We downloaded an mp3 walking tour on itunes that was recommended to me by a couchsurfer I hosted in September. He raved about the unique look at this part of the city, so when I hosted a solo couchsurfer from Finland I was quick to recommend it to him. We went together, as I was just as interested in the tour myself. It told us to start out at a Luncheonette, which was not the slightest bit Asian, but the food was good. We walked down the street to what used to be a sweatshop, but to our disappointment the building had recently been torn down. The voice on the audio was enlightening us about the prevalence of sweatshops in Chinatown (his mother worked in this particular one.) We then went on to a Jewish Temple, where we went inside and looked around.
I love the narrow streets!
Next was a small indoor mall with tiny shops selling things I barely recognized. We continued on, stopping to learn about the largest church in Chinatown and the gambling habits of the community. We also saw a senior center, which we were instructed to go into but the door was locked, and a restaurant that was a staple in the neighborhood yet was closed down when we arrived. To me, this was the biggest disappointment because my couchsurfers had really appreciated the way the narrator knew the owner's name and knew where he would be sitting when we walked in. I was also eager to try the tea and almond cookies, but unfortunately did not get the chance. I loved the street this place was located on. It was clear that they didn't see many tourists in that area, and that excited me. After a few more stops, including an herbal medical shop, we lastly visited a large beautiful Buddhist temple. This was my favorite. We went inside, looked around, paid for our fortunes, and I bought some Chinese tea and a Chinese tea mug from the shop. Overall, this was a wonderful experience and a great way to spend my Sunday. I wish more of the shops had been open, but I still got a big cultural lesson.