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Published: November 13th 2014
Eccentricity-Deviation from the normal, expected, or established.
Venice Beach is known for its eccentric artsy types.
If there was a word that makes eccentric look normal, that would sum up Venice. Summed up for Brits it is like Camden, on steroids and cocaine but with a lot more crazy mixed in.
Everywhere you look you can see art, on the walls, on the floor and people selling their own works of art along Venice Boardwalk.
Whilst at breakfast I saw one man practicing some form of martial art, as my week in L.A went on I realised he did this all day every day. Another man I saw was painting a picture on a canvas. Then he suddenly stopped and decided to draw on the wall, then on the floor, once he finished his canvas picture he painted it white and started a new picture. Unusual behaviour, in fact there were a lot of people that seemed so ‘eccentric’ that maybe they weren’t, maybe that had other issues.
Apparently in the 80’s President Reagan made the decision to close all of the mental institutions and split
the money between other medical facilities. The more time you spend in Venice the more you can see that most of the homeless community have some form of mental illness. I don’t say this as a naïve tourist, I say this as someone that used to work with people with mental health issues
When we first arrived in L.A, after our 25 hour journey from Truk Lagoon, Micronesia, it was 7am. It was too early to check in and compared to the heat of Micronesia L.A was cold so, as we had time to kill and we were in the home of bodybuilding’s mecca I had a strong coffee or three and off we went to Gold’s Gym.
Bodybuilding is my other passion in life and has been since I was 15. L.A is the home to the original Gold’s Gym and the muscle beach that was made famous by Arnie and his friends training there. Muscle beach in Venice is the same muscle beach Arnie trained at but it is not the original, that is in Santa Monica.
Once my three strong coffees had kicked in Nikki and I went
to Gold’s to join up for the week. I had booked our hotel’s location based solely on its distance to Gold’s as I knew we’d be training there most days.
I think the coffees and the adrenaline pumping through my body due to actually training at bodybuilding’s mecca got me through that workout after such a long journey to L.A.
It is huge inside. As I wandered around looking for which machines and weights to use I also looked around at the people training in there. There were some biiiiiig guys and some pretty big women too. As I neared the end of my workout I saw a face I recognised, Chris Cormier, a pro bodybuilder.
I don’t watch much TV or listen to modern music, I doubt I’d recognise 90% of today’s modern “celebrities” however, to me, Chris Cormier is a celebrity. I could not believe my luck witnessing a pro train, but that was just the beginning of the awesomeness of Gold’s Gym.
On my next visit to Gold’s who do I see training on the machine next to me?
Lou Ferrigno aka the original INCREDIBLE HULK!!!
I have only been star struck once before and that was when I was a teenager and I met a footballer for the team I support. I literally didn’t know what to say, I just stood in awe, but the story gets better still.
On yet another visit to Gold’s later that week, on Halloween morning, whilst training I met Mike O’Hearn (a bodybuilder that holds the record for most front covers ever, over 500), he had his dog with him, his dog is a bit of a celebrity too. After my training session, as I was leaving Gold’s who do I see driving into the car park?
Gold’s have a very strict no photo policy in their gym, I assume it is to stop people asking the pro’s for pictures with them, but guess what?
Lou Ferrigno wasn’t in the gym yet!
I plucked up the courage to go over to his car to ask for a picture, he took a while to get out of his car, I just stood
there feeling mildly like a stalker waiting for him to get out. As he stepped out of his car this conversation took place:
Me-“Excuse me, can I have my picture taken with you?”
Before I even finished my sentence he said “Where are you from?”
A bit taken aback I replied “London, England”
To which he replied “I HATE HEATHROW”
He then politely posed for a picture with me.
He could not have said anything funnier if he had tried.
I didn’t have the balls to tell him I work at Heathrow airport lol.
Don’t worry I won’t bore you all with a blog about bodybuilding, that’s it now, promise!
Nikki had been taking painkillers pretty much the whole journey from Micronesia as her ear was hurting from diving. The painkillers lasted long enough to get through the first workout at Gold’s on but after lunch she was in pain again. We went in search of a doctor to find out what was wrong. We found a pharmacy and asked in there, we
were in luck, a bit further along the road was a doctor’s clinic. We walked up the road and eventually found it, or so we thought.
We walked in and asked if there was a doctor available to see.
“A cannabis doctor?” asked the receptionist. Thinking we had misheard we asked her to repeat what she had said.
“A cannabis doctor?” then I recalled that you could get prescribed medical marijuana in L.A for certain conditions.
In a humorous tone Nikki replied to the woman “I don’t think putting that in my ear will help it” the woman didn’t get Nikki’s humour and looked confused. We got out of there pretty quickly.
Eventually we found out how to get to see a proper doctor. After a bit of a wait we eventually found out Nikki had an ear infection, her ears had almost completely closed up, no wonder she couldn’t hear me lol.
I consider myself every inch the typical tourist, I love sightseeing. So Disneyland was a 100% must see. We spent a full 8 hours there going on as many
The Incredible Hulk!!!
Me and Lou Ferrigno outside the mecca of bodybuilding
rides as possible, Splash Mountain and Indian Jones being my favourites, I’m a big kid.
Nikki isn’t a fan of rollercoasters or rides but these were Disney rides, how scary could they be?
Splash Mountain is a 50 foot drop at speeds of 30mph, that may not sound like much to some people but to Nikki that was a big deal. As we neared the front of the queue we got instructed to stand in places 1 and 2 “I’m not going at the front” Nikki said. “You won’t be” I told her. “’I’m number 1 of course I will be” she replied. I managed to persuade her that being number 1 didn’t mean you were at the front…
It did really!
Once we sat in the ride and it started to move I couldn’t contain my laughter.
“You may get wet on this ride” a sign said.
MAY get wet!
On three separate occasions it felt like ice cold buckets of water had been poured over us, we were soaked through, luckily my camera had a spare t-shirt
wrapped around it otherwise I could have kissed goodbye to my holiday pics.
As I mentioned earlier, I don’t watch much TV or listen to modern music, so much of L.A was lost on me. We did a city tour taking in the sights of Hollywood, “sights”. There are only two sights really, the famous Hollywood sign and walk of fame, both can be seen at the same place. The rest of the tour was a let-down.
“This is the restaurant that George Clooney eats in sometimes”
“That is the coffee shop that Britney Spears has been to”
“That bar over there is THE place to go if you’re famous”
I’ll never get those hours of my life back again.
Despite the incredibly false admiration of "celebrities" I am in love with L.A.
If I could I would move there tomorrow. So if anyone has any tips on how I might achieve this please let me know lol.
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