Los Angeles-Redondo Beach

Shopped!! Big time. Good thing it was payday weekend.  I bought lots of summer clothes, all on sale. I was back at the South Bay Galleria in Torrance, LA. One of my favourite stores is Kohl’s.  When they do their Kohl’s cash promotion it is well worth stopping for me. We could not go to the Del Amo Mall which is another area mall that the shuttle service I take will also drive me to, as the roads were all closed. The driver postulated that the detours were due to high-ranking politicians visiting near the mall.  It had taken him 45 mins on Los Angeles surface streets this morning to navigate a route that should take no more than 10. You have to love LA traffic!
Whilst stuck in traffic listening to local radio I learned something I had never really thought about.  Los Angelinos is the proper name for those who live in LA. I find that funny not as humorous as say Haligonians, those who live in Halifax, for example but funny none the less. It just doesn’t roll off the tongue.  I always wonder whose job it is to come up with citizen titles, is it an elected position? or was the a moniker coined after many a pint of tequila?

The side streets of Torrance are a mix of well populated suburban and condo style dwellings. No one walks the streets here, unless they are trying to make some money and bad choices. Not like NY or Europe where walking is part of daily life.  LA is a city that worships the automobile as evidenced by the ever-present traffic snarls. The sun outside was shinning and I could hardly wait to be back at my hotel to rent a bike again this weekend.

This time  I decided to go to the Marvin Braude Bike Path to its starting point in Torrance and follow it back towards the Venice area.  This time I did not venture all the way I did the last time I was in LA.  It is much harder to keep going when you are by yourself and not trying to keep up with others.  The Path Starts at Torrance Beach, which was not as crowded as some of the other beaches and seemed to have more of a laid back local vibe to it.  The enormous houses of Palos Verdes Estates overlooking the water off to the south were eye-catching.  The next beach on the path was Redondo Beach, Pier and Boardwalk in the busiest parts riders have to dismount and walk their bikes.  I found the path very odd around the Pier area as it wound through the parking structure obscuring riders from the sun like vampires.  The path resumes on the road and stays on the road all the way down to Hermosa Beach.

The party-ers were in search of a good time again this weekend and seem to have found it in beach volleyball tournaments.  Last week when I was on my bike ride of epic proportions that homer himself would have thought long, I received some flack from one of my fellow adventurers.  I was made out to be a bit sexist in my posting of the muscle beach pictures, which were one of many I may have taken, while I did not post any of the scantily clad volleyball players.  I did not post any as I hadn’t taken any.  So this trip I made a point to stop and take a picture of beach “volleyballers”

Manhattan Beach Volleyball Tournament

Manhattan Beach Volleyball Tournament

Notice how there are fewer women in the picture than men?  It was the least amount of women I could find just for my colleague.  I looked for a geriatric team in wetsuits but sadly there weren’t any to be found.

The pathway leading up to the Manhattan Pier was full of spin bikes for the “Tour de Pier” a stationary/spin bike race.  Yes, you read that correctly a stationary bike event on a bike path, overlooking the ocean.  It seems to me quite redundant to have bikes that cannot go anywhere on a 22 mile long path specifically designed for… wait for it… bikes!  I understand that spinning is great, very difficult exercise and fundraising almost half a million dollars is fantastic but really? on a bike path?  Is that irony? I can never be sure of actual irony ever since Alanis Morrisette.  Here in Canada we ride places on paths.  with that said I would probably last about 3 minutes in a spin class, in or out-doors.  This does make me think of something I often wonder whilst I walk down the bike Path also known as the Strand along Hermosa Beach.  You can see into some of the homes butting up against the path.  Most have treadmills facing the ocean so one can run looking out at the waves or in my books one could walk out the front door and run looking at the same ocean and enjoy the beach just beyond the glass.  It really is an odd way of life that baffles me.  I guess it has to do with running indoors in air-conditioned less smoggy homes is felt to be healthier.

I decided to turn back just after Manhattan Beach, making the round trip ride around 13 miles total.  Nowhere near the ride of the previous week but I felt no need to go further as I didn’t have a destination or colleagues driving me like last week.  on the way back to Torrance Beach I opted to stop at Redondo Pier to explore and get a bite to eat for dinner.  The pier has a Pinocchio at Pleasure island, or carnival feel to it.  I spied people walking around with many treats, churros, ice cream, and funnel cakes seemed to be the vices of choice.  Not one to be left out and feeling rather well for having gotten back on the bike I felt I could partake in the fried smorgasbord of the pier.  I chose a funnel cake, a deep-fried dough drawn in circles in the oil, dusted with icing sugar and topped with whipping cream.  I wasn’t able to finish much of my over-indulgent snack.  I found it extraordinarily sweet and too greasy for my liking.  It was large enough to share as it was the size of a small dinner plate.  Redondo is broken up in three areas; the beach, the pier, and the boardwalk.  The pier is chock full of touristy stores, restaurants featuring fried fare, and small treat stands.  Along the outside edges of the over water area were many fishers.  I could not figure out what they were fishing as there are signs all along the rails listing various fish that are not to be consumed due to contamination yet many fishers had buckets full of similar looking fish.

On the lower boardwalk is a retro arcade, Fun Factory.  Pac-Man era games, carnival midway games manned with interesting characters, a large tilt-a-whirl, banks of Skee-Ball Bowling and enough lights to make a casino jealous lend a feeling of days of yore.  The rides are very cheap on rainy days according to the pricing at the ticket booth.  The arcade is well worth perusing and also fortifies the carnival feel.  It seemed busy despite the shining sun at its doorstep.

In my infinite wisdom I thought what better to follow a sickly sweet, fried treat than a trio of deep-fried chicken taquitos.  I had seen them in a small Mexican eatery, El Cinco De Mayo, and though I would give them a shot.  they came with a picante salsa and guacamole.  while they were extraordinarily good they were not as well received by my stomach as they were my taste buds.  It had nothing to do with the food itself, I just cannot handle as much grease as I used to.  The fried supper on the fried snack did not sit as well as I had hoped on my ride back to Torrance.  I don’t think I can even look at a deep fryer without sending my stomach in to flip-flops for a while.  I am going to have to stick to salads after my next bike ride.

Back at my hotel I returned the bicycle to the bell desk and set out to get that much healthier than fried salad.  In my hometown we do not have a Whole Foods supermarket.  The shelves are stocked with higher end, organic, good for you foods.  It is lovingly refered to as “whole pay cheque” by many a flight attendant.  I quite like their pre-made salad selection and salad bar so I wanted to walk there and pick up a fresh lunch for the next day.  I was walking since the store is up a quite steep hill that I wasn’t confident I could scale on a bike.  Walking back to my home for the night I could hear laughter coming from a quaint quintessential American home complete with a white picket fence and billowing flag.  It made me sad.  I wondered what great memories they were making inside while I was alone, trying to make the most of my opportunity to see the world.  I wondered what great memories I may be missing back at home while I was trying to earn a living.  I wondered if the trade-off was balanced and if one day I might get to walk these streets with someone who I love or if I was destined to walk alone.  I love my job.  I love travelling.  I have a wanderlust that drives me.  It keeps me moving.  It keeps me driven and it keeps me steeped in solitude.  I feel more in tune with the cities than with people.