Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Southern California beach day

There is little that is more a part of the American dream than a day on a California beach, and the Santa Monica beach is the essence of that.

We left the car at the Washington Street parking lot in Venice, ate a quick lunch, and started on our way to the Santa Monica Pier. In about three hours, we covered seven miles encountering bodies and bizarrenesses, million-dollar homes and dozens of homeless, families and loners, dogs, pigeons and gulls (and a couple of snakes belonging to a performer).

Gulls and pigeons, clustered in the shade of a grove of palm trees.

A sampling:

Drought? What drought? One of several fountains that we saw in various places today; this one along the Venice Boardwalk.

Lots of places along the Boardwalk that will "assess" your "need" for medical marijuana. Jim thinks that they probably have someone on the premises to prescribe it for you, and then ideas about how you can acquire it.

Hats -- among the tamer clothing items for sale, designed to cover something rather than reveal it. These also seem mainly designed for style and to keep the sun off, without much in the way of messages.

The original "Muscle Beach" was a couple of miles north near Santa Monica, but today's Muscle Beach is at the heart of the Venice Beach and Boardwalk.

Two guys at Muscle Beach beginning some sort of competition.

Some people focused more on the tan than the toning.

Some had obscure messages.

One section of the beach had gymnastics equipment.

Looked like maybe this woman was renting out surfboards?

Not everyone was outfitted for sand and sun. Jim thought that this guy with suit, tie, and good camera was taking photos of tracks in the sand. That would have been more interesting than anything that I could see on the trash can.

The Santa Monica Pier.

The real draws -- the waves,

The wooden pier,

The boardwalk along the sand,

The palm trees and blue sky.

The people were endlessly colorful.

We wondered if these people actually lived in this multi-million dollar home -- they didn't seem to quite fit.

Not as many performers today as there sometimes are. This man was in a troupe of African acrobats; his balancing of the tourist gentleman was part of the come-on before the performance.

I am leaving out any number of interesting sights. Buddha does deserve a spot.

A tourist.

Bird of Paradise in its natural setting.

White roses and buds.

Sunset from our hotel window (the manager proudly informed us that we have an excellent view of the Pacific Coast Highway, which is true, although I wouldn't have thought of it as a selling point. But we do have a view of the sunset as well.

Last, but not least, my new school -- this building at the south end of Culver City houses the entire Antioch University LA campus -- offices and classrooms. It's modern and shiny as a building; the people within seemed universally friendly, helpful, and most interesting.

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