Santa Monica Pier

When you live in Los Angeles, you are warmed (literally) with dozens of hundreds of things. There are beaches and Mexican happy hours, mini-road trips, and granules of sand tumbling from a backpack. The thing is, this sort of thing happens all year round. And while this warmth is wonderful and severely embraced in the early spring, summer time is a little less…summery. July has come and gone, and now it’s August?! The weather feels the same as it did in March! What is this madness?

But I shouldn’t complain. While Virginia summers consisted of burnt marshmallows, watermelon juice spillage, and barefoot walks through mossy creeks, Los Angeles offers an entirely different breed of animal. I was such a summer kid growing up, spending thunderstorms buried in the basement playroom and beach days dancing on the boardwalk, so it’s only natural for me to reach my hands out for something seasonal.  These are a few of the things I have since collected.

- fresh daisies sitting in mason jars

- Hansen’s Root Beer with a red and white striped straw

- wine specials cozied on outdoor patios

- the hum of the evening fan wafting with an incense stick

- afternoon runs on Venice beach

late night Lego assembly 

plane tickets to visit Ketel One, family, and friends….(!!!!!!!)

- suntan streaks across cheeks

- and most recently…. Pier trips! Rides! Ice cream! Corn tortillas on the water!  

Carnivals, fairs, and amusement parks have been a staple of the American summer since some genius decided to turn horse statues into a colorful, moving contraption. The Santa Monica Pier, also the ending point of Route 66, is no exception. The pier offers portraits of starving artists and fried cake, with the scent of sea salt waltzing with the boardwalk fries.  Faith, Sydney, and I all donned ourselves in hooded sweatshirts and comfy footwear, holding hands as we navigated the uneven boards stretching out over the Pacific ocean.

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We ate Mexican food at the campy restaurant at the end of the pier. It was nothing authentic, and that was just fine. (A sizzling plate of fajitas rarely fails to tickle my fancy, regardless of the origin) The adult parts of our brains suggested that the swinging ship and roller coaster may not have been the best choices post meal, but our inner children drowned out these voices with the energetic shouts of “GO NOW PLAY!”

So rides it was. A swinging ship, a pacific plunge, and two rounds of the (west) roller coaster had us shrieking and clapping our hands like we had pre-sesame street only two decades earlier.

The rest of the evening was followed with cookies and cream plopped on a sugar cone, funnel cake, and skee-ball. The arcade offered familiar staples such as Dawn of the Dead and that weird water squirting game where Barbie and Ken race on jet skies.  And guess what else? It rained! East and West summer tendencies combined as we licked up sugary treats and dodged the drops.

Summer is just as much a feeling as it is a season. And while I’ll miss camping trips and early morning back-porch breakfast, I can settle for some Los Angeles summer exploration.  Especially if it means dragon rides over the ocean.

Happy August, everyone! Enjoy these last few weeks of this wonderful, salty season.