I woke up, ate some breakfast, and decided to walk down to the beach. Along the short walk there I realized that, while Long Beach seemed tame and refreshing in comparison to the manic clusterfuck of LA, I was still in densely overpopulated and spiritually bankrupt southern California. Really if it weren’t for some green signs on the highway, you’d never know you were in Long Beach vs. LA; there’s not even a slight break in the urban sprawl to separate them.
This sentiment was really driven home when I witnessed this extremely misguided and poorly executed likeness (tribute? effigy?) of Martin Luther King on someone’s porch. The only reason I even knew it was Martin Luther King was the initials “MLK” plastered across its baseball cap. It appeared as if someone had tried to give a mannequin blackface makeup, but used malnourished feces instead of paint. Take a second to really take in the details here. There’s even dead flowers on the left. This is the work of a true american.
Just as my smug cynicism is reaching critical mass, I notice a beautiful plant on the sidewalk that sets me straight. A bee even flew onto it right as I took the picture, to remind me that everything is beautiful and I am dumb for thinking I know so much about things.
I eventually ward off the Fear and see that there is a nice paved bike/pedestrian path along the entirety of the Long Beach shoreline. I strap my guitar to my back and take off down it towards some menacing looking cranes. You can sort of see them over the dump truck in the picture above.
After a mile or so of walking, I reach the promised cranes, and realize my trek has brought me to a marina. The cranes suddenly make more sense. I walk further down a long rock pier that juts out past the sand into the water and play some guitar to the seagulls. Some guys nearby are drinking beer and ‘hunting’ birds with a slingshot. I turned around and got a picture of downtown Long Beach from the marina pier:
After walking for several miles, I long for a quicker mode of transportation. Recounting last night’s parking nightmare, I don’t dare move my car. So I grab Wes’ bike (that he freely offered to me along with his home) and start off toward “Hilltop Park,” which allegedly holds the best view of the area. Along the way I saw an interesting street sign:
|i’ve never seen a sign that took the time to explain itself.|
After a strenuous uphill ride, I found out they weren’t bullshitting about the view. It was spectacular. Once again, though, LA’s meta-beauty/ugliness started to fuck with me. As always, the phone pictures don’t do it justice.
When I got back we whipped up a mean chili and ate it hungrily while discussing the folly of veganism. At one point I remember him emphatically saying, “I’d never abuse an animal in any way, but I’ll eat the SHIT out of one.”
During our after-dinner conversation, he told me about how he loved New Orleans, so played him some good old fashioned delta blues. He got a phone call and informed me that we would be receiving more couchsurfers tomorrow, one from Brazil, and another from Denmark. I was to coordinate with the Dane to let him into the house while Wes was at work. I ate some peanut butter with a fork and went to bed.
|The “Queen Mary”|
|Andreas (left) and Tyson (right)|
|Rafael (left) and Wesley (right)|