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A Visit To Venice California

Posted by Royost, on Wed May 27, 2009 12:12 pm
Have you been to Venice California lately? Maybe the next time you are out this way we could go there. Just get on the metro Green Car at Union Station downtown and ride out to the ocean. Get off and walk south down past the Santa Monica pier, past muscle beach and a few more blocks to Venice.

We could go down past the palm trees, across the wide apron of white sand, take our shoes off and wade in the Pacific. But we didnt come out here for that. So lets put our wallets in a pick-proof pocket, wind our way over to the Strand and you know right away youre going to have something to tell the folks back home.

On the Strand we have entrepreneurial guitar players, saxophone players, harp players, violin players, banjo players, cymbal players, barrel head players, jews harp players, mouth harp players and a piano player reaching up to a piano that is too high for him playing Dixieland jazz for all hes worth shaking his head back and forth with ears flopping like Bear on the Muppets. There is a man playing all pieces of a five-piece band simultaneously, a water glass player, a bamboo stick player and a lonely accordion player. There is a Loads addict playing the back side of a broken skateboard to some tune only he can hear in his own private outland trusting someone will drop a tuppence or two into his worn out shoe that he has placed before him.

Palm readers, head readers, card readers, tea leaf readers, stick readers, horoscope readers, mind readers, and spit readers will tell you what your past was and what your future will be for a meager dollar or even less.

There are masseurs and masseuses, acupuncturists, herbalists, spiritualists, fatalists, cantists and taco vendors - all proclaiming their particular renderings will cure your ills, be it arthritis, gall stones, lumbago, gout, vapors, anemia, backache, bellyache, headache, heartache or loss of hair. Just put something into the hat.

We dodge the skateboarders, bicyclists, unicyclists, joggers, fast walkers, roller bladers, wheelchair racers, Crips and Bloods watching and daring one another, police officers - trying to be unobtrusive in dark blue shorts and light blue tee shirts tightly fitted over bullet-proof vests and 38 automatics - watching the Crips and Bloods.

The vendors have things for you to take back home - watches, sunglasses, tee shirts, Reeboks, Jordans, incense, herbs, jewelry, pottery, Levis, mukluks, sarapes, fedora hats, shark skin suits, tattoos, and California oranges and grapefruit sealed in wax and packed in shredded green confetti paper.

Take your pick of side shows to see. One-on-one basketball, gymnasts, chainsaw jugglers, sword swallowers, and fire eaters at the south end of the Strand. Tangoing, waltzing, skate dancing, stop-motion dancing, tap dancing, clog dancing and even break dancing by the thalidomide kid with no arms and no legs half way down the Strand. Just drop into the hat whatever your conscience will provide.

On the north end of the Strand you have the Hindu sooth sayer, and the right-to-life, right-to-death, save the whale, save the spotted owl, save the porpoise, save the wetlands, save the desert activists and a lonely pacifist who doesnt get much change in his upturned Dodgers baseball cap.

There are the grotesquely steroided men, fists clenched, arms tensed, fairly bursting from their sleeveless undershirts, promenading, casting furtive glances to see if they are being properly admired.

There are wiry old men with leathery skin burned red by too much California sun, wheezingly jogging by, trying to reclaim mis-remembered youth when they were king muscle men on the beach. There are powdered old ladies in wigs and 1950s style finery, trapped in the Cadillac Hotel by their fear of all the changes that have happened to their refined little beach community.

There are beautiful women showing more sun-bronzed skin than I ever thought women had.

There are Japanese tourists in blue suits walking with exaggerated arm movements trying to blend in with the locals so they wont be taken in by the scam men, with their Nikon single lens reflex cameras and Mitsubishi camcorders.

There are Jews figuring to make a profit from it all. Buying and selling land like hot potatoes. A lot with house bought for $25000 twenty years ago sells now for $500000. Twenty years in the future they will sell for who knows.

There is the Lands End Cafe that is great for people watching. You go inside and get a cup of espresso and a chocolate eclair then get a table out on the Strand and watch people. Thats good for many hours. Businessmen in coat and tie from Santa Monica's high rise offices walking the Strand during lunch break uninterruptedly discussing business involving millions of dollars mingle with homeless men rooting through trash receptacles for cans which will bring a few pennies. A Black with his hair in braids each of a different color - blue, pink, red, chartreuse, and yellow - bellowing out about the injustice of Whites enslavement of his forebears. A Chinaman coolie right out of Pearl Buck's The Good Earth ranting a diatribe to save China from imperialist. A Vietnamese preaching that United States deserted him and must pay the consequences which turns out to be providing him with a donut shop in Garden Grove. Is this a great country or what?

The next time you are out here, please call. We will go find that taco cart and eat lunch. Those little suckers are guaranteed to cure whatever ails you.
Reply by Monsieur Le President, on Wed May 27, 2009 2:19 pm
I went to California for the first time last year- San Diego- thought it wonderful.
Drove down into Baja- Tijuana- thought it -- different.
Will look you up in Venice next time.
Reply by akinsv16, on Mon Jun 08, 2009 2:21 pm
Hi, I love your message about Venice Beach.  When I fiirst moved to California 10 years ago, I used to go down there often.  It's never a boring moment when you are in Venice beach.
Since I had my surgery 3 years ago, I have not been there.  I have gone to many other places but not to Venice.  Reading your message has make me want to go there again.  So.... next time you are going, let me know.  I'll meet you there for a taco.....  That'll be fun.  I am only a little over one hour away.
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