Every other Sunday, Tim appears at our door for what is listed on his calendar as "Parents Day" which is a nice way of putting it. He arrives hungry, so we go down and enjoy dinner in the dining room before we get to business. Sometimes we need to get supplies from the supermarket, occasionally we need to tackle a trip to Costco; yesterday I suggested visiting Chinatown for the sole purpose of finding a bamboo backscratcher. I can't find the one I'm sure we brought from home and Mr. Bob tires of my asking him to scratch a spot I can't reach.
It doesn't take long to get there from here, but it's beyond my comfort zone to drive to Los Angeles. Just like his father, Tim likes to drive. Mr. Bob came along, a happy surprise, for he usually prefers the peace and quiet assured by staying at home. He doesn't require the stimulation of what I call "outside". I crave it.
I'm just like a kid in a candy store........"ooooh, look at that!" "Oh, my, did you see her?" "Can you go around the block so I can get a better look?" And Tim complied, talking all the while about some Slippery Shrimp he'd eaten in Chinatown which surpassed the Honey Walnut Shrimp of which we're so fond.
"Look, Tim, Are those strings of firecrackers?"
"Surely not. Fireworks are illegal here."
"Well, I'll bet they are.....for Chinese New Year celebrations."
We'll never know, for the area was so packed with people and vehicles that there was no place to park to get out to inquire.
Merchandise spilled out of shop doorways, with no effort at displaying it attractively, but that was part of what made it intriguing, no pretension whatsoever. 'Round and 'round we went. One man was playing an instrument I'd not seen before and the music, discordant to our Western ears, hovered over the crowded sidewalks and could be heard from a block away.
Finally, Tim pulled into an alley and managed to park the car close to a wall before hurrying into one of the stores that seemed to feature a lot of red and gold decorations, presumably for the coming Year of the Rabbit which begins this year on Feb. 3. He returned with something large to hang in our library display, but no backscratcher. So we gave up and relinquished the idea of slippery shrimp and decided to eat at Philippe's where the lines were long, but the wait was worth it. French dip sandwiches and cole slaw and that pungent mustard and the best people watching in town. Our own tradition dictates that the meal concludes with a York peppermint patty. Slippery Shrimp couldn't possibly surpass that.
Meanwhile, Mr. Bob, a little more to the left, please..........up....... over......there, that's it! You've got it and thank you very much.