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Monday, June 1st, 2009 12:21 am
Earlier this week I had to go to my running store in Venice, CA. Afterward N and I walked around the neighborhood. I’ve heard the area was named after Venice, Italy for the canals that they had. I recently learned where the canal systems actually were and decided to visit them. They are a little hidden and you basically have to walk to them.

I thought it would be fun to see. I figured it would be kinda neat in a kitschy sort of way; that I would find it interesting but claustrophobic and not for me. There are streets, but they are almost very wide walkways. Street parking for non residents (and possibly even them) is almost non-existent. Most of the people there use the walkways and bridges to move around. Upon my visit there I noticed the pathway was very narrow and only allowed one person to walk comfortably at a time. Often times the vegetation from the houses had to be moved out of the way along our walk. The bridges were true arches and would be unsafe in the rain. Buildings typically had less than 3 feet between them unless more space was architected into the building. The lowest priced house for sale was well over 1.5 million.

Just as I figured: crowded, overly priced and inefficient move around. What I didn’t figure on was really liking it - bordering on loving it. Venice by the beach is an insanely crowded and stressful place: too many people, too many cars, too much noise, too much tourist trap. But in the canals none of that was present. You walk along the backs of the houses, never seeing the garage, cars and other homages to the Concrete Jungle in front. And you don’t care that the houses are jammed packed and are less than a large bedroom wide. There are ducks and ducklings swimming in the water and sunning themselves on people’s yards. You don’t hear the traffic only a block away. You don’t see anything but tiny immaculate back gardens and porches, serene waterways and people enjoying the same serenity you are experiencing. It was near heaven.

As we left the canal area we walked along an ever urbanizing street. I could feel the manic-ness and stress of the city bear down on me with every meter away from the canals. By the time we got to the car 10 min later my usual city defenses were back in full gear. So help me, if an opportunity to buy a property along the canals ever comes my way, I may pay too much for a too small, cramped, crowded and inefficient piece of loveliness.