Monday, September 17, 2012

Muscle Beach / Venice - Vacation Day 16

One of the stranger LA attractions we visited was the original site of Muscle Beach. Today's Muscle Beach is up the boardwalk about a mile in Venice Beach, but the remnants of the original remain. Muscle Beach (both the former and current) is a place where bodybuilders gather to build their muscles. Apparently, Arnold Schwarzenegger used to go here. And I'm sure you're already guessing that this was totally a place I could fit right in - being as I'm so loaded with muscles and all.

I don't know why this place kept making me laugh. Perhaps I was just delirious from all the travel at this point. Some of the equipment actually looked pretty fun - but there was no way I was going to wait in line and try it out- though I would still like to know if I could complete the rings/monkey bar obstacle. I settled on conjuring up my rope climbing skills from elementary school, and actually made it to the top. This impressed Connor greatly. Sadly, there is no photographic evidence of my feat. In fact, Connor and my father-in-law might have been the only people who saw it. But trust me, I was awesome.

Connor's attempt to climb a rope - it's harder than it looks, he reports.

I'm not actually sure what this piece of equipment was supposed to be used for, but it made an awfully nice balance beam.

Next time, she's going to actually try and climb!
By far, the best moment of the day was when we walked up the boardwalk to Venice Beach. It was supposed to be a 20 minute walk, but that time was clearly thought up by someone who was walking without two young children. We did eventually arrive at our destination, but we took a cab back to our car after we had lunch.

Street performers crowd the boardwalk at Venice Beach. At one point, I asked Helen if she had any tricks of her own. She came to an immediate stop, dropped to the ground, and did a front roll. Sadly, I didn't capture it on film, and it hurt her head, so by the time I had my camera ready, this was the best stunt she had for me - which was better than anyone else in the family. It drew applause from onlookers, although you can see in the background that Ed, Connor, and my father-in-law had no idea what was going on. Helen was laughing pretty hard about the whole thing, probably dreaming about what her life would be like when she became a street performer, and someone on the side of the road declared that she was "full of happiness". At this moment? It would appear so. At bedtime? Not so much.

After our workout and long walk, Helen collapsed in the sand.

Connor also collapsed, as he started showing signs of wearing down. We were all wearing down, in fact, and much of our conversation starting going like this:
C: Helen, quit it!
H: I'm not doing anything!
C: Yes you are!
Me: Both of you need to keep your hands to yourself and not look at each other.
H: I didn't do ANYTHING!
C: Yes you did, Helen, and you know you did.
And I started dreaming about coming home a few days early. The largest downside to a home exchange - which is what we did on this vacation - is that if you come home early, you're stuck in a hotel because somebody else is living in your home!
This particular night, a friend of mine from grad school met us at the house we were staying at and it was completely fantastic. Her two kids immediately started playing with Connor and Helen, which allowed Connor and Helen to put their energy into something besides bickering with each other. My friend and I attempted to procure pizza for everyone, but instead drove around in circles for a while with the top down on her new convertible. We should've gone to Vegas...

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