Plenty of people dressed in fluorescent green offering you low cost marihuana permits.
The possibility of stabbing somebody’s belly for one dollar with an industrial stapler.
The possibility of kicking somebody’s behind for the same amount previously stated.
Guys jumping to a puddle of crushed glass from a tall chair (that was intense to watch).
A freak show exhibiting people dancing with giant snakes and turtles with two heads.
An outdoor gym where the less clothes the better.
Awful tasting junk food. People camping and living next to a boardwalk. Walls full of graffiti. Unidentified (and chunky) substances in the floor.
It is hard to imagine that a place like this exists.
It is harder to believe this place is located very close to ultra chic places like Beverly Hills, Brentwood and Bel-Air.
I am referring to Venice Beach, a neighborhood of the city of Los Angeles known for its eccentricities, circus-like atmosphere and lack of rules.
All the action happens in a 2.5 mile promenade (or boardwalk) that runs parallel to the beach. In there, you can find colorful painted businesses selling bad food, beachwear and tacky souvenirs. Artists, artisans and people that seem to have no talent at all sell their goods under umbrellas and tents as well.
The place is known for its crazy performers, fortune tellers, skating park and the scantily dressed guys working out at Muscle Beach. It is hard to get rid of the guys who want you to buy their latest album or of the pushy salesmen who want you to see the marijuana doctor.
Moreover, there seems to be a population who sleeps next to the boardwalk, on the parking lots or on the beach.
I know I am going to regret saying this publicly but, I used to like this place. I even used to brag about it to friends who live outside the city. What can I say? I was young and naïve.
However, my perception about Venice has changed throughout the years. What I once saw as cool and bizarre is seen now as overhyped, stinky and boring.
Maybe the initial amusement faded away. Or maybe my current views are due to the fact that this place changes with the seasons. Things get lively during the summers and weekends. But things look very different when hundreds of people are not walking around and distracting you from the flaws.
I like to think that as I discover more of Los Angeles, the places sought by the masses are starting to lose their brilliance. I have been to other places in the Los Angeles area that I consider superior. If you ask me to give you an insider guide of the city, I would never take you here.
Venice will continue to attract millions of visitors every year. I think I will stick to other parts of town (the canals, Abbot Kinney and Rose Boulevards). If you ask me, I can show you around. Just keep in mind this is not my favorite place.
Are you interested in visiting Venice Beach? Has you perception about a place changed with time?