Welcome to Venice Beach

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Ever wondered where you could go to see a surfboarding clown, a man dressed as a pickle playing the ukelele, and a monkey on a unicycle all in one place? Surprise, they have it all at Venice Beach. Well, at least if you’re looking for those things, that’s probably your best bet. While I was in L.A. last February, we ended up walking along the Venice boardwalk, the place to be if what you’re in the mood for is a unique experience.

I half expected to be mobbed by people that looked like Lady Gaga with giant snakes draped around their necks, but instead I was just mobbed by people trying to get me to buy “medicinal marijuana”. I’ve seen a lot of determined salespeople before (you know the ones who show up at your door trying to sell Thin Mints), but nothing quite like this. Every third shop was selling this cure-all solution, and the sales people spread themselves across the street, handing out excuses for anyone who walked past. “You know, you look like you could use some for that broken leg that you clearly have. Or maybe for that elbow pain or those bothersome allergies. Your grandmother’s dog just got a haircut? Stressful times man, you could use some of this.” (But it’s all legitimate of course). The way they accosted everyone, you’d think that the whole planet was secretly walking around with something that could only be remedied by this sketchy Venice boardwalk medicine. Thank goodness we have Venice Beach looking out for us, is all I can say.

After escaping these do-gooders, I came across Muscle Beach. First of all, Muscle Beach is more like a box of sand with a bunch of weights on it (they’ve got to make sure that all of the sand doesn’t blow away somehow). It’s not literally an entire beach. But I felt impulsively that when one comes across a plot of sand with the word “Muscle” in the title, one has to do something about it. Perhaps go knock out 100 pushups or do several back handsprings. You know, something bold. Something sexy. Something that says, “Hey, look at me, aren’t I perfectly engineered?” I guess that’s why I was compelled to run out onto the sand, flex drastically, and growl, “MUSCLES” before bolting out of there faster than a cougar piggybacking on a leopard piggybacking on a sea turtle. Which, if you couldn’t tell, isn’t all that fast. While other people were unfazed, two very muscular men nearby got a kick out of the absurdity of it all (though that was probably the least absurd thing that happened on Venice Beach that day). I’m convinced that being exposed to extreme amounts of ludicrousness all at once encourages you to let down your guard and expose your own craziness. But don’t take my word for it; you might want to check out these California beaches for yourself!

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