Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Militant Goes To The Valley

The Militant paid a visit to the San Fernando Valley for the first time since inaugurating this here blog. Yes, the Militant drove his car this time, because one of the purposes had something to with routine auto maintenance in North Hills (kind of hard to do if you didn't bring your car), and also the transport of unspecified Militant cargo to a destination in the foothills of Encino later that evening. But all was consistent with the Militant's "Car-Lite" rules; the trip was over 10 miles from home, so it warranted auto travel. Besides, the entire trip was still conscious of saving gas and mileage as the Militant, having had the Encino destination on his calendar for over a month, purposely scheduled the North Hills appointment on the same day to avoid taking multiple trips to The Valley, thus accomplishing the goal of saving gas, mileage and money.

Though many have ridiculed or disdained The Valley as some suburban wasteland, the Militant has an admitted sentimental fondness to it, for personal reasons. Though the Militant has never lived in the 818, and has never planned on living there, given a choice between The Valley, the SGV, The IE or the Antelope Valley, The Militant would choose the 818 in a heartbeat. Say what you will about The Valley, it still has way more flavor than the Inland Empire will ever have. The Militant would even rather live in The Valley than in the Westside...(At least The Valley has mass transit...).

On this July Wednesday, the temperature in the 91343 zip code area was a scorching 95 degrees. The Militant, while waiting for his car maintenance, and stuck at a waiting room without a complete newspaper nor a notebook to write on, decided to take a walk outside. So he left the air-conditioned confines of the unspecified auto dealership waiting room and crossed Sepulveda Blvd, walking past the cars stopped at the intersection with their air conditioner systems buzzing and whirring loudly. The Militant wanted to do what the Militant usually does when he takes a walk to an unfamiliar place: mapping. The Militant's stroll through The Community Formerly Known As Sepulveda yielded a taco joint here, a Mexican mariscos restaurant there, an old-school minimall, a new-school minimall, a Panda Express with a drive-thru, another minimall. After barely a block, the Militant decided it was too damn hot to walk any further...and headed back. Crossing Sepulveda again, a large Coca-Cola billboard loomed not too far up the street. Aimed to those who habla espaƱol, the billboard read, "¿Tienes Sed?" (Are you thirsty?), and the little voice in the Militant's head (the same one that told him to start this here blog) said, "Si!"

But The Militant realized something during his two-block walk: Compared to the sidewalks on The Other Side Of The Hill, they're wider, cleaner and in much better condition...yet no one walks in The Valley (save for Downtown Burbank, NoHo Arts District, Toluca Lake, Ventura Blvd in ShOaks and that little stretch of Reseda by Cal State Northridge). Perhaps The Valley should just give the sidewalks in the remainder of the area to Hollywood, Silver_Lake, Koreatown, Echo Park or The Real Eastside. I mean, it's not like the rest of the Valley folks really use 'em.

But 'tis true, The Valley is sprawling, where after the car maintenance, The Militant made an attempt to visit one of his operatives who works at a store on Reseda, south of Nordhoff. But the store was hard to locate for some reason (the pressure of traffic made it hard to slow down) and the mission was aborted, so the Militant headed straight to his Encino destination. That whole trek was 14 miles -- roughly the same distance from Downtown Los Angeles to Santa Monica Beach! The Valley (345 square miles) can easily fit the entire nation of Singapore (292 square miles) with room to spare.

But The Militant will visit The Valley again before the summer ends - If biking by the beach during the day is his #1 summertime joy, then biking at night in The Valley is #2. The weather is perfect, the streets are nice and wide, there's no traffic. The Valley really feels like a different place when you explore it like that. The Militant also longs for those nights when the Santa Anas make the palm trees of The Valley sway crazily, causing their fronds to bristle against each other hard enough that it makes a soothing sound not unlike that of the surf.

Like, fer sure.


LA Bus Girl said...

I never really went to the Valley until earlier this summer... and being a girl from the SGV, that's kind of where my heart is... (especially since I live there during the summers while going to school at 'SC.)

I like to think it has flavor. Or at least, the best places for boba and pho.

I make no justifications for the Inland Empire, however...

Militant Angeleno said...

Hey la bus girl, the Militant requests that you email him as he has an SGV-related question for you for some of his militant research: militantangeleno @@@ gmail ... com

Anonymous said...

hey! i'm going to cali this weekend and won't be back until is the website i was talking about where i made extra summer cash. Later! the website is here

Anonymous said...

Like most of LA, the Valley has a lot of flavor. You just have to search for it.

The Valley is also home to the best Thai food (just go down Sherman Way in North Hollywood). would you compare the Valley to the South Bay?

Militant Angeleno said...

Hello valleypinoy:

Re: SB vs. SFV: It's a toss-up. The Militant gives a slight edge to the Valley, yet the South Bay has more ideal climatic conditions by far (and lower particulate matter as well...). But the only part of the SB that has any real cultural flavor is Torrance or maybe Gardena. Hawthorne Blvd is one long-ass street without much freeway access.

I assume by your screen name that you live in Pano (Panorama City)?

lainey said...

woohoo my hometown! i grew up when north hills was called sepulveda! my friends from huntington park describe the valley in one word...flat. tis true the 818 is flat, but i'll love it til i die.

Anonymous said...

I like the Valley, being a guy from the SGV. I like how every other person is in the 'biz', how you run into people in the porn business, and the cultural collisions that started to happen after all these LA people moved up after the quake. I like the head shops and the random scent of weed, and the tacky stuff, as well as the snobby stuff on Ventura Blvd. I like the Jews and whites and Af-Ams, coming from somewhere without too many of any of those groups -- it seemed really diverse, more than most of LA, despite its Hollywood rep for being all tacky Anglos. I like visiting the Valley a lot more than I liked living there, which was only so-so.

V said...

I wonder if the area around Reseda Blvd and Sherman Way could one day be named "Little Vietnam" or something. I know there's a Little Saigon in Orange County, but there isn't one within LA City limits.