|Ross Alley in San Francisco's Chinatown / Home to Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory / Flickr|
Become a Tourist in Your Own Town
On a recent trip to Toronto, a young lady struck up a conversation with me while we were both waiting in line to get through Customs. (Note to self: Follow-up on your Global Entry application.) After learning that I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, she asked "Isn't that where the oldest fortune cookie company in the US is?" Um. Uh. "I think so," I vaguely recollected. Why don't I know this? I thought later. I've lived in Northern California for over 12 years. I don't even know my own town. Hmpfh.
|Venice Beach, CA / August 2011|
Taken by OneBrownGirl
The truth is that as much as I don't think I do, sometimes I take California for granted. California: The place where so many people dream to visit. I have spent most of my life in Los Angeles and grew up a mile east of Beverly Hills and within 10 minutes of some of the most popular beaches in the US. It was My Normal to work, eat & play in Beverly Hills and on Melrose; to hang out at Venice Beach, Santa Monica & Malibu; to run down/up to Palm Springs, Mexico, San Diego, Santa Barbara & Vegas for the weekend; to stroll with friends in Westwood Village (when it was cool); to eat lunch at Roscoe's Chicken & Waffles; to work with and hang out with celebrities in Hollywood (who are just people, BTW). Just normal.
So in the past few years, I've made a commitment to start looking around. To go beyond My Normal. I noticed the Sutro Bath ruins and walked through them for the first time when I dined (for the umpteenth time) at the Cliff House in San Francisco recently. I shop at the Asian markets for fruit and fish and try new things. I'm even going to try to get to The Getty when I'm in LA next week. I've committed to becoming a tourist in my own town.
|View of the Sutro Bath ruins from the Cliff House|
San Francisco / August 2011 / Taken by One Brown Girl
So I propose the same challenge to you that I have taken on myself...and that is for you to become a tourist in your own town. To actually tune in to your surroundings and find out what's interesting and what you might have been missing or what you've been saying you were going to do but never got around to doing it. As much as I like to travel, I realize that there is so so much culture right here in our own back yards. It's just up to us to find it.
So look: If anyone ever asks you about fortune cookies in San Francisco, tell them "Oh yes. Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory is in San Francisco's Chinatown and has produced thousands of Chinese Fortune Cookies every day since 1962. You can even take a tour of this tiny little factory." Even if you don't live here, it's kinda cool to know.
Where do you live? How can you become a tourist in your own town?