Bayonne; France and San Sebastian; Spain
05.06.2007 21 °C
Last year whilst travelling to Reunion Island I was exposed to the French Islander's love of Reggae, little did I know that this love of Bob Marley, Manu Chao and anything in between, actually stemmed from it's European mainland, France. Sergent Garcia, a latin/reggae artist who was often blasting from the speakers of my (now under new ownership) Holden Commodore Wagon, regularly visits the Basque region and holds free street concerts, an event which unfortunatley doesn't occur as often in Australia.
Last Sunday night he arrived to play in the town of Bayonne, and with a day off work, a free lift and a sunny afternoon I decided it was time to check out my first European street concert.
A couple of thousand people jumped around, singing and drinking to the 8 piece group playing before them. The vibe was amazing, the absence of barriers and bouncers, police and ambulances made me realise why something like this is so rarely held in Australia. There would be hundreds of people just going crazy, drinking like crazy, smoking like crazy and probably winding up in a fight 15 minutes after the concert was over. Here it was different, there wasn't one police officer and the crowd of a couple of thousand just stood around drinking their beer brought from home, getting into their music and having a sweet night. It opened my eyes to the huge difference between this part of French and Australian cultures.
And the end of the night me Steph and her mates, stood around for a while drinking a few last beers, whilst for the third time in about as many days I tried to explain to some bermused French mates the rules and scoring system of Australian Rules Footy.
The surf has been on the verge of shit lately, I won't say shit all together due to the possibility of offending my patriotic French surfer mates, but in the month that I have been here I would have totalled around 4 good surfs. It seems that when ever it's big it's onshore, and when ever it's offshore it's about one foot. Im thinking about staying even for a couple of weeks into September just to witness the "perfect month of surf" that comes during this period, where finally swell and offshore winds combine.
Last Friday again the surf was onshore and with it being Nat's last day in Biarritz we decided to hit up San Sebastian yet again for a night on the town, I was pumped.
The surf was small when we got there, but there was still a good 30 Spaniards in the water, I decided to make the most of it and indulge in my first surf in Spain, getting a few small barrely lefts;
As some one who grew up getting changed into their wetsuit in dirt carparks surrounded by forest and the occasional perving Kangaroo; it's quite a funny feeling getting changed for a surf in the middle of a bustling Spanish street with 10 story apartement buildings all around;
Back home every surf is always followed by at least one trip to Taz's Bakery for a good serving of beef, cheese and bacon pies, followed by a Master's Mocha. However to find that sort of luxury in San Sebastian Spain seemed to pose far to many obstacles,we decided to save the hassle and enjoy a traditional Spanish "Paella", the dish can be made with a variety of ingredients but traditionally it is with seafood; which is what I opted for, a sweet warming meal after a chilly Spanish surf.
We hit up our usual Jagabomb bar where we ran into a couple of Aussie guys from Perth we'd met the week before at the Newquay in Biarritz. We all put our Euro's together and with some random American chicks did a nice round of Jaga's;
The night unfolded as per usual in Spain; with lots and lots of partying. Tired and worn out from a night of dancing and drinking we retreated to the comfort of our 'cheap' Spanish hotel to get at least 5 hours sleep before we drove back to Biarritz so I could start work and Nat could start making the 7 hour journey home to start work the next day;
It's been a fun week here; even though I'm working 5 days a week, the proximity to Spain and the late night partying of Biarritz, means I'm never really missing out on anything;
hope the surf gets better!
Garrett in France and Spain;