North American Travel |
October 25, 2009
It seems to build over time. It started with a realtor there. I drove out there to make an offer on a house that had huge hidden problems. The realtor out there seemed to be incredibly superficial. That was the feel I had for the entire town.
Subsequent visits did little to improve that. I went there looking for a place to swim and passed streams of "beautiful people" in high end clothes and high end cars, showing the results of great genetics and admirable plastic surgery. The residents were simply not my people.
Then I branched out and found the UTC area. This is inland from the beach. Yes, you can find better food inland. Though it is not UTC, a place called Prep Kitchen is rock solid. And UTC does well with Harry's and Cafe Pepengo. But in UTC, you get Manhattan mixed with LA. There are tall buildings. There is no parking. And it seems freeways without exits are the rule. You know where you want to go, but you can't get there. Then when you do, you can't park there. It was designed to frustrate, unless you are a native and adept at doing the painful Human-Human Interface required to valet park your ride. It's just so not me.
So how do I end up in La Jolla again? Funny you should ask. It occurs in the same manner as everything else in my life. I'm looking left, I get distracted, look back and I'm there. In this case I had surfing on my 'to do' list for quite some time. But I never scheduled the class. I did make a trip to Mission Beach once thinking they had a surf school there, but it turned out to be a wake board school. And it turned out the beach was filled with freakish looking people that were pierced and tattoed in places no free person should be. So that scared me off, that physical confrontation with beach culture.
The only way into my wallet was through the internet. In this case, I joined a thing called Groupon. That is for group coupon. They sell you coupons for half off a variety of things. The coupons are launced daily and you have so many hours to jump on a deal. On Thursday, the deal was group surf lessons. Half off meant 30 bucks. Whoa! Hard to beat that. My Navy base will rent me a board for $15 for two days, but no instruction. So a real live lesson for twice that, sold!
I didn't pay any attention to the school name when I signed up. I then see it is called Surf Diva. But the second word doesn't really register. It's a surf school in, yes, La Jolla, so what the heck. I can drive up and fight parking one more time.
I show up on time and check in with the shop. I have to check in at 1 for a 1:30 lesson. Makes sense as the actual surf location is a 20 minute walk from the shop.
Of course by now I'd checked out the website that lists Surf Diva as "The number one female surf school on the west coast for the last 12 years." But this is California and they can't discriminate against anything, well, except straight males. Ok, granted I was that. But I thought I might get lucky and not get punted from the school. I caught a break, they lowered their standards, probably because I was old.
I walk down towards the surf area. I pass a 30 person strong kayak class that reminds me all the more why I hate La Jolla. There are some people who should never be seen in public in swim gear. That was the contents of that class, cellulite city. It was worse than horrid and I couldn't get around them fast enough, mostly because the sidewalks had that narrow thing going on that the student's lacked.
I finally make the end of the boardwalk and spy a sign that says surf school. Next to the sign are two twenty something supermodels in bikini's. They may not be actual supermodels yet, but they had nothing holding them back. I knew they were not in my class because no one shows up for an athletic event in a string bikini, it's just not done. They were clearly two professionals looking for business. But I was only here for the surf.
Eventually the instructor shows, another young blonde. This one bearing surf boards and wetsuits. Except she doesn't have a wetsuit for me because of a miscommunication, mostly on my part. I said I had a suit, put that suit in my car, but then when I talked to the lady in the shop she said "They have all the equipment for you down there" leading me to think they had a wetsuit for me. So rather than leave a suit on the beach where it could get ripped off, I locked mine in my car and was now looking at a shriveling experience. Sweet!
I'm waiting for the rest of the class to show when the two bikinis pop up from the their towels and announce they are in the class. No way. No way does this happen, this is a scene from my younger brother's life. Not mine.
There is 45 minutes of dry land training. Neither of the bikini surfers say a word to me, which is good. I'm all about the waves and never have been a big fan of the personal interaction. After 45 minutes, the instructor asks "are we ready?" I am. My soon to be shriveled self figures why not. I can probably gut this out. But if I fail miserably, so what? I'm only failing in front of porn stars. How bad can that be?
We hit the waves and try our first waves. The girls had asked if many people actually stand up the first day. The instructor said most do. The only problem are people that "live in their heads". Oh, right, like um, professors you mean? Ok I was probably toast, but so what. I was toast with a side of supermodels. How bad can that be?
First wave and two of us get up. I was one of the two! The supermodels had two different names. One, the one who was really hot when sun tanning on her back was Brittany. She was in fact so hot that the other one was simply not-Brittany. But once we got in the water, not-Brittany ruled. She nailed the first wave also. And she looked way better laying on her stomach than Brittany, so watching her catch a wave was not at all unpleasant. Now not-Brittany is talking to me between every rotation and I'm thinking I probably should have listened when she mentioned what her name was.
In the end it really was a great time. I caught some waves, missed some waves, got high fives from the instructors and other students who were not named Brittany. When we were out of time, we pulled the boards in and Brittany's boyfriend was there to shoot photo's of the girls. Three Japanese tourists saw this and bolted to the scene to get their pix taken with the boards. Us surfers are nothing if not givers, so we obliged in the name of global surferdom.
Due to the tidal currents, we were pushed a quarter mile down the beach. While trudging the boards back, I noticed the people on the beach looked a little better than they did on the way down. While we showered off the sand, the instructor went back to where we started and offered to gather up our gear. Darn nice of her, I thought. So when she came back I offered to carry a board to her van. Granted she took two in one trip, but I had yet to master the surfer dude balance the board on your head trick, so one board was plenty for me. I dropped the board at the van and saw the instructor struggle to get it loaded, but I figured this was as far as I could without developing a personal relationship and well, that I just don''t do. So I walked off awkwardly as is my style.
On the way to my car, I see the world has changed drastically. Now the pale overweight Americans have been replaced by really cool Pacific Islanders and South Americans. All tanned, or naturally as dark as me. All seemingly well adjusted humans having a great day. Perhaps half as great a day as I was having.
Don't get me wrong I still hate La Jolla. But I love the Surf Diva...