For the first time…maybe ever, I’ve travelled without a camera on purpose. I feel so lost without it, however on the flip side my shoulder is thanking me for not having to lug it around. I left it at home for two reasons:
- I’m finding myself a bit too reliant on capturing moments on film (or I guess memory card) versus memory. This is a test to see how well I remember things for visual cues, sounds, smells, etc. Senses, ahoy!
- The aforementioned weight of the camera. Also pulling out a lens takes time and I miss stuff happening. And for safety reasons, as nothing says “Oh haiiii, I’m a tourist” like a DSLR.
And so yesterday I took nothing but a notebook and a coffee and spent my first morning in Venice Beach on the boardwalk and beach, people watching. And I jotted down a list of words I would use to describe the boardwalk, which included:
- Colourful (both in the literal sense – there’s great graffiti here, and in terms of language used)
That last one is particularly apt. I think if I was asked to explain what the boardwalk was like, I’d equate it to turning a radio knob quickly and scanning through a lot of stations at once (yes kids, this makes me old enough to have willingly used a radio with a tuning knob). As you flip through, you’d hear some West Coast rap, country, Spanish jams, classical, more rap, Bob Dylan, meditation music, Christmas carols (’tis the season) and a man in a Santa costume singing Justin Bieber while strumming away on a guitar. While your eardrums are processing this combination, you’d notice two men juggling sticks on fire whilst sporting nothing but thongs, a man artfully twirling a snake, and vendors hawking silk-screened T-shirts and beaded necklaces. Friendly women will approach you asking if you’d like a medical marijuana assessment (which you politely decline, for you’ve had enough of a contact high already this morning). It smells like churros, sunscreen and a 70’s basement, with every kind of incense and candle stinging your nostrils and the aforementioned waft of pot every now and then. In short, it’s an attack on all your senses, but in an awesomely entertaining way.
I love Venice – the people are the friendliest I’ve encountered while travelling, the vibe is low-key and there’s a quirkiness to it that keeps me coming back. The boardwalk is no exception.