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Photo Essay: Redondo Beach Pier Walkabout

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After a visit to the doctor for my yearly oil change and lube, I was in the need of a bit of fresh air. Don't you just hate the irony of a heavy-set doctor telling you that your blood pressure is closer to high than it should be and that losing all the weight you gained back might be a really good idea? Yeah, me too. Damn it, I really wasn't planning on any New Year's Resolutions! Nevertheless, in lieu of my regularly scheduled veg out in front of the computer, I decided to take a brisk walk on a bright and blustery day in my neighborhood, a neighborhood conveniently located near an off-season tourist spot.

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The semi bustling, weirdly configured, only slighty seedy Redondo Beach Pier, located at the very foot of Torrance Blvd. in Redondo Beach, has been a constant in my life since childhood. It is one of the few places in an ever-transient beach town that endures, having survived the ravages of storm, fire and a chubby chaser's nightclub! Sure, the shops and restaurants change hands over the years but the churro's and hot dog on a stick still taste the same, not to mention the red bean pancake and boba. Oops!, I'm trying to lose weight. Besides, where else can you see a cheesy improv. blues/jazz go-go girl review on a Friday night. Alas, Bongo Fury is NOT a Zappa cover band.

After its tail-end burned in the 80's, the pier was rebuilt into a vaguely triangular cluster of boardwalk, restaurants, stores and wharf. If you want to get a good walk on, a couple of loops around it's winding levels will get your blood pumping and give you plenty of things and people to gawk at. Just don't wander off the beaten path or mysterious and undoubtably horrible things could happen.

Even amidst the wind and the wuthering, die-hards fish off the pier. It could be snowing and they'd still be there. I have often wondered how exactly they swing this F/T fishing gig and if what they catch is actually edible. Rumour has it that it is, but when you can find something dragged up from the murky depths to nibble on at the Pier's fish market(s) and restaurants, why bother going to all that trouble? Unless you just can't help yourself.

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Of course, I prefer tapping the glass and making nonsense noises at these little fellers instead of devouring them, but that's just me. (And no, they aren't doing anything naughty.)

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Lately, this family of lovable moochers has taken over the fishing end of the Pier. They are always available for free fish and photo ops, much to the chagrin of the local gulls and pigeons. I swear they pose for you when they hear the whirr of the camera. The whole colony has set up residence on a nearby jetty and it's neat to watch them glide like terradactyls overhead--when they're not begging for fish guts.

One place that has been there 4-ever is Tony's. They have one of those circular sky bars straight outta 1973. The decor has not changed from Three's Company Days, complete with photos of all the 70's and 80's tv stars. You know, like that guy who played Maude's husband. (I'll explain who Maude was to you all in another post.) The barflies too, are trapped in time. When I dropped in a few months back, there was musician rocking out Neil Diamond hits on the acoustic just like when I snuck in at age 15. Good times, man, good times. Seriously though, the seafood is excellent and the Long Island's are still strong. So, what's not to like?

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What's cool about Redondo's Pier/Fisherman's Wharf/King Harbor area is that they are all right next to each other. So, you'll never get bored taking your daily constitutional as the panorama is ever-changing. Beyond my pathetic cardio routine, a visitor really can spend the whole damned day (and evening) there. You've got the beach, the boating, the walking/running/biking, the tacky gift shops, the weird fast food, the multi-cultural restaurants, the beach brew bars and clubs, and that funky vibe one picks up down at the docks. No worries, a little penicilin will clear that right up!

Right now, is an especially good time to wander on down as you won't run into many annoying out-of-towners. Hey, I'm a local, so sue me. Oh, and then there's the bestest thing of all, something that makes RB Pier extra special....which I'm saving for a future photo essay. So, stay tuned and let's all keep perambulatin'.

Photos by Lori Nyx for LAist