Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A day at the beach. Well, an hour.

Venice beach and the beach of Santa Monica are relatively close to our new home, and so on Sunday we decided to take a trip to the seaside. Unfortunately, we left it far too late, arriving at the seaside at close to 4 PM. Even though that’s pretty late in the day for beach going, the roads around Venice Beach were choked with traffic – it took us 15 minutes to go through one light.

Parking was going to be impossible (and expensive - $12 minimum!) so we headed north a mile or two, to Santa Monica. For some reason, even though the two beaches are pretty much the exact same stretch of sand, Santa Monica was nearly abandoned when we arrived.

We didn’t stay long, and I wasn’t the least bit equipped to be on a beach (next time, I bring sandals) but it was interesting to see the differences between the two sections of coast. Venice Beach (what little we saw of it) is a refuge for bikers, hippies, and people with tattoos on their necks. The big event we saw there – other than the boardwalk lined with noisy bars and tables of junk jewelry and psychics’ stalls – was a massive drum circle on the sand, a throbbing mass of pot smoke, sweat, and whirling dreadlocks.

Further north, we crossed an invisible line in the sand onto the considerably more staid Santa Monica beach. It lacked a boardwalk – instead, it was lined with a grassy verge dotted with folks reading, and a bike path on which cyclists and rollerbladers competed for space. The big event on the sand here? It appeared to be an outdoor prayer meeting of a Santa Monica synagogue.

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