33 and a day

Wow. I want to turn 33 all over again. What a great day so there’s a few people I want to thank.

First up a big thanks to the weather – perfect. Sunny, warm but not too hot and a great breeze. This, combined with my new dive watch (thanks dad, Kate & Abby) proved the perfect incentive for the first trip to Coney Island since 2001 – had it really been that long? Wow. Guess it must have as they’ve done over the subway station there and it looks awesome.

Wandering along the boardwalk is an intense visual feast – people of all shapes, size and dis-robement wandering around. the interplay of characters who have been there for years, selling things, watching people and just enjoying the sun is amazing. In fact it was slightly unnerving to be there without a camera since it broke without warning on Friday night. One minute there was a totally working Canon S30, the next – nada. Zip. Bupkiss. The camera just stopped and no attempt at turning it on/off, taking out batteries, sliding random things or anything seemed to bring it back. Hmm.

Being back on the beach really felt good. My last beach trip was out to the Hamptons back in September the previous year – too long. Just hearing the sea break against the shore made me feel happy. Jumping into the sea and playing in the waves felt so good – according to my Mosquito it was a lovely 24 degrees in the shallows and the water was 0.7m deep. Swimming 20m killed me completely – a far cry from my 18th birthday swimming in the olympic pool in Chamonix where I did a length for each year without straining. Hmm. No body surfing in that pool though. Give it a few days and hurricane Katrina will be passing by so there may be some crazy surf to play in.

Heading out from the beach – a sad moment with some beautiful views of the fairground as the sun set – we stopped to get nathan’s hot dogs for that proper tourist moment then headed back to the ‘burg. Being at the beach had reminded me of thailand yet they’re both so different – all Thailand had next to most of the beaches was palm trees and small huts, although I’d imagine that since the tsunami a lot of those places are gone, replaced by bigger developers with money for ugly concrete hotels. Dinner the night before at Sweetwater had also reminded me of Thailand, their back garden is wooden slats, with a beautiful tree hanging down across triangular shaped sun shades – the whole effect was just like so many places in Thailand on the beach and it really made the evening.

Back in the ‘burg we met up with John and Jemma for dinner at aurora, a great italian with a garden and an apparent dislike for lighting. Then back over to supreme trading for drinks in their courtyard – the weather was still holding out so getting the chance to be outside so much was just perfect. Then there may have been some drinking. And then maybe some more. Finally we all piled over to Union Pool for the final beer garden of the night. Finally the bar closed at 4 and my extended birthday celebration was over.. although I’m considering playing the ‘birthday weekend’ card today. Nice!

Thanks to everyone who came out to play – it was great to see you all on what was possibly the only night you’ll ever see me without a camera. Today’s task: camera shopping – thanks to mum, nan & Henry for that. And a big thanks to Miette for putting up with me all day – you roque.

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