homeless at the end of the santa monica bike path
Day 94 Santa Monica Farmer's Market, end of the Bike Path
We have a love-hate relationship with our little Venice Canal garage. On Air BnB, it looks positively adorable with bright white walls, cosy quilts on a bunk bed, papier mache tigers, and Henri Rousseau-esque paintings on the walls. There's two bikes that you can use and you can cruise to the start of the Venice Boardwalk in less than five minutes. Throw a football behind you and it'll land in the canal, if there wasn't a wall.
It's still adorable in real life. But it gets bitterly cold at night and damp with heat during the day. The bed sinks in the middle and there's barely any power. If you've got too many things plugged in and decide to take a shower, chances are the switch will flip and you'll be dripping water naked in the stall.
After an hour and a half spent in some brutal LA traffic though, the thought of lying in the bunk bed, watching tv, with the lights turned down low and the flannel sheets tucked up to you chin becomes the light at the end of the tunnel; something to get you through the 50th Sam Smith/Taylor Swift song replay on the radio and the gridlocked six lane freeway. Or, if it's still light out, we park our car and jump on the bikes, coasting along the brilliant cycle-only lanes right on the beach.
You'll hit the Venice Boardwalk first. The smell of weed is around every corner. You need a medical marijuana license to be able to buy it but I'm not sure anyone really cares around here. Along the grassy verges, you'll find it hard-pressed to decide who's really homeless and who's just seriously committed to hacky sack and dreadlocks.
As you ride, you'll leave behind the skate park, the bums, and the street art and hit Muscle Beach. People are finding all sorts of ways to exercise around here. They're tying lines between palm trees and balancing on tightropes. Kids are twirling on rings. A super fit woman wearing gloves and flexing her six pack is swinging on the bars, gleaming sweat. When they're not exercising, they're cruising past on you on bikes, rollerblades, skateboards, all sorts of things.
Late one night, you're riding back from a walk along the Santa Monica Pier. Your husband will get nervous about this dark bike ride, preferring the boardwalk instead. But bikes aren't allowed on the board walk so you push on in the pitch black. You'll pass someone cycling in front of you. You can see the faint blinking of his rear light. As you pass him, you'll the profile of his uplifted chin and he's blowing smoke rings with his cigarette and cycling without his hands on the handlebar.
Today, we're on our way to the Santa Monica Farmer's Market. We stop off at Venice Beach because the views are too tempting. We share the beach with surfers.
The Santa Monica Farmer's Market is disappointingly small. There's big family picnics on the grass and a petting zoo for the kids. They're all crouched next to donkeys and rabbits and other cute, fluffy animals, patting their fur. I want to join in but I'd be too conspicuous. Instead, we eat an enormous pancake and a lemonade and pink grapefruit drink. Suddenly, everything feels
very Santa Monica
We also stop of at Sunny Blue. I've eaten omisubis from
almost once every day since we've been here. They're basically onigiri. They're enclosed in these crispy seaweed sheets, topped with sesame seeds and inside the balls of rice are things like spicy salmon, chicken, tuna mayo, and other delicious things. Today, the lines are out the door. Out of a 90 plus day trip almost-around the world, I can honestly say these things are one of the favourite things I've eaten.
To work off those pancakes and omisubis, we decide to ride to the very end of the bike path. We've gotten to the end of the Venice part but not the Santa Monica one. In the blazing heat and almost forty minutes later, we've got to the end of the bike path. There's no pot of gold. Only a homeless man hassling people to buy him food from the cafe. An old man with knee socks capitulates and buys him a cheeseburger and a cup of coffee.