Saturday, April 19, 2008

I’m not going to lie, beginning the day was much more difficult than we would’ve liked. I was not pleased at all to leave the warm comfort of my bottom bunk bed (if you didn’t figure this out, Elena and I have a bunk bed). After dragging my sleepy head out of bed and into the shower, I was a little more prepared to take on the day ahead of us.

Waiting for public transportation is not something I’m used to, especially since it’s virtually nonexistent in good ol’ Colorado. And so we waited for the bus, we waited, and then we waited some more. Finally the bus 33 arrived, and Elena and I took a sigh of relief. Upon arrival at the El Pueblo Historical Monument, we realized that the front of the Pio Pico Hotel was being prepped for a movie! Later in the day, when we were leaving work, movie people even shooed us away from the set. I have a strong suspicion that I saw Alfonso Cuaron today, though with my horrendously lacking skills in movie trivia I may be horrendously wrong.

As soon as I downed a full bottle of water and a handful of cough drops, Elena and I set to work…watching home videos of Chinese Americans from the 1950-60s. From my interpretation, the protagonist of these home-made films was a little mischievous Chinese American boy, whom we dubbed bad di-di (little brother in Chinese). Although there was not sound with these videos, the material was fascinating. Here, encapsulated in a 3 part, 6 hour long movie was the experience of a Chinese American childhood. In many regards, this Chinese family experienced many quintessential elements of American life (i.e. opening Christmas presents, having fun in Disneyland, visiting the Grand Canyon, and etc.). Yet there was a repeated return to images of life in Chinatown, of lion dances and family gatherings. The videotaped images provided by this Chinese American family exemplify the fusion of Eastern and Western cultures.

After watching several shots of the Phoenix Bakery in the movie, Elena and I would relive history during our lunchtime hour, one bite at a time. Our eating adventures in LA continued after work as well, when our fellow volunteer/interns offered to take us to frozen yogurt in Little Tokyo. In one afternoon, Elena and I were lucky enough to sample two competing frozen yogurt stores (Pinkberry and CeFiore), which are located across the street from one another. Much to my delight, I found the stuff (at both locations) absolutely marvelous!

Well, I’m fast fading and should likely get a good night sleep before we go to Disneyland tomorrow!