Forget Hollywood, THIS is where the movie stars hang out!
Palm trees on almost every street, sunny skies, fresh ocean
air, and the beaches, well...
This was Baywatch country, although I hear filming was moved
due to too much publicity. Film crews frequented the town to
shoot scenes for movies and I heard of movie stars who hang
out at muscle beach. This I had to see!
For the rest of the day I checked out the shops in
the very friendly pedestrianised shopping plaza; this place
had every cool shop there was, from clothes to toys,
souvenirs (surprisingly not all that tacky) and Super
Pretzels! The Super Pretzel is shaped exactly like an
ordinary pretzel but is doughy like a bagel, dipped and
coated in sugar, cinnamon or other things. I had an apple
and cinnamon Super Pretzel - the best American food item I
had sampled yet.
Street performers were of a high standard too, reminding me
greatly of Paris. Even away from the shopping plaza the
shops continued - more mundane shops like motorist discount
centres and supermarkets, and not a residential area in
Presently I retired to the hostel for the evening, there was
plenty to do there, even a TV lounge.
I read about Venice Beach in my guide book (using it at
last!), it was a good walk along the beach, and on the way I
could visit Muscle Beach and hope to catch a glimpse of some
movie stars. I walked along to the beach, had a
chicken sandwich from a beach-side food stall and set off
South. In amongst the skaters, cyclists and joggers on the
pedestrian path (pictured above) I could almost believe I
was in a movie, when you see someone jogging or whatever. It
took about an hour or so to reach Venice Beach, and what a
sight it was! The main attractions were the street vendors
here: artists, masseurs, clothing stalls and shops, crafts,
fortune tellers, even the beggars were inventive! I was
accosted by a lady in need of some dental care who
challenged me that she could tell me where I got my shoes...
I was sure it would be a trick, but I went with it; "OK, if
you can tell me where I got my shoes I'll give you
something", I said, "I'll tell you where you got your
shoes,", she said, "you got your shoes on a sidewalk on
Venice Beach, California. That's where you got your shoes!"
So I had been suckered, but it was a very cunning play on
words which made me smile. Another guy was well known for
his trick - he wore a
sheet like an arab outfit and rollerbladed alongside people
playing his electric guitar (with portable amp!) until they
gave him some money to go away!! One of the most interesting
sights was a spray painter who made his pictures using only
canned spray paints and some items for masking off areas of
his canvas, I saw him paint one picture from start to
In the picture above you can see a blue building with a
murial on it in the distance, which is a painting of a building with a guy
absailing down it! It is actually a painting of the building
with the Skates sign on it. Further along there was a
strongman who balanced things in his teeth - some poor girl
on a chair, a cooker, a fridge! I ambled along taking it all
in; the beach was only yards away, the sun was beating down
but a cool gentle ocean breeze was blowing. In one of the
souvenir shops I saw many hats on sale, thinking about my
plans to visit Yosemite I thought this would be a cool place
to get one from - I settled on a warm looking LA Lakers hat.
Outside I bought a dish in which the guy had painted a sunny
ocean scene in 3D relief using oil paints.
There were two Muscle Beach
sites - one was the original where the likes of Kirk Douglas
had been a regular - another was a modern outdoor gym which
included basket ball courts, changing rooms and an area with
gym equipment which you had to pay to get into. I didn't
recognise any movie stars, but apparently someone from a
recent movie (which I hadn't seen) was there and is probably
in my picture. They filmed White Men Can't Jump on these
very courts, wooow.
By the time I got back to town it was almost dinner time,
but as I was walking through the hostel I managed to drop
and subsequently break the dish I had just bought! Luckily
it was still in its celophane wrapping so it held together.
I bought Pot Stickers from a local supermarket for dinner
but they didn't turn out too well. That evening there was
a Hollywood awards ceremony on TV, how appropriate! Nah,
I'd seen all that. Nothing new there.
I left the hostel and made my way into town, I picked up
some superglue from the motorist discount shop to fix my
painted plate with, then got on the bus back to LA - the
only way to get to San Pedro/Long Beach by public transport
was via Union Station.