Los Angeles, September 2013: Sending love and warmth from Venice Beach, Los Angeles. Where it really is lovely and warm. Landed at LAX and took a cab to Peter, that I had never met before but offered a place to stay until Wednesday [couchsurfing.com is one of the best things ever created]. The couch turns out to be a king-size bed though, and the flowers I got him ended up in the guest room.
Such a generous & awesome guy, and living right by the beach. I could jump in the ocean three hours after having left San Francisco. A lady called Jennifer said “absolutely!” when I asked her if she’d watch my bag while I ran into the water. When I got back she wanted to take pictures of the second hand ring I got as a gift last week and was admiring -cherishing, actually- on my hand.
While photographing, she asked:
“Where are you from? The Netherlands – Why are you here alone? Oh my god, I’m so scared for you.”
“Don’t be. I’m completely comfortable.” And it was true. After weeks of stress, nothing felt better than to float in the sea and wiggle my toes, while realising the outright remarkableness of being in this place at all, along with having the opportunity to stay with a stranger yet feel completely welcome and safe.
Headed back to the boulevard and walked by the ‘drum circle’, which turns out to be a phenomenon in Venice that takes place every weekend. A mixed group of kids, teens, young adults and really old people from what seemed like every ethnic background imaginable were gathered and played music together. Explosively, to say the least. Multiple people on drums, a guy with one hand jumping around with his tambourin, an older man doing the salsa – and every body danced.
On the boulevard itself, food was being served to homeless people by volunteers in a little tent, ‘green doctors’ offered legal marihuana licenses [no pictures allowed], people rode massive bicycles while yelling ‘on your left!’ as they passed, and tons of locals & tourists shopped around or had drinks in small bars.
I keep catching myself altering my previous perception of “LA” as if it’d be the same everywhere [big, merely concrete and cars, everyone mostly worried about their appearance] with every person that smiles and looks different than the last.
Walked ‘home’ barefoot in my bikini and it didn’t matter at all.
People are kind and friendly.
Peter can leave the gate and door to his house open during the day.