Friday, August 07, 2009

Heading home

The bus made another turn this time to the left, and stopped right there in front of The Union Station. I nodded to my husband. He stood up and made for the door, and he helped me alight. We walked toward the station.

The fancy crosswalk at the main street in front of the station.

(Click images to enlarge)

This building was built in 1939. It is a combination of Spanish and Moorish architecture on the exterior; and the interior is of art deco style.

The information kiosk manned by friendly employees. They have maps, brochures, and schedules ready for those who come to ask for assistance, or for direction.

Behind the kiosk are a restaurant and a store, and the spacious waiting area with rows and rows of upholstered comfortable seats. All the materials are original. They have not been replaced since it was erected. The ceiling is richly designed with chandelier. On both sides of the area are doors that lead to landscaped courtyards with benches and fountains.

This was the ticket lobby that is now closed to the public, due to the decline of train ridership. It has a row of about 2 dozens ticket windows. During its heyday this was the place where every one came to travel to all parts of the country. It was then used by everyone from all walks of life -- from the rich and famous to the not rich and obscure people. There is now in its place a smaller ticket booth that is served by 2 people; and computers are used to dispense tickets. Departure and arrival of trains are posted on a board electronically by a computer

We found a secluded seat for two and waited till our train pulls in. My husband took a catnap while I looked around and observed people around me. There were 2 young people with big backpacks and duffel bags who came in and purchased tickets. I assumed they were going out of town. Some people have just arrived pulling their big luggage. They must be from out of town. They were met by some friends or relatives.

Union Station has resurrected in the early 1990's when Metrolink was introduced giving the public convenient transportation to and from the outskirts of Los Angeles County and downtown; and to neighboring counties as well. Ridership has gone up and some companies are subsidizing their employees' tickets. That saves them parking fee which costs a lot in downtown. And, also, it reduces traffic and pollution.

When it started operating, we were sent free tickets. I never had the chance to use those. Students in our area have field trips to the city to give them a chance to experience riding the train; and to encourage them to use it. It is now a popular mode of transportation. Some passengers can take their bikes on the train; and when they disembark they can use their bikes to where they are going. Lockers are provided for those who don't want to take their bikes with them.

Half an hour before our train pulls out we headed to the platform.

It was perfect timing. The train just came in and we headed to the upper level; found seats for two in the back row and waited. We chugged out of there 20 minutes later.

We passed this very old bridge. There was something I like about the arches. It's full of graffiti and grime, but I just love it. I must be nuts!

The train picked up speed and at the first station picked up some more passengers, and moved on again, stopping at other stations.

About 40 minutes later we were getting close to our home station. The traffic going north (cars in background going left) has already built up. Had we taken our car we would be one of those stuck in bumper to bumper traffic. Going south towards downtown Los Angeles, traffic was light. At this time everyone was heading home after a hard day's work. In the meantime, we were taking it easy inside the air-conditioned train. My husband closed his eyes again and took a nap. I'm glad he didn't snore.

And finally, here we were back to where we boarded the train. I was so tired from all that walking. That night I slept like a log. I was glad I woke up the next morning. I'm alive!!!


Nance said...

Whew! that's some experience, mari! I enjoyed learning the history of the Union Station, train interior and you said it so well! that crosswalk is is so pretty I'll probably walk around it. lol

bertN said...

It is indeed better to take the MetroLink or the Metro Rail to go to downtown LA. I hate the freeway traffic and the exorbitant parking fees.

Just across the Union Station is Philippe french dip sandwich, supposedly the place where this sandwich originated. Have you been there? If so, how does their french dip compare with Cole's on 6th Street, another originator claimant?

Mari said...

I'm glad you enjoyed it. That crosswalk tile is fairly new. It wasn't there when I visited downtown a couple of years ago. It did make the place look nice.

Mari said...

No, I haven't been to Philippe's. I'll give it a try next time I venture there again.

Thanks for the visit.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Marie, I was Union Station about a month ago, and I sure was surprises about the crosswalk, its art and colors. I know how tiring it was for you to do all the walking. But the next time you visit, go behind the main building, there is a beautiful fountain restored with moorish and spanish mosaic tiles. I have never been on the Metrolink, but its sure looks so fancy inside. My friend told me that you can even eat on the train. i sure did enjoy the photos, a section I have not been too.

Bonnie Bonsai said...

Yes, it's a happy thought to wake up and realize we are still alive.

The Your Union Station reminds me of the Sydney Central Station. But yours is more sophisticated, though I wouldn't say, down here is bad because it is not.

It is also the hub of all railway activities including Tourism.

Very interesting account including architectural connoisseurship. Graffiti are everywhere here too. Only I wish some sillies didn't mess it up by ovewriting then it would be more arty.

Great post Mari. I thoroughly enjoy the read.

Pacey said...

Aha, I saw that tiled crosswalk on tita Ebie's post this week and I'm glad to know more of that station too from you. It has an impressive interior esp. where those ticket booths are. Thanks for the journey Mari and for visiting me again. Happy weekend.

ev said...

life may be filled with tiresome trip but at the end of the day, we'll still be able to say that it was worth the ride.:)

nice photos Mari.. take care!

dodong flores said...

