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Chasing Down The Muse: International fun at Heisler Park

June 18, 2010

If you harbor any doubts as to the international draw of Laguna Beach, just spend a Saturday or Sunday in Heisler Park.

An open house at my home "forced" me out for the afternoon. I hadn't made any real plans and wasn't interested in a shopping expedition. I thought about the beach, but that was a no-go. Buster was with me, and no dogs on the beach after 8 a.m. kept us from lounging on the sand. Next choice? Heisler Park. It's his favorite walk, it's close to the sea, and so I packed a beach chair, art supplies, book and iPad and headed for the lawn.

Finding a spot was easy. I set up beach chair and towel under a spreading tree between the picnic area and the lawn bowling greens. It was a foggy afternoon — a clinging sense of June gloom — but that didn't stop the masses of picnicker, partiers, and wanderers from fully utilizing our town's lovely spaces.

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A Quinceanera party — a celebration of a Mexican girl's 15th birthday — certainly attracted the most attention. The young girl, dressed in a flaming hot pink dress with a full length with hoop skirt, was accompanied by an entourage of family, friends, photographers, a videographer, and of course, her "court."

Fifteen young men dressed in black suits with pink cummerbunds followed her from tree to lawn to beach and back posing for untold numbers of photographs. The "coming of age" girl carried a bouquet of white chenille and pink fabric flowers. Several young girls dressed in shorter dresses of the same shimmering pink fabric cavorted on spiked heels. When they'd exhausted every possible photo location, the entire group piled into a monster long white limousine and headed to parts unknown.

In the picnic area, a group of Chinese youth had commandeered the entire section of benches and tables. They laid out tablecloths, carried in box after box of food, fired up the charcoal barbecues and hunkered down for the afternoon. A boom boxes blared dance music, and the air was filled with lively conversations – all in Chinese. The scent of cooked meats permeated the area.

Dog walkers meandered the beach path, but not the local crowd. Heisler is one of Buster's favorite walks. He has several dog friends with whom he stops to exchange sniffs, and occasional takes an offered treat from one of their owners.

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