When I first visited Los Angeles, I was fresh out of college. It was a quick turn around trip for a job interview for the Beverly Hills Police Department. I stayed with a college friend named Velvet for the weekend. Outside of the excitement of the possibility that I might get to live in California, I was more excited to be there and see everything that I ever saw on TV growing up. She filled my head up with an A+ itinerary of things she would personally take me to see. Looking back, I don’t recall seeing anything worth seeing on that whole trip with the exception of Skid Row and the Staples Center. And I saw that to and from the airport. On my last day, we rode one train, took two buses to walk to a bus stop and stand there for thirty minutes waiting for the Santa Monica bus to pull up. As soon as it pulled up she changed her mind about going to the beach but instead wanting to go to some club. I blocked her number on the way to the airport.
The second time I came back for a follow-up interview for the Police Department* and went on one of those Hollywood tours so I could see everything. I was so sad by the end of the tour because everyone was grouped together that when we got back to Santa Monica Boardwalk I chose to not go across the street to explore because I wanted to experience it with someone.
I visited again during a road trip and decided to go to Laguna Beach instead because I didn’t want to have to find a place to park my car in the city.
I say all of this to say, I have been dying to go to Santa Monica Boardwalk since I was a kid watching Rocket Power on Nickelodeon. It’s been a goal forever and I always put it off so even though my body was exhausted I forced myself out to see it.
And it was the biggest disappointment in the world. When I got to Santa Monica pier it was chaotic. It was droves of people coming in and out the entrance. When I got down to the pier it seemed old and outdated. There were several people passing out fliers to repent. People chanting bible scriptures. Honestly, I love God but why is there so many Jesus lovers yelling for people to repent in public places? Does anyone really think that’s gonna get people to love God?
It was too small of a space for them, the crowd of people, the old Asian man singing “Hit the Kwan.” and I to all coexist. There were only like two or three rides from what I could see. I have seen pictures of the place millions of times so I don’t know what I expected. I’m starting to feel like the real life proportion of famous landmarks are always off from how you imagine things or how they’re shown on TV. Niagara Park was small and underwhelming. So was Buckingham Palace. Is it the angles of the pictures? Somehow I’m always underwhelmed when it comes to the wonders of the world. The only thing I can think that hasn’t disappointed me was the Belize temples I got to walk around and climb.
I want to go back at night to see if my perception of it changes. I was upset I spent $30 on a Lyft to get there. There wasn’t even a lot of snacks around with the exception of the old ladies selling stale churros on the way out. Are you supposed to eat churros warm or cold?
Below is footage of the street performance I got to witness. That was the best thing for me. I don’t know why.
After I watched this I was OD craving Starbucks and forgot to post it. I have a love and hate relationship with traveling alone. I’ve been to LA four times and never allowed myself to go to Santa Monica because some stuff I want to experience with other people. Life is short though and aint nobody booking flights so I’m forcing myself to do it all. You should force yourself too. Don’t miss the world waiting on other people. #la #santamonica #solotraveler #solotravel #streetperformers #greetingsfromharper
*They wouldn’t hire me because they thought I was using them to move to California to become a comedian. I’m not even funny.