This is a great storytelling, Ms. Mari. With matching photos pa, nice photos...
It's good to know that some passengers can take their bikes on the train so when they disembark they can use their bikes to where they are going. I most particularly noted this because as a bicycle enthusiast, this is the difficulty we are facing here as Manila is still so bicycle-unfriendly.

I like the story. More of it, please...

Mari said...

Yes, I will go see the back area next time I visit downtown LA. You'd be surprised when you take the Metrolink train. It's clean with upholstered seats and some are provided with tables. When they started operating, eating was not allowed. It is now.

Thanks for the tip, and the visit.

Mari said...

How long ago was your train station built? It must be fun to see comparison of the architectural features.

I'm glad to know you enjoyed the post.


Mari said...

Oh, I missed Ebie's post on that crosswalk. I took 2 shots and picked the best one.

I'm glad you enjoyed the tour.

Thanks for the visit.

Mari said...

It was an experience walking the streets of downtown.

Thanks for the visit.

Mari said...

Bike riding is encouraged here. Buses have bike racks on the front bumper so bicyclists can take them along. When I have a chance I'll take some pictures of them.

Glad you enjoyed the story telling.

Thanks for the visit.

Photo Cache said...

What a lovely station. I would like to spend time looking and shooting.

Ebie said...

Mari, thanks for reminding me, I should have thought of adding the gold: Go Lakers Go!

Ebie said...

Mari, ako pala yung anonymous na nag comment. Baka nakalimutan kong mag lagay sa link ko.

Mari said...

Photo Cache,
Now go and hunt for a nice old building. There should be one near your place.

Mari said...

Ikaw pala yun! LOL

I've been thinking of that tour in downtown that you told me. Saturday would be the best day for me.

Missy said...

Hi first time to visit your blog, and it's quite interesting to see Union Station, we were stationed in LA for 9 yrs but we never had the time to spend driving around that area, it's because of the traffic and that's why I hated going to downtown LA. But every time I see photos like this, I feel like I want to visit again LA and go to where the places we missed when we were there. Thanks for sharing.

Vk-mahalkaayo said...

good noon, mari,

hayyyyyy, pagod pa nga ako, tapos journey

'wow, you are VIP, when anybody open the door and you walked in the the hollywood star, or a queen.....heheheh
ang ganda naman ng dinaanan nyo, parang naka-carpet pa.

naimagine ko, parang nandoon ako sa wonderland nito.....nakatawa itong narration mo nga....

itong Union station nyo, kasing pareho ng Mannheim tren station, the next city from us.

kaya lang, mas maganda yon , Info kiosk nyo at the restaurant....upholstered comfortable seats and with richly designed with chandelier....ganda ano?...pwede na tingin-tingin lang, hindi tayo ma-bored, OK na sa akin magpasyal lang, tingin sa lahat.....lalo na sa mga tao-passenger with diffirent actions, hindi ba?....happy na ako.

ang ticket lobby, parang museum ano?....needs na lang yon mga subjects na makita natin.....

It's full of graffiti and grime,.....ito nga, ewan, arts ba ito.....kasi, dito rin, ewan, gawa lang ng mga ewan, yon mga teens or mga adults din......maganda nga, pero yon iba, loitering na.

the 5th pics.....ano ito?....Felsen----rocks?....tunnel?
ganda ng view.......parking place ito or along the highway.....

I was glad I woke up the next morning. I'm alive!!!

heheheheheh, naku parang si ako si ikaw......ganoon din ako, pagtamad-tired na, sabi ko, wa na si vk,

cgi, balik na lang ako, sorry ang taas ng comments ko, enjoy kasi sa journey mo rin.

share again ha<

regards and have a nice day.

many thanks for the visit........

balik na lang ako mamaya, alis na daw kami....magbike sa next barrio.....

samahan na lang si bernie, para hindi ma-discourage.....

thanks pala sa comments.....Oma was so happy nakita nya kami, lalo na sa best-apo nyang si bernie.....

balik na lang ako mamaya........

take care............hugsssss

Mari said...

Driving in downtown is a hassle; public transportation is the best way to go. You just have to do some walking.

This post is a continuation of my 2 previous ones and if you scroll down you'd see more of downtown LA.

Welcome to my blog.

Mari said...

Mabuti yan na lagi kayong pasyal ni Bernie. Magandang exercise. Ako gusto ko ng ganyan. Kung dito sa bahay laging panood ng tv, walang ginagawa, nagiging tamad. LOL

Highway yung nasa 8th pic. Pakita ko yung heavy traffic kasi pag-uwi.

Salamat sa bisita mo.

Sandy said...

I enjoyed this Mari. I haven't been to the station downtown in years!

Mari said...

I'm glad you've enjoyed the series, as I have enjoyed my trip.

Thanks again for visiting.

dodong flores said...

Hi, Ms. Mari!
I bicycle enthusiast will always enjoy photos related to bicycles. If you can take for me photos of bike racks and anything (bike racks on the bus bumper, train commuter bringing his bicycle inside the train) etc, I'll appreciate it very much.
Thank you very much in advance...