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Saturday, May 11, 2024

Cinco de Mayo 2024

Cinco de Mayo is the day when Mexico won over France at the Battle of Puebla. The celebration is more popular in the U.S than in Mexico. The festivity I attended was off of Olvera Street in downtown L.A. I got there last Sunday around 1:30 p.m which was way too late. Google map took me to the Union Station parking where the attendant said that they were full, and directed me to the next street lot in a brown building. That was a big mistake because the upper-levels were taken, and I ended up going way down. There were no employees working, the elevator did not function, and the stairs, well, no one was taking them. I ended up climbing up along the same path as the exiting cars.
Once on the street, the choice was to walk under a dark eerie bridge or go across the street and ask how to get to Olvera Street. After much confusion, I went through the Union Station, exited the other end, and crossed the street to get to the festivities.

Do not let my pictures fool you. If you don’t like crowds, you will not like Cinco de Mayo in downtown L.A. See that railing in the video, that too was full of people behind it, waiting to get ice cream. I had to wait a longtime for the crowd to disperse for a split second before sneaking in a photo. No matter where I turned, I was in someone’s way. I ended up standing at a corner for thirty minutes to adjust to the crowd passing through, before figuring out what to do next.

After taking in a deep breath, and getting used to the locals, I began moving. You see, I was not prepared to be on a foreign soil because that's how it felt. I was expecting lots of shoving and pushing, but to my surprise, people were kind, patient, and accommodating. One interesting thing was that there were small food stalls in between retail booths.

I ended up buying the above handmade  bowl at a candle shop. I mean, I think it was handmade. That's what the vendor told me.
The lines to get food are long, but if there is just one or two of you, there is no wait time. You can sit at the bar.
The staff working at El Paseo de Los Angeles are super busy, and pretend that they can’t hear you when you ask a question. But eventually, they come around, and take your order. The cheese enchilada is yum, and can easily be shared or taken home.


The sound of music comes from everywhere – the food trucks, stalls, street singers, the performers on the stage, and on and on. It’s chaotic. When you first get there, you cannot hear a thing because each person is playing something different. I wanted to take a photo. The audience staring at the stage, and the dancing couples in the crowd, did not want to let me in, thinking I wanted to steal their spot. I squeezed in, took a short video, and left.

The DR. Pepper truck was giving away free Dr. Peppers.
Heading back once again through the Union Station.
Planning to go next year? It’s best to ignore the 12-6 time frame of Cinco de Mayo, and arrive as early as possible, perhaps around 10:00 or sooner, and look for street parking.

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