We had a light schedule on Christmas Day, which we knew we would and were looking forward to a relaxing day. We took our time with breakfast in the morning and didn’t leave the hotel until about 10:30am. We went to Burbank to see “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” We’re both pretty big SW fans and were amused at the outrage we were hearing about this movie. There was even a short-lived petition to get it removed from the canon on Star Wars films. I’d read so much about how SW had lost it’s way with this film, I was sort of disappointed Luke didn’t turn to the dark side and kill Leia. That’s kinda what I was suspecting after some of the stuff I’d read. So, sorry if this is a spoiler, but nothing even close to that happened. And we enjoyed the movie, in fact Dan thinks it might now be his favorite, surpassing Rogue One which became his favorite after that came out. And for him, he likes them because they’re so different from the other movies. The Force Awakens is one of his least favorite because it was so much like IV, where I enjoyed a lot as sort of an homage.

Enough about all that. For the rest of the day, we just went neighborhood hopping, starting with Burbank where we had lunch. The movie was in the big mall there, Town Center, and downtown butts right up against it. It’s pretty and quaint but doesn’t photograph all that well, I just grabbed a couple below so I would remember it’s what we did next.

The alley behind the Christmas Tree below serves as an entrance to the mall, which is huge. We found a pho place for lunch and it was good (forgot photos). There were actually quite a few people milling about and many of the restaurants were open, including Starbucks which was packed. We were a little surprised at that.



From there we went by Dan’s elementary school, which is on N New Hampshire off of Hollywood Blvd. right after it begins from Vermont Ave a block east. Across Hollywood Blvd is Barnsdall Park, someplace Dan had never been despite having lived right by it for years. We took the shot of the school below from there. It’s essentially a hill with some decent views of the city, and there’s a theater up there as well.


You can see the Hollywood sign in the hills on the left, and Griffith Observatory on the right.
The top of the hill.

Next we went to Olvera Street, a Mexican outdoor market downtown that’s considered to be the birthplace of Los Angeles. It was the first street established in 1781. We were really surprised how many people were out and about here. It was lively and colorful for sure.



This is Avila Adobe, the oldest existing house in Los Angeles, built about 1818. Had we gotten there 15 minutes earlier we could have gone in; it’s free, but closed at 4pm.



I’d been keeping my eye out for bougainvillea the whole trip and finally found some! It’s my favorite flower, but it’s too cold in Sacramento for it to do well. This was a nice display of it on the roof behind the tree.


As we worked our way out of the market and over to Union Square, we got a nice shot of City Hall as a the sun was setting.


A tribute to a Mexican-American singer/actor named Antonio Aguilar, who was 88 when he died in 2007. He recorded 160 albums and made over 100 movies.


Built in 1939, Los Angeles Union Station is the largest railroad passenger terminal in the Western US and widely regarded as “the last of the great train stations.”



The outside courtyard – a Christmas tree framed by palm trees. Where else but LA?

From there we drove less than 1/2 mile and parked again over in Chinatown and walked around a bit. There were even more people out, and just about all the restaurants were open and packed, where several had lots of waiting folks hanging out on the sidewalk. Chinese are primarily Buddhist so you can generally rely on Chinese restaurants being open on Christmas! We know families who’ve made their own traditions based on that reliance.


Suits him, don’tchyathink?


From there we headed to Koreatown, and drove through downtown. This was our 3rd time driving through downtown on this trip and I decided to see if I could grab a few shots. It is really pretty all lit up, and I can’t recall another downtown we’ve been in where a freeway runs right through it with tall buildings so close on either side.



Koreatown was also packed, as always, and after a bit of driving around we found a place to park, and decided on Korean BBQ, always a favorite of mine. Dan was hoping to find soondae (Korean blood sausage) but the place we went last year – him twice – wasn’t open.


They brought a nice little salad first, then the flood of side dishes, which Dan liked better than the grouping we had Saturday night. Korean food is all about the side dishes. Top row from left to right in the photo below: cucumber kimchi (my favorite), a sort of green onion kimchee, a potato salad that also had persimmon in it, kabocha – think acorn squash, which was my 2nd favorite, fish cake, and a noodle dish. In the back were two kinds of wraps, one flour, one pickled radish, which was Dan’s favorite.

The bottom four were seaweed, cilantro, another herb or sprout we couldn’t identify, and bean sprouts.


We had pork belly, which is how bacon starts out before it’s cured. Hard to go wrong with that.


This was spicy pork, also very good.


That’s it for Christmas Day. It was a nice relaxing day and we enjoyed seeing so many people out and about enjoying the different neighborhoods.

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