“I always wanted to live in California because I loved skateboarding.”

Venice California(Quote: Demetri Martin) There is an intersection in Venice, California where, once in every light rotation, all of the stop lights turn red and all of the walk signs turn white. For a moment, cyclists, skateboarders, and surfboard-toting pedestrians flood the intersection. Tourists run to the middle of the street for a picture. Cars are powerless. And you realize who rules this town.

I stayed with my cousin and her fiancé who live just a few blocks from the beach. Mornings usually began early. We grabbed the surfboards and walked to the beach while the boardwalk was still quiet. For a minute, before I got in the water, I could pretend I was a local, a pro. After morning surfing, my inclination was usually to take a nap. But no, we don’t stop for naps when there are so many things to do. We went paddle boarding in Marina del Rey–the world’s biggest marina. We went hiking in the Santa Monica Mountains.

IMG_1409We rode our bikes to Whole Foods and kept our eyes peeled for famous people. We ate Cuban food and truffle fries and drank beer. We examined the street art, which changes monthly, if not weekly.

When it’s all done, sand is everywhere–in your pockets, and your bike chain, and your underwear. I left days ago, but I still find it and it reminds me that the strange and wonderful dream of Venice is actually a real place.

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