I gained consciousness briefly as Amy left the apartment for the airport very early in the morning. It was a brief and fleeting consciousness, and I drifted back into sleep as she shut the door. A few hours later we woke all the way up, and fixed breakfast. The plan for the day was Venice Beach, a popular tourist destination, and in recent years, something of a bud bazaar.
We made the hour ride down to the beach, unfortunately discovering it would cost $13 to park. That is really steep, and I was feeling particularly poor after buying the shock the night before. We immediately regretted not taking public transportation, especially because the ride had taken twice as long as Google predicted anyways, making it not even a time saving measure. Oh well, lessons for the future.
The beach was extremely crowded, as was the famous boardwalk accompanying it. After I used the single most disgusting public restroom I can imagine, we decided to hit the boardwalk first. “Come one, come all! Get your medical marijuana card! Everyone approved!” came the calls from dubious doctors all over the boardwalk. $45 and a smile will you get you your medical card here, though I did not opt to get one. They may not require proof of residency here on the boardwalk, but they still do at most other dispensaries around the state. The boardwalk is lined with vendors and street performers, and still most notably dozens of dispensaries.
Gianna brought her hoops with the intention of making some money, so we eventually found a place with a little space for Gianna and her hoops. The whole place reeked of weed, and nobody was making any effort to conceal their smoking whatsoever. I sat down on a bench to watch Gianna, and got drawn almost immediately into smoking a blunt with some dudes passing by. Bowl after bowl and blunt after blunt went around a relatively small circle of not so strangers, until we became really too high to continue. Gianna had hopped into the rotation for a couple blunts, and found herself a little too high to be hooping. No worries though, she had already made about $20, which at least covered the parking and gas to come down here. We headed off the boardwalk to check out the beach.
The Pacific may be prettier than the gulf, but at least the Gulf has water that is a comfortable temperature to swim in. Of course it was beautiful sitting on the beach watching the ocean, but I did wish the water was warm enough for swimming. We held hands and walked down the beach, appreciating the beauty of the mar, and our shared adventure. We walked on past the parking lot where we had originated, onwards to the pier down the beach a ways. Once more, we walked west into the sunset, just experiencing the shifting colors of our atmosphere in response to the sun sinking ever lower past the horizon. We found a nice bench out on the very end of the pier, and sat down to smoke a bowl.
A man and his son were fishing some 15 feet away, and when the smell wafted past them, the man turned to us, holding a pipe, and asked to join us. He turned out to be a Venice Beach native, and one of few by the looks of it.
The sun completed it’s descent into darkness as our bowl ran empty, and we began the 30 minute walk back to the bike. We were getting quite hungry, but fortunately, we had lots of food at Amy’s, now Betty’s, apartment. Unfortunately, everything looks pretty different at night, and I did get a bit lost trying to navigate my way back. It involved stopping to look at my iPhone a couple times, but we eventually made our way back to our temporary home in little Armenia.
We fixed dinner and spent the evening drinking beers with Betty and the neighbors. I’ve lived in a couple apartments, but I’ve never had a more meaningful interaction with a neighbor than a polite nod. I really enjoyed the sense of community from actually being friends with your neighbors. This is not to say that everyone in the building was a community, but there were 3 or 4 apartments that all hung out with each other. I feel LA must be a place people feel they can pursue their dreams pretty effectively, or nobody would live here. It’s very big, very crowded, very polluted, very expensive, traffic is awful, the roads suck, and the city is by and large filled with self absorbed assholes. However, with a population of nearly 13 million, even if only a very small percentage of people there are cool, you will still find yourself with a pretty large population of cool people. Thankfully, Amy had already spent a year sorting through fake douche bags to find the assortment of very cool people we were hanging out with.
Illustrating how expensive LA is, pretty much all of these people were living 2-3 people in a 1 bedroom apartment with paper thin walls next to a halfway house, usually with a section of the living room partitioned off somehow as a makeshift bedroom. All of these people have jobs, sometimes 2. Rent and food are both very expensive here, plus with how long it takes to get anywhere and high gas prices, having a car is very expensive too. Still, 13 million people have decided that living here is the best thing for them.
We smoked a goodnight bowl with Betty, and then watched some TV shows while we drifted off to sleep.