I’m behind on my blogging schedule already. I’d been staying in Santa Monica a few days and decided to hire a bike and go cycling down the beach. A cycle track snakes its way along the sand and even though Americans don’t seem to understand the concept of ‘bikes only’, it’s by far the best way to see the beach. Venice is not really the right place if you want to actually go bathing, but it’s a fine place to walk or bike, or just sit in the cafes and watch the weird world go by. Freaks, musicians and muscle men show off their stuff while skaters and rollerbladers zip by. One place I sat at had a man who’d brought his parrot along, much to the delight of passers-by.
This is how I imagined California to be, the laid-back beach life under the sun and the palm-trees. Are you jealous yet? I took my bike all the way down Venice Beach and around the marina to Manhattan Beach. It took a couple of hours because I kept stopping to take pictures or sit in the shade. The route took me right past LAX airport, where aircraft flew right over my head. Manhattan is a much quieter beach, without the chain of cafes and bars lining the road, but I saw plenty of barbecue parties gathering in the evening sun. I got the feeling this is where the real locals come.
I made it back to Venice before sunset (nervously as my bike had no lights) and had dinner along the beachfront. I then took the opportunity for some night photography on the pier before turning in for the night.
Before I left town I was able to meet up with an old friend who by amazing coincidence was in LA on business, and went out drinking by the pier with his colleagues while lunatic daredevils thew themselves off the steps on skateboards. It was a great way to round off my short stay here. Santa Monica has managed to maintain a seaside town feel even though it’s part of the LA metro area, and has left an impression on me.