It was the first day of our big road trip, and we barely made it out of LA.

Just before leaving for California, I was leisurely packing my suitcase while watching some awful cable TV. On a show called Bank of Hollywood, individuals give pitches to a panel of rich celebrities. If the panel so deems the cause worthy, they award these people a lump of cash. One girl roller-skated onto the stage while simultaneously spinning a hula-hoop round her waist. She was asking the panel for $7800. What for? She wanted to build a tricycle with an attached food cart and ride around handing out meals and spreading joy to the starving artists of Venice Beach.

As it turns out, she managed to win over the panel with her whimsical charsima. Just to see if I could catch sight of her with the food card, I had to go to see Venice Beach.

We parked on a side street and walked between the houses to the waterfront. The homes varied in style from modern to kitschy, to Swiss Family Robinson. An actual outlook tower accessible by ladder graced the corner of one of these lots.

The clouds drizzled. We cut our stroll on the pier short and made our way back towards the car. Down a path of stepping stones and across a sidewalk. At the end, a bridge arched up and over a stream of water. What was this…? The Venice Beach canals! Naming this place was no false marketing campaign. White bridges led back and forth over the water linking sidewalk to pathway. Kayaks, canoes and paddle boats dotted every home’s waterfront.

The canals were so idyllic, even in the raindrops. I didn’t see roller-skate girl on her tricycle, but Venice Beach was funky and fanciful nonetheless. ☼