Guest Walker: Coco Chappelle

When I first put it out there that I was looking for people to walk with me, Coco was one of the first people to offer to take me around her neighborhood. Unfortunately, she lives in one of the last neighborhoods on my list, so she’s had to wait a while to get out on the streets with me. To top it all off we’ve had one of those ‘only in Pedro’ moments where we don’t know eachother but know some of the same people. Coco even gave SPBXB a plug in one of the columns she writes for the local zine ‘The Rise and the Fall of the Harbor Area’. Besides writer, Coco added Bad Ass MC to her resume when she was one half of female rap group Foxy Autopsy, they even made the cover of the OC Weekly.

Guest Walker: Kim Sarmiento

Kim was one of the brave souls who came to the first Blind Bite I held at the Pacific Diner a couple of months ago. She had been reading my blog for a while and jumped at the chance to be a part of it. She was so excited to have her meal photographed for the Bite by Bite that she asked me if her thumb could be in the picture. I was flattered by her enthusiasm. Since that first meeting Kim has joined me for the second Blind Bite and now a walk in the Point Fermin area.

Kim is a 3rd generation San Pedran. Her Grandfather, Pete Sarmiento (pictured above) a Philipino boxing legend, settled here and worked as a longshoreman in the days of break bulk cargo. Kim’s father followed his Dad onto the docks and became one of the first three crane operators for the Port of Los Angeles, an honor he took great pride in.

Kim and I met at Lookout Point for our walk. When we looked out at the Port we both were amazed at the fact that the Port we knew today would be completely unrecognizable to her Grandfather and how it will probably keep changing in our lifetimes and beyond. That’s deep.

Guest Walker: Joshua Stecker

Josh Stecker and SPBXB go way back, pretty much from the second I decided I was going to do it. I followed him on Twitter because I had met him once briefly during a photoshoot and I really admired/enjoyed what he was doing with San Pedro Today. I had been mulling over the idea of walking every street in San Pedro and I could’ve flaked on myself but something pushed me to tweet the idea so I couldn’t take it back. If it was out there I had to do it. Minutes later I got a direct message from Josh telling me he thought it was a great idea. We met at Starbucks soon after that so I could bounce some ideas off of him, but what I was really looking for was for him to tell me what to do. He had a magazine that was new and successful, surely he should know what I’m supposed to do. Instead of falling for my boss trap he gave me one piece of advice “Just start doing it.” So I did. A couple of weeks later when I had a few walks under my belt, I was still hoping he would jump in and tell me what to do, but he had a little thing called a wedding to deal with. So I took his advice and just did it, and in doing so I found my groove and my voice. Over the last 8 months we kept in touch via twitter and he would laugh at my crazy messages and we would kind of trade war stories about putting it out there in San Pedro. Early on he gave me a big boost to my readership just by posting a link on his San Pedro Today Facebook page. In one day I had a like 1200% spike in the visits to my page. Because of all the support, I’ve always kind of considered SPT to be a big brother to SPBXB. With all that said, you know I had to get him on a walk.

Serendipitous Guest Walkers: Dr. Phil and Chata

I was almost off the cliffs for good when a kindly man waved to me as he parked his truck right next to the Secret Gate and let his yellow lab out. I wanted to ask him if he was going to walk that trail and if he knew if it had a name. He told me it was the trail to Jap’s Cove, a place that I had just learned about from Kim this past weekend after the Blind Bite. I told him how I just chickened out when I went out there. He assured me that the path was perfectly walkable, that he and Chata came out here everyday. Then he invited me to join them. This blogger never refuses an invitation to walk with anyone! Game on. I learned that the kindly man had a name, Dr. Phil, a retired ER doctor and his dog Chata. Chata the brave is more like it. I explained to him what it is that I do and he said he had seen me earlier in the morning when I passed his house. I told him how I called the cliff a beautiful death and he laughed at me.
Here is Chata traversing the cliffs with zero fear whatsoever, while I keep one hand on the chainlink fence at all times.

Ports O’Call Week/Guest Walker: Councilwoman Janice Hahn

I introduced myself to the Councilwoman last December at a Chamber of Commerce Christmas Mixer. The ink on her Lt. Governor candidate business cards was barely dry when I asked her to walk with me for SPBXB. She agreed and a couple of months ago it happened. She made time for little ol me in the middle of a bid for Lt. Governor and the worst financial crisis the city has ever seen. I only had her for a short time, but I was greatful for it! She didn’t know much history behind Ports O’Call but as luck would have it, Jayme Wilson passed us by and she introduced me to the resident expert on PO’C. The Councilwoman was able to share the fact that one of her very first dates ever took place here at Ports O’Call at the Italian Restaurant, Ciro’s? We ran into a woman on our way back who thanked Ms. Hahn for her condolences when her husband passed away. Take away the politics, gripes and grumbles of being a public official, interactions like this is what it’s all about. I have to say it was incredibly sweet to witness.

Guest Walkers: Michale Holznagel and Caterina Minter

Michale had such a good time walking with me last week that she re-upped right away when she heard I needed help with the steep and windy Anchovy part of South Shores. I asked her to meet me at the bottom of Anchovy where I would leave my car and we’d start at the top and work our way back down. Instead of just Michale picking me up, she brought a surprise guest walker, her cousin Cat- who is also my neighbor three doors up the block. We discovered this a couple of months ago- That’s Pedro for you! Their Grandmothers are sisters and they both live on upper and lower parts of the same street as their respective grandma.

We were about two blocks into the walk before I discovered that my camera was dead. Nice one, right?! We continued down the hill and I made mental notes of things to take pictures of when I had a functioning camera again. What I do remember that I cannot duplicate was Cat stopping to smell the flowers!

Guest Walker: Michale Holznagel (and Josef on scooter)

Today’s guest walker is a super cool lady I met through Grand Vision Foundation. Michale is definitely a Pedro Girl, one of her first jobs was working down at Ports O’Call at Orange Julius (the blue and white building) and her brother is well known in the punk circles – Timo Tunes. I was able to show her a picture I scanned at the archives of her Grandpa Joe Carboni’s store on Pacific from the 40’s or 50’s. Her son Josef accompanied us on scooter.

I definitely needed a guide to help me walk around South Shores because I had only been to the neighborhood twice, and one of those times was the other day to get a feel for the streets and the first time was when I drove up Anchovy for the ten minute video I took of me speeding through town before I even started walking. Michale and her family moved to South Shores a year ago, but her family has been in this neighborhood for years, she explained the difference between upper and lower Bowfin. She told me about coming home a couple of weeks ago and seeing a car sitting in the middle of the street with something draped over the trunk. When she got closer she saw that the “something” was a swarm of bees that had overtaken a car (glad I wasn’t walking that day!). Another fun story she told me was when she was talking to her husband on the phone (on bluetooth of course) and she had to hang up the phone, telling her husband “I gotta go, there’s a tortoise walking down the street!” South Shores is a lot more interesting than I thought.