...in Los Angeles.
You might expect the main rail station in a big city to be thronging with people, grubby and run down. Well, you'll be in for a surprise. Thank Goodness the American love affair with the automobile has bequathed us Union Station, as it really is the most exquisite railway station I have ever seen (and I've seen more than my share).
The LA subway is very nice, probably because it doesn't really serve anywhere that poor people live, most of whom seem to struggle with the bus system instead. But getting out of the subway at Union station was extrordinary, entering this grand wood-lined and immaculate parket floor hall with the most beaurtiful leather and wooden seating. Stepping outside the architecture is just as magnifiscent - can't date it properly, but very western, mexican and probably 1860s. A trip worth making.
And your excuse for heading out to Union could be to visit Olivera Street, the first street in LA, and home to the oldest building in Los Angeles and a couple of quite decent Mexican restaurants, a more-than-decent mariachi band who will serenade you at your table (could have been irritating, but wasn't) and a long line of stalls selling a range of delightful, faux-Mexican tat.
I bought a toy guitar made in China and a little wooden puppet, all for about $10.
Two train songs ;-)
- Neko Case - Train from Kansas City (Shangri Las cover)
- The Pastels - Truck Train Tractor (the classic low fi rocker)
And one puppet %-)
- Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham - I'm Your Puppet (Live 1999)
buy them here :-)~