Venice Beach

Tuesday morning, we were up at 4 AM and out the door by five. Our drive from Monterey to LA was uneventful and we made good time, so the buffer that we had built into our travel time was unnecessary. We made it to LA by eleven. Our flight wasn’t until three, so we decided to have lunch at Venice Beach, before we went to the airport.

Venice Beach is just north of LAX, in fact we saw it, when our plane took off, but I’m getting ahead of myself. It is a real beach complete with swimmers, sunbathers, surfers and Baywatch lifeguards, but it is its boardwalk that gives Venice its notoriety. Along the boardwalk, are such sights as Muscle Beach, where bodybuilders exhibit, a skateboard park with edgy performers and a permit only graffiti park and an adjoining bicycling, rollerblading and walking trail. When we arrived at noon, the place was just beginning to open. We began by walking down the boardwalk, where there were only two kinds of people, tourist, like us and the street hawkers. I even fell prey to one, hawking his very own, “free” music CD, until I broke free. How did he know that I was a Mark? I kind of expected the gaudiness of the boardwalk, but I was surprised at the large number of medical marijuana “clinics” that were everywhere along the boardwalk.

I noticed that all these “clinics” proclaimed that they were licensed by the City of Los Angeles and were operating legally. I subsequently overheard an exchange that bordered on doctor-patient confidentiality. The “doctor”, a young man, was dressed in lime green hospital scrubs, with a stethoscope draped across his neck.  He was holding a matching lime green sign that announced, “Marijuana Evaluation, $40”. The “patient”, who looked to me to be a member of the tourist tribe, asked what the $40 bought. The “doctor” explained that it purchased an evaluation of the “patient’s” “condition”, so that proper treatment could be determined. At this point, I drifted out of earshot of the conversation, but it seemed that the “patient” was going to seek a second opinion elsewhere, no sale.

We received a text alert that our flight was going to be delayed, so we did more sightseeing, but eventually we began our hunt for lunch in earnest. We settled on Danny’s. Danny’s is located at the corner of Speedway and Windward just off the boardwalk, a “matzoh ball’s throw away from the beach”. They had Humboldt Brewing Company’s Hemp Ale on draft and I decided to self-medicate myself with a glass.

We made it to the airport in time to make our original flight time, because past experience has taught us that planes once delayed can sometimes become un-delayed and then missed. But, our flight was truly delayed and after some time became even more so. Our aircraft was coming from Dallas and storms were delaying it. It finally arrived; we took off, spied Venice Beach one more time and headed home. Joanie picked us up and we made it home at the stroke of midnight.

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