Friday, January 02, 2015

We Travel by Train

Melinda Palacio

The Santa Barbara Amtrak Depot
Santa Barbara
All Aboard!

The first thing I wanted to do after driving back to Santa Barbara from New Orleans was visit my sister. The parking lot on the 101 freeway gave me some reservation until my friend Lora suggested I take the train. A trip on the Pacific Surfliner was among the best presents I could have given to myself. Fellow Bloguero, Rene Colato Lainez took the train from Union Station in Los Angeles to Santa Barbara earlier this year with a group of writers. They did a mini writing residency on the nearly three-hour ride. When they set foot in Santa Barbara they were happy to briefly leave their lives behind in Los Angeles and enjoy a beautiful day in Santa Barbara. I was just as happy to make a similar trip last Sunday to Los Angeles.
Union Station, the Los Angeles Amtrak Depot

You can go anywhere in the country from Union Station.
Downtown L.A.
I met my sister and Marley for lunch at Olvera Street. While there are plenty of better Mexican restaurants a little further away from the center of where it all began, El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles, I enjoyed playing tourist for a day. We also had the pleasure of meeting fellow Bloguero, Michael Sedano, for lunch.
Inside Union Station

Although we laughed and joked about Michael's last days on this earth (He goes back to surgery next week.), I expect Michael to not have any visits with his ancestors or hiccups with his hospital visit. Earlier this year, a trip to the ER and OR caused him to miss the International Latino/Latina Studies conference in Chicago, where La Bloga also celebrated our 10th anniversary. This was the same conference I missed because I broke my leg last Summer.

Michael Sedano 

Sunday, the weather was picture perfect. I've always realized Union Station's stature. Although I grew up a few miles away, near Alameda Street, the train station frequently served as a backdrop for movies and television shows. Although my family rarely took the Amtrak to Del Rio, Texas, the station loomed in the background, on our way to Chinatown, Highland Park, or Pasadena. And as seen on TV or in the movies, I arrived to a sunny town lined with palm trees, mountains to my right and sky scrapers beyond Olivera Street, my lunch destination.

This first weekend of the new year, I may find myself on the train again, although the trip to Berkeley is much longer and not as direct as the ride to Los Angeles. On Sunday, January 4, I have the honor of reading at the benefit for Michele Serros at the Berkeley (my alma mater) Alumni House. If you are in the bay area, join us for a dinner andfloricanto benefit for Michele Serros on Sunday.
Join us for a dinner and floricanto in honor of Michele Serros


msedano said...

we did laugh about that and so we shall again. hugs to all in Berkeley, and "break a leg" at Michelle's benefit.

Manuel Ramos said...

I think we may have a new Bloga tradition - having lunch on Olvera Street. I joined Em and Daniel there on one of our trips to L.A. Now Melinda and Em ... How about a Bloga train excursion -- writing, wine tasting, camaraderie? Michelle's benefit will rock, I'm sure.

msedano said...

and when Rudy came to town we visited la placita for the America Tropical mural. We may have eaten there.

Marsha de la O said...

Abrazos to Michelle Serros. I want to take the train to Union Station too!