Venice beach

Alex Baldwin is on the telly talking about parental alienation. Sybil the soothsayer is having a lie down. Maggie, my hostess, is in the kitchen and the last remnants of the gecko have been retrieved from behind the armchair. Sam the cat has just entered the room but mercifully his mouth is empty.

Sybil took me to Venice Beach. I have never, in all my life, seen a more seedy, ugly, unfortunate area. The palm trees line the walkway. The sand dunes lead down to the Pacific Ocean. All sounds good so far, but back on dry land we have:

  1. very bad musicians playing very bad music for a donation
  2. not very good artists doing not very good paintings for donations
  3. wasted men sitting cross-legged holding hand-painted cardboard signs with the legend ‘We will **** for marijuana’
  4. a jolly good juggler, so I did leave a donation
  5. okay jewellers making okay jewellery, for a donation
  6. tarot readers reading tarot for, you’ve guessed it…

There is a 26 mile bicycle track that runs parallel to the ocean, which I’m sure is a great ride, but the walkway is so depressing, whilst the food is reflected in several large human beings who have partaken of too much sea(side) food.

Sybil and I had yet more chips and onion rings by a palm tree. The lemonade drink was good but I managed three slices of nearly raw fried potato and four onion rings that had one ring of onion and 73 tons of batter. I cannot wait to have my mouth sewn up! It was hot, so the soothsayer and I decided to sit and people watch.

Incredible, half naked men with skin held together by tattoos. Their ‘women’ matching their men with inappropriate tattoos needled all over their bodies. Sagging human beings revealing so much flesh that my belly looks like a kumquat by comparison. And I know I am being rude about another culture, but as I speak there is still ‘a shooter’ at large in South LA. It was less people watching, more a freak show. Maybe Brighton is the same but I haven’t sat on the Pier for a few years so couldn’t possibly comment.

When we went to pick up the car, an automatic Mercury, a big man on a Penny Farthing bicycle drove out of the car park. It was funny – a touch of the past banging mud-guards with the future.

Sybil, my guide and confidante, originally from Blackpool, happily shared my jaundiced view of the passing trade, and calmed me down as I squelched at what passed us by as human. ‘Cum on luv’, she said with her best Northern twang. ‘Let’s get a cuppa.’ She then drove me back to the farmers market via Sunset Boulevard, past signs for ‘movie maps’ and ‘star guides’ until we could park for a fresh juice – pomegranate – and more people watching.

We both felt that we had o’deed on the body beautiful so it was a quick drive home past the Jew-Cross, which is a kosher zebra crossing with sensors. All the orthodox Jews, coming back from Synagogue, are able to cross the road without having to do any manual work, i.e. pressing any buttons. LA has several members of my tribe so it is nice to know that if I want to do nothing between sunset on Friday night and sunset on Saturday I can go to the Jewish crossing and keep my hands in my pockets as I saunter across the sensors and just think about the Torah.

I have one night left in La La Land and then it’s San Diego here I come. I wonder what the Sandiegans can offer? We’ll find out 2morrer. Cuthen.

13 thoughts on “Venice beach”

  1. Why, oh why, would Sybil take you to Venice Beach? As someone who lived in LA for years – now a resident of Sydney and avid GFL fan [sorry!] – I can think of 1,000,000,000 places better to visit in LA than that pit. Shame on Sybil!
    There is beautiful Mexican and Latin cuisine in SoCal that you should expose yourself to – ask Gino D. Try to taste some in SD.
    Enjoy San Diego and La Jolla!

  2. Praise be, and there’s me thinking we would be three weeks without you, now there’s 2 days posts I haven’t noticed.Reading your your adventures,though of a perfect job you could be the next Michael Palin!
    After all that fried food the wheatgrass is going to seem gourmet eh?
    Has been pah!!
    Lots of love
    Marmite Girl xx
    p.s swore not to mention Marked up kitchen on my blog…but couldn’t resist!!

  3. Venice Beach: all food for the soul. Even if you want to throw up afterwards.
    I love the idea of Jew-Cross. I’ve married into a lapsed Jewish family and at one time harked from Borehamwood. You see, all those asides of yours on GFL touches people!

  4. Hi Jeni,
    Someone once told me, ‘You’ll never discover new horizons unless you are brave enough to lose sight of the shore’.
    Enjoy your travels and may San Diego give you rest, peace and the energy to come back and sock it to ’em.

  5. Blimey, it’s quiet. I think I’ll mow the lawn seeing as how the wife’s not here. If she comes back tatoo-ed there’ll be trouble:-)

  6. Sounds a bit odd, this America! Never been there, but one of my best friends is from California. I like him, so I suppose I shouldn’t judge……….
    You’re no has been, girl, and if you’re an old fart then what the hell, you’re in fine company. Part of what makes being British fun is that we can slide from stroppy teenager into elegance, through to cantankerous middle age, which is where I am. (Probably spelled that all wrong,) So being an old fart is quite an acheivement. Well done us!
    Bit of a bugger, this missing G.F.L. lark. Like losing something important, you know? I keep thinking it’ll turn up. It’ll be there again when I look hard enough. But it’s not. When will people learn, eh? Leave things that work alone.

  7. Oh Jen! Missed you are but you are there! Bl***y Mericans eh?! Hope it goes OK chuck?
    Jillyflower x

  8. thanks for keeping us up to date with your travels – it goes some way to compensating for the lack of GFL.
    We wont mention M…..K……
    Suffice to say that the great British fish and chips has suffered a severe setback!
    Let us know how the detoxing goes – I am coming out in sympathy with you, I have a ball gown to get into in 2 weeks and it looks as if the magic knickers will have to be called into action!
    Enjoy your break and keep us posted! XXXXXXXXX

  9. p.s tell Jim I know I missed the t of thought, but I was rescuing my Niece from the cheerios she had tipped over head while typing……Oh and once again you aint no has been Jen. Luv Marmite Girl xx

  10. Dear Jeni
    I have just got back to the UK for a quick visit from Cape Town where we moved to from the UK last October and was really looking forward to seeing your smiling face and the team on GFL(we only get BBC Food there – one repeat after another!) to find you are not there anymore! BOO HISS to the powers that be at UKTv Food! I think we need to start a BBJB campaign (Bring Back Jeni Barnett!)Rob, my life partner and I wish you every best wish possible for the future. Take care and enjoy the detox! ps if you fancy a retox after this then just let us know as we can intoduce you to some wonderful South African wineries we’ve come across!!!! 😉

  11. Dear Jeni,
    Hope you are enjoyimg the health spa.
    Because of you & GFL I go to our local market & farmers market. The programme inspired me to write a recipe book for my daughter, (I’m not sure if she uses it though).
    I miss the only good food show on tv, especially Fridays when I would watch with a glass of wine or two!
    Hurry back to our screens and don’t slim down too much, you are fab as you are.

  12. Hi jeni,
    So glad you are still writing your blog, its sounds interesting across the pond?!
    Have been on hols myself, so was nice to come back to some news from you. Enjoy San Diego, Take care xxxx

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