California Day 3: Venice Beach

Our suite at Embassy Suites in La Jolla was about a hundred times nicer than our first hotel. . . and cost fifty bucks less. The rooms were plenty big, and the breakfast was the best we've had in a long time. The kids loved the glass elevator, and they even gave you food to feed the fish swimming in the atrium area. We will definitely stay there again when we are in the San Diego area.

We couldn't leave San Diego without getting takeout from Phil's BBQ

I drove so Steve could enjoy his ribs. But then they looked so good that I made him feed me some while I was driving. Mmmmmm.

We actually did a lot of driving. We drove south from La Jolla back to San Diego for the ribs. Then we got back on the freeway and headed north again. We were well past San Diego when we realized that we left Steve's box of work papers in the hotel. So we turned around and went back to La Jolla again.

Derrick said he wanted to go to Venice Beach, and that sounded interesting to us. . . so that's where we went. Somewhere around Oceanside, we hit some crazy traffic that was painfully slow to drive in. . . Steve's words were fairly graphic, so let's just say it was the sort of traffic that left us happy we didn't live in California.

We were a couple blocks from the beach when we drove right by David Willis on his bicycle. We pulled over, rolled down our window, waited for him to catch up to us, and waved him over. It was kind of crazy.

We followed our newly-appointed tour guide the rest of the way to the beach:

We hadn't really known what to expect, but Venice Beach is pretty incredible. It's like a combination of downtown Harlem, Mexican street markets, and coastal California. (I haven't ever been to Harlem, so I am just guessing with that one.) I expected it to be a lot classier, since a lot of actors and famous people live there. . . Vibrant, yes. Classy, no.

Rachel and I walked right in between two hardcore basketball games to use the public restrooms, seen in the back right of this picture. The line was about fifteen minutes long; Rachel thought I was a genius for knowing to send her with a baby wipe. (No toilet paper.)

High on Derrick's list was to check out Muscle Beach, where Arnold Schwarzenegger used to train. You can get a day pass for $10, but Derrick was too shy to get out there with those other guys.

There were quite a few people gathered over at the Venice Skatepark, a 16,000 square foot skatepark, and the only one in the world located on the beach.  

There were a few surly characters. . . 

Our favorite site was the Skating Dance Plaza: 

We could have stayed and watched these guys (and girls) all day: 

I kind of wanted to know their names: 

I think this is probably Jerome: 

Meet Maurice:

And Starla:

This guy who was busting out his dance moves with the roller skaters is clearly a regular at Venice Beach. . . there are dozens of videos of him on YouTube:

We were having so much fun:

Down the boardwalk we went: 

At first, I was a little shy with my camera, but then decided I really needed to capture the whole experience. Well. . . except for the guy collecting donations for a reduction. . . for a certain part of his male anatomy. "Save the women!" proclaimed his banner. We diverted the kids' attention and walked by rather quickly. 

We passed at least three places to buy medicinal marijuana:

There were quite a few street preachers, walking down the sidewalk with loudspeakers: 

I loved all of the bright, colorful buildings:

I honestly felt bad taking these next two pictures. The man with the microphone lured us over to check out these two headed turtles:

And then he told us it was just five bucks to go inside and see the show. "Wolf Man", seen in the lower left corner, is the hairiest man alive. Lucy confirmed that was true. . . since her favorite book is the Guinness Book of World Records. 

We walked away quickly, trying to explain to the kids why it wasn't appropriate to go see the show.

This was some sort of street demonstration. We didn't stick around long enough to figure out what exactly it was about:

There were lots and lots of amazing artists. I only took a couple pictures of their work because when you take a picture, they expect a tip. . . and I only had/wanted to spend so much money.

I just loved walking behind these three and watching them look around, trying to take everything in: 

I posted this picture on facebook and said that the snakes were definitely plastic. Angie commented and said, "however, that does not explain the other problems in this picture. . ." So true. 

Such a great time. By the way, Rachel and Lucy's braids attracted a lot of attention on our trip. Ironically, it was at Venice Beach. . . the most diverse place we visited. . . where I thought they actually "fit in". . . that people actually came up and asked to touch their hair. 

We walked by the venue for this year's U.S. Open Paddle Tennis Championships. (Paddle Tennis is a more athletic version of Pickleball.) 

And then it was finally time to play on the beach:

Rachel was excited about being taller than Lucy: 

The sun started to go down, and the light was pretty awesome: 

It was a perfect golden sunset:

Such a fun day. Steve told the girls that once they memorize the Napoleon Dynamite dance that he will take them back to Venice Beach and let them perform on the boardwalk for tips. I think the Happy Hands Club song is way funnier, so I told them they should learn that one instead. (Kaleigh already has most of it memorized.) So that's what we listened to, over and over again, on the drive to our hotel in Anaheim

1 comment:

Mindy said...

I can't decide my favorite part of this post...the incredible pictures, the naming of the dancers or the reduction story. All brilliant. I know I don't comment on every post, but know that I get excited every time you post a new one! Keep 'em coming ;)