There is an underbelly to Laguna Beach, disconnected from the glitz and grazing plates of Coast Highway. Unlike downtown, it's a place that doesn't pose or preen or gossip.
It's Laguna Canyon, filled with rusting trucks and welding tools; oil and grit and mountain bikes; bobcats, rattlesnakes and stray dogs.
It's an ancient, two-sided natural corridor: One side of the street is undeveloped with scrappy open space; the other is off-kilter, unbalanced, like a driver's side sunburn on one arm.
Speckled like an exotic fruit, you want to experience it because you consider yourself adventurous and cosmopolitan, but you're also a little afraid. You've seen "Deliverance."
Indeed, if there were a police bust on a meth lab, it would be in the canyon.
As it happens, there have been drug issues — going back to Timothy Leary — and perpetual mayhem: raids on homeless camps, protests and devastating fires and floods.