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Life and Times of an itinerant slacker in Sacramento. Thrills, Spills Galore coming soon. Not to mention lots of opinions.

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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

LA Mission Mission Days 2 & 3

In which we visit Mission San Gabriel in the morning, and go to college in the afternoon, and end the day with a side trip to Pasadena.

Mission San Gabriel is, oddly enough, found in San Gabriel, a small suburb a few miles south of Pasadena. We left the Pasadena Freeway just east of Pasadena and meandered about five miles south through the suburban posh and leafy San Marino to get to San Gabriel. Both cities showed evidence of Urban planning, something you don’t see everywhere in these parts.

Mission San Gabriel looked most impressive from the outside. Although the rear of the mission had been expanded outward over the years to include several schools and a seminary, the front view of the mission was preserved by a large park - like garden. The views were spectacular.




The interior of the mission was pretty clustered, full of small exhibits about Indian life in the regions. This was not the most exciting mission I've seen. The old mission church had a nice reredos.


The life - sized statue of Saint Francis (at least I think it was St Frances) had this strange bleary - eyed look I couldn't figure out. Maybe he had too much mortification of the flesh the previous night. you know how crazy those monks can be.

I liked this guy 'cause he looks like a Deadhead.


For me, the library was the highlight of the mission tour. Some old volumes were presented opened, showing sample pages of some old bibles printed in the 16th and 17th centuries.


This bible had annotations presented just like Talmud editions I have seen. Might there have been conversos among the producers of Latin Bibles?


The structure of the church and the connected rectory have survived the years relatively unscathed, which is rare in this land of earthquakes. The floors were very uneven. I imagine that’s the result of 200 years of earthquakes. The old rectory is still used, although there was a larger modern church built on the grounds. While we were there, people carried altar gadgets back from the modern church to this vestry. This vestry is the most intact part of the original mission architecture.


This rope leads to the bells. Despite the “Though shalt not ring” sign, it took all I had to resist the urge to pull on this rope.

There seems to be a passion for building models of missions. They had pretty large models of all the California Missions on display.

We had lunch in San Gabriel, in a mini mall full of small Asian restaurants There were at least five small Asian places in two mini malls on opposite sides of the corner. Our choice was made easier when I noticed two of the places had posted “B” grades from the LA County restaurant inspectors. We chose the Tasty Noodle House. Yes, the noodles were tasty.

We met my niece at Occidental College, for the usual campus tour and to take a student to dinner to rescue her from dorm food.

We arrived early, so we spent a few minutes walking around the campus. We bought T shirts in the University Store. I figure wearing an Oxy T shirt will make people think better of me (smart, rich, young, you name it). The campus was beautiful, and really had the look of a perfect undergraduate college campus. The few students we met seemed nice, and they were willing and able to give cogent directions to a couple of doddering old farts.

The campus is located on the side of a hill overlooking Eagle Rock, a small LA suburb south of Pasadena. The architecture was pretty consistent, following the modernized classical revival style that is associated with the Pasadena area (similar to the Rose Bowl). Take Classical Revival and Mission Revival Architecture, smash them between two bricks until you see clean lines, and this is what you get.

C, our Niece, gave us a quick tour of the campus, which seemed even more beautiful when she pointed out the sights. We walked up a hill from the main quad to get to the dorm where C, along with many freshmen (fresh people?) lived. They have a vast view of the valley south of Pasadena.



We piled into the car and drove to Pasadena, and looked at some cool old churches and the city hall. I want to rename it the Taj-Ma-City Hall.


We drove back to Eagle rock and had dinner at a small Thai place south (and downhill) of campus. Most of Eagle Rick we saw downhill from the campus seemed to have some rough edges.

We drove home after dinner, and finally got caught in crummy LA traffic. Since traffic is boring, that’s the end of what’s I have to say.

We spent day three at the Huntington Garden and Library. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in either gardens, art or History of Science. The Wikipedia article covers everything better than anything I'm willing to take the time to write.

The indoor library exhibits were divided into History of Science, and History of Literature. The History of Science was interesting, but the literature was more compelling to see. Everything Western from a Gutenberg Bible (in Latin, oddly enough) and the oldest existing edition of the Canterbury Tales (hand printed and illuminated) to first editions of Shakespeare's plays, and a bunch of 19th Century stuff. I was surprised that the books printed after about 1650 or so appeared completely unremarkable to my modern eyes.

Day four was uninteresting the drive home.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

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