Ruth was still occupied with family things today so her friend Elelta took me to Venice Beach, which she’d described as “like Camden Town (in London) but not as good”. It was easy to see why she compared it to Camden Market – It had a lot of tattoo and piercing shops, some little juice bars etc, a lot of shops playing loud music, and a lot of silly t-shirts being sold with things like weed on the front. However, I don’t see how anyone could ever say it’s not as good as Camden. It’s amazing!
We walked from one end to the other then back again, and we passed a weightlifting area with about 20 different pieces of equipment and some giant men doing their exercises. There were also about 6 tennis courts which are free to use for anyone who brings a racquet. There were various outdoor gyms with equipment suitable for everyone, and a skate park and various basketball courts.
There were people chilling watching all these activities, and we watched the skaters for at least 20 minutes. I could have stayed there a lot longer without getting bored, and I know I wasn’t the only one who was finding it entertaining because there was hardly any more free space for people to crowd round leaning on the rails. There were all types of people skating, with ages ranging from about 5 – 30, and they were all making it look very easy:
It was obvious which basketball court was for the more serious players because it had a few rows of seating around it, and you could see within 2 seconds that the game being played was of a higher standard than the messing around that was happening on the other courts. Also the guys on the good court were in proper basketball kit and the people on the others were just in normal clothes. It was funny for me to hear all the really American commentary being given by a friend/spectator, like when one guy fell over and stayed on the floor for a while, the friend was like “GET CHO ASS UP!!!” etc. All the players were black and probably in their 20s except one Hispanic looking one:
Amongst the various clothes and tattoo shops, there was something I’d never seen in my life… a place where you can get a prescription for weed! I knew this had recently started happening in America (that people who need it can get weed on prescription) but I didn’t know it was so out there and so popular. There were about 5 of these clinics across the seafront, and they all had a lot of people inside:
We also ended up watching a group of street performers who I found way funnier than the ones I’ve seen in London. It was a group of about 10 guys probably in their 20s and they were all quite good looking. Their act was clever/funny because a lot of the jokes were based around them being a “gang” (and they could easily have passed for one from their looks) and they weren’t afraid to make a lot of remarks/jokes that could be seen as racist.
The crowd was very diverse and in general seemed to find most of it funny. For example, they made a Chinese looking guy from the audience do a kung-fu dance thing, and when they were about to front-flip over a line of people they said “black people, get out your disposable cameras, white people, get out your Nikon flash ultra zoom pro cameras, Mexicans, just watch and remember – don’t worry I understand you guys on the no camera situation” etc. Obviously it won’t sound funny now but it was funny at the time and I liked how they didn’t care if it wasn’t politically correct. They got a LOT of donations at the end so it definitely worked. This is when they made a little white boy copy their Michael Jackson dance moves for a prize:
And this is just before the flip over a line of people:
There were loads of crazy little stalls along the seafront as well. They ranged from “$1 to hug an ex-soldier” to someone playing the piano to people selling paintings to a man selling reggae remixes of nursery rhymes to a dog who laid still on its back with its legs in the air completely frozen, called “the lazy dog” or something, earning $1 for its owner from everyone who took a photo, to this man rapping people’s fortunes:
When we were tired of walking we sat down on the sandy part for a while:
And found this cool graffiti on the way home. Some guy was actually writing something on it with his little son just before I took the photo:
So basically, if you go to LA you HAVE to spend a day at Venice Beach. The sun was out and there was just a good vibe everywhere and lots to see. I’d happily go back there again before I leave for England.