Friday, April 30, 2010

Kayaking in Marina del Rey

I could write an entire thesis on how much I love LA's one and only Country Station Go 105.1. One of the wonderful services they have provided over the years (Altville w/Buzz Brainard, Sundays 10:00pm-12:00am is another) is introducing me to a spattering of LA-centric songs that make you really, really hate LA. The only positive country song I have ever heard about Los Angeles is called Marina Del Rey by George Strait, and that makes perfect sense, since Marina Del Rey doesn't feel like Los Angeles AT ALL.

It feels more like a slightly rundown, 3rd rate faux-fishing village in Maryland. As anyone who knows me is well aware, this is not a diss. The Hadster LIVES for shady, prefab or authentic seaside areas. So I was instantly smitten when I started my journey at the Fisherman's Village at the Marina, an almost deserted retail space that smelled like my grandfather's old stores and was populated mainly by bewildered tourists and very elderly, mostly blind people. It was a breath of fresh air: ice cream shops, fish n' chips eateries, boarded up rental space plastered with maps to movie stars' homes....well I suppose we are still in LA after all.

I then walked around the promenade overlooking the Marina, where worn out looking yachts competed for space with party boats like the one on the left (which I would very much like to drink on, in a floral sari while listening to Jimmy Buffet), and shorts clad dock workers called out to each other and complained about the screeching seagulls. It never ceases to amaze me what a great leveler sea water is. Marina Del Rey is home to many uber-expensive sailboats, super-yachts, skiffs and motorboats but after a few years no amount of upkeep and paint can keep them looking anything more than tired.

And even though I too was very tired, (do not go to yoga and do the elliptical and practice hard as crap Frank Sinatra inspired voice lessons all in one morning) I rented a kayak from the very friendly, sun-burnt college gal at Marina del Rey Boat Rentals. They rent all types of boats by the hour, as well as Paddleboards and WaveRunners, and at very reasonable prices. A kayak is only $15 an hour, a small sailboat $45. I put on one of their trusty life vests and a very charming, fratty type fellow pushed me into the water, reminded me to stay in the Marina, and I started paddling away.

The breeze was mild and the sun was out and soon I was in the middle of the marina. It was quiet, the only sound the clanking of a sailboat's metal masts. A seal started playing about 3 feet away from me, jumping in and out of the water while a bunch of birds flew overhead, dropping some poop in the water.

I paddled by a small park, and spied a couple of homeless looking dock-dwellers arguing about something. I watched from the safety of my boat as one of the women glanced around and climbed onto a docked yacht sneakily while her friend looked on. A rough looking couple fished on the other side of the park and called a friendly "Hello" out to me. We had a very pleasant conversation. I wished them more luck in their fishing (they had yet to catch anything) and then turned my boat around with much difficulty.

That is when I realized the wind had picked up something horrid. The large sailboat in front of me was almost sideways, its sails touching the water as it glided near me. I later learned there was a wind advisory in effect. But no matter, I paddled with all my might back to Marina Del Rey Boat Rentals,dodging bigger boats, braving the elements and pretending I was Charlotte Doyle (come on girls my age, you know what I am talking about). Eventually, pooped but alive, I made it back. The nice fratty pulled me back onto the dock and said since I wasn't out for a full hour they wouldn't be charging me.

OK, now it's official.
Marina Del Rey is nothing like LA.
And that's all right with me.

*PS: I recently went to my friend Doren's b'day party at The Waterfront on the strip of large restaurant/bars on Admiralty Way. It too feels more like a place in Myrtle Beach than uber-trendy divey Hollywood. Plus the Spazmatics, an 80's cover band was playing, and the ambiance was that of a middle school dance. It was a damn good and UNPRETENTIOUS time.

Ease: B+
Subjective coolness:A

Directions: Take the 101-s to the 110-s. Take the exit to the 1-10 west. Merge onto 1-405 S twds. Long Beach. Exit at CA-90 W. Turn left at Lincoln Blvd then turn right at Fiji Way. You will drive .8 miles and parking for the Fisherman's Village will be on the right. Marina Del Rey Boat Rentals is dockside, below El Torito Restaurant.

Hours: Call (310)574-2822 for hours of operation.
Price: Depends if you rent a boat, get ice cream, drinks etc. Parking is free first two hours with validation. If you do rent seacraft, you will need your driver's license and a credit card for them to hold.

No comments:

Post a Comment