I made it out to Rockaway for my surf lesson today. Yay!!
Thanks to only 4 hours sleep on Fri night I was exhausted come Saturday and went to bed at 9pm last night. I was out like a light, so even though I'd set the alarm for 6.30am I woke up naturally at 5.36am and was in the shower by 6am. I know, it sounds ridiculous that I shower before I go and frolic in the Atlantic ocean, but I like to get washing my hair out of the way while I still have the energy to do it. Sometimes when I get back from surfing I only have enough energy to stand there for 15-minutes and let the water rinse the salt and sand away.
I decided today that I would forgo the 4/5/6 train in favor of taking the crosstown bus across 86th St, connecting to the local running C train at Central Park West and then hopping on to the express A train at Columbus Circle all the way out to Beach 67th St. What could possibly go wrong?
I left my apt at 6.45am, my face slicked with Waterman's SPF55 sunscreen - the best you can get it you are a pasty faced surfer like me - and stopped at the Starbucks on 85th street to get a latte for the journey only to see the crosstown bus sail across 86th street without me.
Despite the fact that I was still on the early side I didn't want to risk a long wait for the next bus, especially not after yesterday's Fulton St disaster, and getting out to the beach too early was far more appealing than not getting there at all - I could relax on the boardwalk and read my book - so I hopped into a cab and headed across the park to catch the C train. After a few minutes waiting on the platform a train pulled into the station, an A train, with a destination of Far Rockaway in dot matrixed in LCD on the side of the carriage, a pleasing, but unusual sight, because the A train usually skips through the stations between 125th and 59th sts, because it is an express train, it's part of the deal.
"This is a Far Rock bound A train making all local stops" the female conductor announced.
All local stops!! Local??? Local, as in stopping at every single station out to Rockaway??? Sheesh, it was going to take forever!! I was lucky I was early, I was going to need the extra time.
The train journey passed fairly uneventfully otherwise, which was nice, because you don't always get to say that when traveling out to Rockaway on the A train. The route seems to attract a decent number of the psychologically imbalanced who have been released into the community and at some point on the journey someone will typically board the train and start shouting about something or another. The last time I was on the train it was a middle aged woman with a walking cane who sang or talked incessantly about stabbing people. I never quite know what to do in those situations, is it best to stay put and avoid eye contact, or is it better to move to the next carriage? I never know if moving will attract the oddball's attention and just make matters worse. It's always good to have a book to hide your nose in and hope that they won't bother you if you don't bother them, but thankfully I didn't have to be concerned with that today, today it was mostly people sleeping!!
When the train popped above ground at 80th street and Liberty Avenue it was lashing it down with rain. Ugh!! No umbrella either, which is very unusual for this Brit. Harumph. The weather was not exactly what the reporter on NY1 had led me to believe. Cloudy, but less humid than yesterday were her exact words. I felt like turning right around and going back to bed.
Of course when you're in the water it doesn't matter whether its raining or not, but its off-putting all the same. Maybe it would stop before it was time to hit the beach. Maybe. Fingers crossed!!
The train pulled into the beach 67th street station at 8.22am - the train journey hadn't taken as long as I'd expected despite hitting all the local stops - and I was still a good 40-minutes early so I walked a couple of blocks to the Stop & Shop to use the restroom and buy a bottle of water. There are no public bathrooms on the boardwalk at this part of the beach, I think the closest public ones are on the boardwalk at 92nd St. so its good to know about the facilities at the supermarket on Beach 69th St. and Rockaway Beach Blvd. It's also a good spot to change into your nice clean and dry underwear after surfing if you are too shy to change on the beach. Hey I hear you, I've occasionally done that when I've been out surfing in winter and my fingers are too numb to wrestle with my underwear while holding up a towel on the beach and it's too cold to ride all the way back to Manhattan in a towel dried swimsuit under my yoga pants. You can also stick your damp bum under the hand drier and warm yourself up. That would be a damp, but CLOTHED bum. No-one needs to get arrested at the Stop & Shop!!
The rain cleared up by 8.54am, perfect timing, and so I left the shelter of the Stop & Shop porch and walked over to the beach to where 3 guys were waiting on the boardwalk for the surfing to begin. Three more joined us as we were on the beach changing into our 3/2 wetsuits. It's not quite warm enough to go without a full suit, but the gloves and bootees are off!!
It was a great day anyway, the waves were pretty messy so I didn't catch too many, but it was a beautiful day to be floating about on the water and I met a bunch of people who are buying their own boards and are looking for friends to go surfing with, so we exchanged contact information and hopefully we'll get to go surfing together sometime soon. I also scored a ride back to Manhattan with Richie which got me back home to my apartment on the upper east side and a delicious and healthy, late breakfast of oatmeal with blueberries, raspberries, a tablespoon of chopped walnuts and a tablespoon of fresh cream by 12.15pm. Yay!!
|360 calories of deliciousness!!|