Oasis

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Around us, people mingled and posed and photographed the sunset. Like a citrus smoothie, the white-yellow sun dipped into the sky, the reddish orange pinks melted into water–then a tap on the shoulder and a “hi, can you take a picture of us?”

I don’t blame her. Or the countless others with cameras aimed towards the sky (I was one. With three cameras) The view was breath-taking. And we were high up, too: on the drive, we’d looped up and around the rocky hills. It reminded me of California, with its steep roads and inclines.

So I’ll cut to the chase–let’s just say we found ourselves at the crowded sweltering restaurant on a hill. To our right were fancy homes (and lucky homeowners). To our left, tourists and restaurant-goers and sight-seers. The place was packed, a hive of sweaty well-dressed vibes. We slipped into the bar for a fruity pink smoothie, then wandered around the three stories. Once it was dark, we speed-walked back to the parking garage hungry and exhilarated.

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Graffiti Park

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Instead of the single wall I imagined it to be, Graffiti Park turned out to be a colorful mini mountain stacked with painted concrete slabs. Satirical paintings towered over layers of graffiti. Squiggled words littered the walls; empty spray bottles littered the ground. Around me, people posed for pictures and tagged their names. Artists hauled in ladder to work on their pieces. We watched an artist spray-shade in a lion’s mane with cyan colored paint.

After grabbing our white spray paint, we hiked up the hill to find a place to paint. Most people were hiking up to the right. We were already on the left side and spotted a rundown path up the hill. I went first. I steadied myself on the rocks, occasionally gripped a branch, and we slowly made our way up the mountain. Terrain was rocky; the dirt was sometimes loose. We hopped onto a concrete slab mid-way from the top with view looking over the park, then shimmied our way onto yet another space. We tagged our names and I painted a face, disproportionate and bright, finishing the can before sunset.