Venice Beach

The sun is punishing to me. But not to the natives of Venice, California. Almost everyone is bronzed and coppered, walking up and down the boardwalk past market stalls and tattoo parlours and head-shops. Two such lotus-eaters in ganja-green medical smocks offer us to sign up for medical cards today. Its a weird idyll. Look to the west and you can barely see the horizon as the sky hits the sea. To the north is the Santa Monica Mountain Range veiled in a smoggy haze.

The place of stay was the 15 Rose Avenue Traveller’s House, and the place of play was the Venice Ale House. The Ale house is a brilliant little bar and cafe that serves up fine food and local beers. I wish I was eating some Huerto Rancheros right now. 15 Rose is something of an upmarket hostel, where you rent out rooms. There was a woman there that seemed to have lived there for ages, keeping everything in those small four walls, including a white dove.

Venice Beach is a roaming freakshow, sit down long enough and you’ll see everything you need to see. There was a Victorian dress toff racing down the boardwalk on a customised segway? There’s anther guy on homemade rollerblades, dressed like a nomad of the desert, playing acid guitar. There was even the odd masked goth, in a torn vinyl trenchcoat. There’s a aged, bronzed body builder, his arms adorned in gold bangles. And he’s spending out his twilight years showing off his worn body in a pair of red speedos. There’s a blue macaw which should be someone’s pet, but i wasn’t quite sure. And this whole place seems to be a sanctuary for the rollerbladers. They skate all up from Muscle Beach, through Venice and up to Santa Monica and beyond.

The Santa Monica Pier is a small theme park built on wooden legs, with the usual fair ground rides, of a ferris wheel, small ‘coaster, dragon boat and drop ride. I was too drunk to even think about riding them, not that I would have if I were sober. I didn’t see too much of Santa Monica, because I was too exhausted from the drinking and the endless sun. Soon enough we were on our way to Hollywood.

Below are among the few photos that I took. (Right-click and open in a new tab/window to see in full size)

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