When we finally got to I-405, it was already about 4 pm in the afternoon, and the traffic had already started building up. To save time, we decided to go directly to Venice Beach and checked in at our hotel later. The freeway traffic was so unbearable we decided we to take local road (Santa Monica Blvd and then Ocean Blvd) to get to Venice.
In Venice Beach, we just enjoyed ourselves in one of the beach cities in LA -- watching merchants selling their trinkets and knick-knacks along the beach, watching people roller-blade and bike, and walking on the sand. There were not that many people playing beach volley ball. I suppose the weather was not ideal for such activities this day. We also passed the Muscle Beach Gym, the sports club where Schwarzenegger used to train. We also spotted a new type of tennis called paddle tennis. Think of it as playing ping pong on the ground with a rubber ball. I wonder when this sport will be in Olympic...
We then drove to back to Santa Monica to check out the pier and broadwalk. We tried the giant wheel to get a better view of the sea and the city. When we rode the giant wheel, the sun was just setting so that we had the perfect blend of light to enhance our experience. We peeked underneath the pier, and we saw a lot of mussels, but we also saw signs telling us that the sea animals caught within Santa Monica beach are not safe for consumption because of pollution. It's unfortunate because the pier has so many fishing stages and it was built a long time ago when pollution was not as rampant as it is now.
We then strolled along Santa Monica 3rd street promenade. Nothing much has changed in terms of the stores, but the street performers are always a treat. We saw a father-son team that performed rythmic gymnastic, folk singers, and many more.