the youngsters and marked up walls. Drank beer listening to oldies with the veteranos.
I’ve been to more quincereras than you can imagine. Heck, I even make tacos with my crew all across So Cal.
My family used to frequent the old Sears complex on Olympic religiously back when it was thriving. I knew a couple dudes from the Estrada Courts and always admired the murals. So the last few months found me back in Boyle Heights.
I like it there a lot.
I went for many reasons, from visiting friends at USC hospital to eating tacos.
Last week was another visit to BH to visit Guisados. Armando is a great dude and I go especially for their array of vegetable tacos.
He’s always so nice and cordial. He cares. Then there’s that horchata.
It was rainy that day. Gray drizzle. Always cruise by that King Taco on Soto as I turn down to the flats and pass the old graveyards. Back to downtown as I cross the LA River and in my imaginary rear view mirror I feel like I hear “Orajale Chino!” as I smile inside.
Or maybe it was just the guy I cut off by accident saying “watchale chino…!”