26.06.2007 26 °C
Well, where to start? It's been exactly 20 days since my last blog and it is fair to say that whilst a lot has happened, very little has been of a travelling nature. There has been a lot of lazing at the beach, a few surfs, many laughs with drunken Irish teenagers, some truley 'aussie' beach sessions and a few nights at the free Cote de Basque beach party.
A couple of weeks ago I spent a few days with Queensland girl Michelle and her travelling mates who were making their way down from Paris through Biarritz; across northern Spain and down through Portugal to Morocco. It had been a while since I had spent time with a group of aussies and sure enough the day was spent lazing down the beach accompanied by an Eski filled with cold beers. The highlight of the beach session however was not the stories, the weather or even the beers (10pk for 2 Euro); but an announcement that came over the beach's loudspeakers;
"Your attention please, it appears that there is a thunderstorm with strong winds on its way we advise that you close your umbrellas."
Directly after the announcement all umbrella owners along the beach continued to swim, kick the soccer ball and lay in the sun, paying no attention to the announcement. Except for one overweight man in blue speedos, zinc smudged across his face and a wide brim floppy hat, who had by FAR the smallest umbrella on the beach. He slowly got to his feet made the one metre wobble to his umbrella, closed it and sat down with a satisfied look on his face, as though he had just eliminated all danger posed by the oncoming thunderstorm.
This huge emphasis on beach 'safety' along the Biarritz coast was no more apparent than the day Chloe (sweet californian diving mate) and I went down to the Grand Plage beach where 7 lifeguards surveyed the 13 people swimming. Making sure that the swimmers stayed between the two blue flags, the bodyboarders without fins between the second blue flag and the green and red flag and all bodyboarders and surfers stayed to the right of the green and red flag and to the left of the first blue flag. If you are not complying with these rules a number of things may happen dependent on what you are doing in the water and which flags you are out of;
1: If you are swimming like Chloe and I were, outside of the blue flags, a lifeguard on a surf ski will swim out and stay with you until you do as they say and re-enter the blue flag zone.
2: If you are a surfer that paddles out (stupidly) between the blue flags you will hear 13 or so whistle's blasting at you, arm's waving you out of the 'BFZ' ( local lingo for the Blue Flag Zone ).
3: If you do as I do and paddle out into the correct surfing zone, (right of the green and red flag) and surf a wave that stays in the correct zone you are fine. However if it is a really good wave that ends a little bit into the 'BFZ' the moment you cross the invisible 'BFZ' line, whilst still on the wave, the lifeguards will pull out their most deadliest of weapons, 'The Hooter'. In Australia this is commonly used at Junior football matches to indicate the end of a quarter. Here it's sole purpose is to ruin the only good surf you've had in the past week, by hooting you until you pull of the wave, no matter how good the next section is looking. Causing you to have numerous 'BFZ' nightmares throughout the following week .
Even with all the whistles, hooters and angry speedo wearing lifeguards, it was still a sweet little surf at 'Le Grand', hopefully soon I will be able to get some photos of the surf up.
The Casetas is a week long festival at Cote De Basque on the water's edge; celebrating the coastal lifestyle present in Biarritz, Hossegor and other surrounding towns. It is a free festival with about 12 different tents, each having its own music genre. The vibe is sweet, the music even better and the beer cheap; the perfect combination for a good night. Chloe and I also managed to watch a free documentary being played on a huge projector inside one of Biarritz's many little coves. It looked at the diving oppurtunities and marine life that are off eastern Papua New Guinea on islands such as British New Guinea. This was a strange mix as I am currently reading a book on those exact islands and Chloe is an avid diver, nice little coincidence.
Gryllzy got here last weekend and stayed for a night before heading back up to Paris; we had a few good beers and he told us all about his European Adventure. He had a lot of sweet stories and looks like he is now a travelling addict, if you get a chance ask him about the story about the girl who won the wet t-shirt competition in Barcelona
With a week or so off work before the big summer season starts I've managed to plan the trip Carolina and I will embark on in September, it goes a little something like this;
Biarritz ---> Lisbon, Portugal ---> Barcelona, Spain ---> Pisa, Italy ---> Rome, Italy ---> Dubrovnik, Croatia ---> Croatian Coast ---> Venice, Italy ---> Berlin, Germany ---> Athens, Greece ---> Mount Olympus, Greece ---> Vienna, Austria ---> Paris, France ---> Lisbon
Then I am not quite sure but I think I will be heading to Madrid and flying back down to Marrakech in Morocco to do another month of surfing on a teeny weeny budget.
Well I hope that brings everyone a little bit more up to date; I'll try and get some more photos up soon;
Garrett in Biarritz