Sunday, 21 August 2011

Far Rockaway Outing

So no not much news to speak of re: online dating. I did get a few winks as a result of updating my photos and tweaking my profile last week, but they were primarily from out of shape men in their fifties who look older than my 60 year old father. Nooooooo!!! Am I expecting too much do you think to meet a man around my own age who is similarly interested in being healthy?

Truth be told I think I am expecting too much, at least where online dating is concerned, since I strongly suspect that men within 5 years - give or take - of my own age are not entering search criteria to look for 40 year old women - and OkCupid's research blog sort of backs me up on this one - so it's tumbleweeds out there quite frankly, and while I personally would not feel comfortable being one of those women who lies about her age I can completely understand why some women do it. It happens quite often as far as I can tell, well okay it happens to Nigel a lot (Nigel: about to turn 50 in 2months; dating search criteria women age 36-42!!!). He's always telling me about dates he's been on where within 15minutes of them sitting down to have a drink or some food the women will say, "um...I have a confession to make..." and it's always that she's shaved a few years off her actual age.

To give him his due Nigel doesn't seem to mind it too much - I think he's used to it now - but I personally hate the idea of starting out with a lie.

So this weekend I made up the surf lesson I'd missed due to illness last Friday and despite being one of those awful morning people - although you'll be pleased to know I'm not horribly perky about it - getting up at 6am on a Saturday to take the A subway train out to Far Rockaway for a 9-11am surfing lesson was definitely no picnic. It was so worth it though, I had the best day yesterday.

Happily Megan decided to join me for my lesson at the last minute so I didn't have to make the early morning trek out to Beach 67th street on my lonesome. The lesson was great fun. There were roughly 16 people who rocked up for the 9am class and for the most part we were all complete beginners. Megan probably had the most experience having taken 5 days of lessons in Costa Rica in May and then a week long surf camp in Bali in July, but otherwise the rest of us had either never taken a lesson or had taken just one or two. Well three in my case, but I didn't fess up to the instructors that I'd taken any, preferring to keep their expectations on the low side.

It was a different set up to my lessons last month in Santa Monica where I'd worked one on one with Dane, my instructor, and where I'd had a lot more help getting out to the right spot - okay I'll admit, he pretty much did all the work, there was no paddling out for me - and then he'd given my board a hefty push to help me catch the wave. This time we had to paddle out ourselves, although the waves were pretty small, so it wasn't anywhere near as strenuous as it could be, but I did learn how to turn myself around by making circles with my hand - "egg beaters egg beaters," our instructors would shout at us. Apparently you're supposed to paddle out sit and watch the horizon for a good wave and then when you spot the one you want to catch you're supposed to egg beater your board around speedily to face the beach and then start paddling hard to catch your wave. As far as this novice understands this is all supposed to happen in minutes, nay seconds, but it takes me a good 3 minutes to get myself facing the right way ha ha!! Oh well, I'm only 4 lessons in, I am sure it takes a good while to get used to it.

Once you'd paddled out and turned around, you then had to paddle over to an available instructor, or one would call you over - there were always a good 4 or 5 of them in the water helping the group out and one of the instructors told me after the lesson ended that they always try to have one instructor to every 2 to 4 people - who would look for good waves for us to catch, then it's paddle, paddle, paddle, UP....and wobble and fall into the ocean :-)

I also learned, and experienced, all the joy that is known in surf terms as 'pearling' - although given this is also slang for certain sexual activities Megan and I were a bit 'ewww' regarding the use of this particular terminology - but in surfing terms it's when the nose of your board dives below the water, usually because your weight is too far forward on the board and you get thrown. To avoid it you can scoot back and arch your back so that your weight is to the back of the board, but it's all easier said than done when you are actually in the water, although I did manage it once with an instructor's coaching and he said I did a good job, so there's hope for me yet. I think all the back strengthening exercises I do in Pilates helped a lot.

Anyway after 2 hours of falling off my board I was famished having had not so much as a sniff of coffee before my lesson, because I don't want to find myself in dire need of a bathroom mid-lesson. I know, I know, I could just tinkle in the ocean - Megan admitted that's what she does. I know, ewww, but I am sure she is not alone, but what can I tell you I just can't physically bring myself to do it. I tried when I was in Santa Monica, but I just couldn't even though I was desperate to go having had a large latte a couple of hours before, however I realized if it was to happen I'd have to really concentrate and force myself and then the expression on my face would totally give away what I was up to, so I personally find it's best to avoid eating and drinking anything for a few hours ahead of time, because I'll tell you this for nothing, laying on a surf board with a full bladder is not in the least bit fun.

We headed up to Beach 106th Street - about a 30minute walk - for a well deserved latte from Blue Bottle Coffee and I split a cheese, plantain and avocado arepa with Megan from Caracas Arepas. So delicious!!

Whiskey the rescue dog, a lovely sweet Beagle mix, waiting online for her cup of Joe.

Whiskey sported a Yankees cap to shield her eyes from the sun. Apparently the sun is very tough on dogs' eyes and can cause cataracts. Who knew? Not me obviously.

Hammocks are available for a post lunch snooze after you've enjoyed your Arepas and coffee.

Hibiscus soda. Mmmmmmmmmm

Lining up to order at the Rockaway Taco shack at Beach 96th St and Rockaway Beach Boulevard.

Cute bearded hipster blokes man the shack kitchen.

Fish tacos are the classic choice, and very tasty they are too, but they are deep fried and I was in the mood for something a little healthier so I plumped for the deluxe* tofu taco (left) while vegetarian Megan had the quesadilla with cheese and plantains (right).

*deluxe tacos are $4 and include guacamole. I could eat one right now!!

We ended our beach day with a beer at the Bungalow Bar & Restaurant before catching the subway back to Manhattan.

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