Venice Beach, land of the Vagues!

Man what a day.

I was sad to leave Statia, but its also good to get some terrestrial excitement. Well, judging from what I saw of LA, I hit the nail on the head:

Venice Beach, Land of the Vagues

So I got in to LA last night,

Heading to Venice from LAX

didn’t have time for much but check in, get my boardies and towel out ready for the morning, and go get a feed. I was actually quite tentative about heading out solo, as I thought LA was full of gangsters with guns and shit. I asked my roomate about how dodgy it was around here, and he started preaching to me that I have the power to change that inside of me, and that I would get whatever I expected to get.  I had to agree actually, if you expect the worst of people thats probably what you will get, but  he was ready to take it to an absurd level. This guy looked like Jesus, (you know, long haired swarthy and strongly accented), and when I asked him if there was a bar around, he informed me that he “didnt waste his time with that kind of thing”, instead he said he was a writer, and told me straight, “thats right, I follow my dreams”! Time would tell, I thought to myself, and headed out of the makeshift cult church that was to be my home for a couple of days.

So after a good Chinese meal at a really hip joint I managed to get in one pint, a quick explore, then I was shot! I mean tired 🙂 But the view from my window looked promising for the morning:

View from my hostel window

So early to bed early to rise… a policy I rarely employ!

Up by 6:30 the next morning and head straight out the door, eager to see this el A, hombre. Made a beeline for the beach, and was really surprised to see almost no-one around! There were little lumps everywhere, but my eagerness for sand rendered me unable to discern what they were.

To the sand, and I watched the surfers in the early morning light, making big plans to actually learn how to surf when I get home.

But one thing at a time. After I began to feel like a surfers bitch sitting there watching and not actually surfing, I headed off along the beach, to the north.

Walking past a bunch of really cool murals like this one,

the Prophet

something right out of The Warriors man. And then the lumps dotted all around the Venice Beach landscape began to move.

Continuing north I began to feel like something was going on. The Vagues were coming out. The lumps were turning into people. As I walked, it was like seeing one Vague’s transmogrification from sleeping bag cacoon to man or woman, only the person would change. I was walking too quick to just sit and watch one sublime, not to mention, I wouldnt want people taking pics of me waking up!!!

Then they gathered around. The early risers would tell the news to the sleepy eyed: someone had beef with someone else, someone was feeling alright, someone else was just happy to check on his people. By and by, as I walked up the early morning Venice boardwalk, the vagrants woke, rolled up their sleeping gear or not, and started to come together, like a family waking up in bedrooms and walking down to meet in the kitchen. Some of them were grizzled old daddys on cardboard, and others were wayward sons, waking up to put on a tie and shave in the public fountains. Others told lovers that they would not take their shit no more, as they were now controlled by the sacred spirit.

Vagrant's Vans

Next up on my walk to the north was a carpark FULL of vans. And then it hit home:             I gotta ditch this hostel and get on the road! (stay tuned for next episode).

So I reached the northern limit of the boardwalk and turned inland, to head back to the hostel via a different route. Bad idea. Was pretty crap, just a highway and billions of cars, and hardly a soul walking at all. They say that LA is like that, everyone drives, and noone walks.

So I got myself a coffee and a croissant instead, and returned to the beach. Was really nice actually, knowing that I didn’t have to do anything at all. A had a bit of a snooze there on the beach in my hoody, until the sun warmed me enough to take it off.

The Hostel

So I finally made my way back to the hostel, after a good morning’s exploring, and I asked the desk girl if she knew of a good hostel in San Fran. She pointed me in the direction of some brochures, and instead I found one about renting vans! It was meant to be.

Funny thing, I checked my email and ended up helping out a guy who I have worked with in Jordan, who is now in England, even though Im an Australian, in America! Wow, the modern world eh.

Now shaky from coffee I head out to get a feed. Man, how the boardwalk had changed! Most of the vagrants had set up little stalls on the side of the path, selling various things.

A Vague Transformation

Soon the cafes were jam packed, and there were heaps of people walking up and down the path. I sat in a café and got served a BLT and a beer from a one-armed man, sat there and watched the people go by. Then this guy comes rollerblading down the boardwalk:

Pretty much the craziest coolest guy I have ever seen. He was playing little metal riffs on his guitar, through a little amplifier slung over his shoulder. I don’t know what he was trying to achieve by this, but he looked really happy! Check out that grin, that’s a pretty genuine smile! From his weatherbeaten look I think he was probably one of the vagrants, transformed.

A Genuine Grin

After my lunch I hit the boardwalk again, observing people and stuff. Then I guy hands me a flyer, saying “get legal dude”.

Get Legal, Dude

Ha, he was a cool guy, though I don’t think he was stoned which was curious. Anyway I told him that it was a crazy thing to see, that we don’t have anything like that in Perth! Apparently they have a doctor in there, it costs $100 for a consultation, and then if the Doc thinks you qualify, you get a prescription for weed!

On Doctors Orders

After I implied that I had both AIDS and cancer, the guy told me “I’ll get you in for $80 bro”, and that afterwards he would take me to the supplier, who was his best mate, and I would get a free joint for signing up! Haha hilarious. I declined of course. Instead I had another snooze on the beach, maybe I was getting stoned just being around these people! Then it was back to the hostel, to book myself that campervan.

That being done I had a couple of bourbons to get a little crazy before my promised feat, to rollerblade along the Venice Beach boardwalk! Well, I got a little loose and then went to a little skate hire place, staggered into a pair of skates (actually I had to try on 4 pairs before I got the right ones haha…), and rolled out the shop, ready for anything!

Thats Right: S. Smith Rollerblading down the Venice Beach Boardwalk

Taking a Piss in Skates

Well there you go, proof. Sorry but I couldn’t find fluoro sweatbands anywhere! It was pretty fun actually, and I didnt even crash. Felt like a bit of a douche  regardless though, but that was the whole point. The girl I got to take the photo had a super protective dog, it was quite a challenge to get the camera back actually… She was Russian I think, and had an apartment right on the beach, I think she was living her dream actually. Cool.

 

Here are the dudes I rented the skates from:

Look at the Grins on these Guys! Ha!

So I peeled off those skates and headed upstairs to the hostel, and who do I run into, but Jesus in a pair of little lycra shorts, and no shirt, evidently just returned from working out in front of everybody at ‘Muscle Beach’, a kind of gym where body builders show off on the boardwalk. Although Jesus didnt really look cut out for it.

Resisting the temptation to joke, I walked up the stairs with him, and the girls on the desk made some comment. I couldnt hold back and said, “I have to share a room with this guy?”, poor Jesus, he assured me that I didnt need to worry, but he looked sooo gay haha, especially when he started talking about “de feeling of de sun on my skin yeess?”. I went and dropped off my stuff in the room, and Jesus starting watching a self help video about your inner powers or some shit. How he finds time for his writing I have no idea!!

The Boys

I took one last walk, bought a few CDs off local rappers selling their wares on the boardwalk, passed some guys playing tennis on the beach, who on my return were filming a music video, took some pictures of a mum and her child for her, and ended up sitting on a little hill of grass, watching the people.

Was a good day, and I went out for Chinese again for dinner, then another early bed. My fortune cookie read:

“Be Tactful: do not overlook your own opportunity”

 

 

 

 

 

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