I'm staying right in the heart of Venice Beach and loving every minute of it so far. I started off today the best way I know how... sleeping in. Then I did a 15 minute stroll through the neighbourhood to the popular Abbot Kinney Blvd. shopping district. Once I got there it was a lovely way to spend an afternoon. I peaked into all the little clothing boutiques, vintage and junk shops, checked out some of the exhibits showing at the many art galleries and then stopped into Intelligentsia, a funky coffee shop that promotes fair trade and organic products. I purchased a cappuccino and then passed the time people watching with my friend on the industrial-style patio area overgrown by vines. We saw a couple of C-list celebs walk in and out of the shop and then continued on our way.
Anytime I'm traveling I love walking everywhere I possibly can so that I soak in my surroundings. This is my first time in Venice Beach and I'm very fond of the hippie culture that resides here. It's made up of a collaboration of artists that have a relaxed look and mentality. The sight of Converse sneakers, skinny jeans and hipster plaid shirts mesh among the people. Of course, there are also many gypsies that simply create their own style. Overall, there are definitely no 9-5 suit-and-tie folks around here and I'm really digging that.
The Venice Beach area is made up of an eclectic sort of housing. On any given street is an array of colorful houses ranging from pink, yellow and even blue. There are little Mexican- inspired villas fully loaded with cacti gardens and ultra modern and architecturally diverse houses and buildings thrown into the mix. Most of these are constructed of sustainable materials to support eco-friendly living. Every property I passed was filled with gorgeous blooming flowers that wafted a different floral scent down each block. These sights and smells definitely made my walk go by too quickly.
Another thing I really love about this area is the abundance of art. It's rare to see a wall that hasn't been decorated by graffiti. When I was walking near the boardwalk yesterday I even discovered that someone had taken a pen and made a large blob of paint on the sidewalk into a smiley face. The graffiti doesn't stop at walls or sidewalks though, tons of people living out of their vans smother their automobiles in pictures, paintings and peace slogans. I'm convinced most of them live this way by choice to escape any conventional means of living. After all, it's all probably part of the free-spirited mentality around these parts.