When I wake up today it’s still windy and cloudy, which doesn’t amuse me. Come on California, where is my sun?! The sky is scheduled to clear around noon so I potter about and grab some breakfast from whole foods until it clears (note: I am obsessed with this place and will be starting a petition to get one opened in Manchester upon my return).
Right on time, the sun shows up late afternoon so I decide to take the 100 metre jaunt from my pad to check out the famous Venice Beach.
With the sand and ocean right ahead of me-I turn right onto Ocean Front Walk and I’m immediately hit by the hubbub. I’m met with street sellers playing music, hawking art, chakra healing, and even one guy selling ‘shitty advice for a dollar’. Hippies and hobos are interspersed between stalls, sleeping on the grass, and a dog wearing a bikini is passed out with dollar bills tucked in it’s strings.
The stores on the walk sell a range of t-shirts and Medical Marijuana (come in-see if you qualify!!), although the scent of the distinctly non-medical variety hangs in the air.
Wheels are a must have here on the beachfront-whether it’s skateboards, bicycles, or segways.
It’s like all the seediness of a crack den mixed with the vibrancy of brick lane.
I pass by Muscle Beach, with a real actual outdoor gym, where steroid heads are pumping iron vehemently in the sun.
I make it to the famous Venice Boardwalk and take a saunter down the fishing pier. The sea breeze whips my hair as I pass by an old Chinese fisherman with the sign on his straw hat ironically saying ‘Made in China’.
When I get to the end I stare out at the ocean into nothingness for a moment, a fraction of peace before some teens drive by me on their push scooters.
I leave the pier and heading up West Washington Boulevard, I turn left onto the Venice Waterways Walkway. Man-made around 1905 by business magnate Abbot Kinney, they were built initially as a system of waterways to drain the marshlands to build real estate upon. Designed like their Italian counterparts, they now boast million dollar homes (and no Gondolas).
It’s certainly a world away from the overcrowded beach. Lush green groves line the water backing onto wooden houses, with Kayaks and row boats in abundance all of which own whimsical names like ‘The Miss Violet’.
I pass the wooden bridges which connect the waterways, and it’s like being in a fairytale scene.
I’m only snapped back to reality when I hit South Venice Boulevard and I’m on asphalt once more.
I walk back to the beach house taking Abbot Kinney, which is full of fancy artsy stores and London-chic eateries.
I change then head back out much later to try out one such chic eatery, and boy, is it good. The portions are even normal sized and very un-American.
It’s been an interesting first day here in Venice, and it’s extremely varied from its grungy beachside underbelly, to its high class avenues where only the wealthy roam. I have a feeling much of LA is going to showcase this divide, and I’m interested to see more of it’s residents living side by side in perfect discord.