In May 2007, I went to Santa Monica and Irvine on a business trip. The weekend beforehand, I walked around ih Santa Monica, Venice, and L.A.'s Marina Del Ray area.
The first thing I saw when I reached the beach at Santa Monica was some kind of little water treatment facility. After I wandered over to the Santa Monica Pier, I saw another piece of water treatment equipment, the SMURRF.
The main library had a pretty courtyard.
I walked through a residential neighborhood. At any given time, any block had about one pedestrian. Not quite empty, but not quite used. There were some pretty front gardens. There was also grass between the sidewalk and the curb. I tried not to think about how much water was piped in to keep that green stripe of allergens alive. I was happy when I walked past a school--they had let their curbside lawn lapse into plain dirt.
I found the local Yahoo! HQ. There was a cluster of office buildings full of media companies--Yahoo!, Universal, Geffen, CBS, etc., etc.
I made it to Bergamot Station, where there are many art galleries. Supposedly the city has an art museum there, too--but I never found it. Or if I did find it, then I couldn't distinguish between it and the commercial art galleries/studios. I poked my head into a few art galleries, didn't see interesting things, got impatient, and left. That night, reading feeds on the internet, I would see that one of the editors of Giant Robot blog that he'd been glad he visited Bergamot station because it was the last day of an exhibit by an artist he liked. I visited the artist's web site--oh, it was no-one I liked. What a relief.
The underside of the Santa Monica pier is kind of interesting. There are some canoeish-looking boats stored there, standing up vertically, lashed the pier's supports. On the underside of the boardwalk, you can see a narrow sub-walkway, wires, pipes, patches of chainlink fence, knotted ropes. That stuff didn't photograph so well, though.
Main Street had surf shops, new home construction, a Peet's coffee, and some places to eat breakfast. I ate breakfast there a few times.
Probably my favorite place was Joe's Diner. I ate breakfast there on Sunday, the day of the Santa Monica Classic, a footrace. After breakfast, I headed back North to the place where I was staying. The race was still going on--but these were walkers. I was faster than most of them. Except one lady who had springy prosthetic legs--I couldn't quite keep up with her.
I walked through an area called Dogtown. The novel "Dinner at Deviant's Palace", set in a post-apocalypse Los Angeles, has an area known as Dogtown. I always thought it was some made-up thing, but it's for real. I always thought that book was science fiction, but maybe everything in it is real.
Abbott Kinney Road is full of boutiques. I was glad to walk through it early in the morning. I suspect that later in the day it would fill up with people who shop in boutiques, and I wanted to be far away when that happened. Then I turned onto Thatcher Street, which was more residential.
I walked around the west side of the Marina Del Ray area. It was not exactly bustling. There were some people taking lessons on small boats. There was a seal, a few cormorants. I make fun of the yacht harbors around San Francisco because there are so many boats and so few people using them. But that day in Marina Del Ray, there were sooo many unused boats. According to some plaque, Marina Del Ray's 50th anniversary was coming up.
I made it to the beach. There were volleyball nets there. There were rules of volleyball posted--not the actual rules of volleyball, but explaining how one team might challenge another. It said something sad about society that the rules of casual pick-up games had to be spelled out like that, that folks had needed to get the government involved.
I turned inland. I walked along what I thought were the canals, which made me think that the canals didn't look very canal-ish. But that's because I hadn't found the canals, but rather a lagoon. Further west, the canal appeared. It was still sketchy. There was a sidewalk alongside, but sometimes that disappeared. At one point, this "canal-side walk" went through someone's back yard--There was an obvious path, but there were also a few signs around the yard saying "Armed Response". I walked through; nobody attacked me. Further west, there were some more visitor-friendly canals.
The area has wiiiide beaches with a lot of sand. You could get tired of walking over all that sand to get to the water. Venice has wisely paved/planted over one area of sand to form a recreation area. There is a weight-lifting area. There are basketball courts which I maybe remember from that movie. There are palm trees in whose shade you can sit. I remember that 'Shreck likes to get cheap sunglasses when he comes to L.A. Maybe when he comes to Venice? There was a huge tourist-trap area with cheap t-shirts, snack foods, etc. But it was a tourist trap with a rock-n-roll vibe. You could get all of those things--but you could also get cheap sunglasses, tattoos, musical instruments.
I took some photos of Santa Monica on my way to work on Monday.
I didn't take any photos in Irvine. The part I saw was just a business park. Well, we drove through U.C. Irvine, too. There were probably some things there worth photographing, but none of them were obvious from the car.
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