donderdag, mei 18, 2006

2 months in Anglet - SW France

So it's been a while since I gave an update on my 'travels', but mainly because I haven't been traveling so much lately. I've just been living in Anglet, next to Biarritz, in the South West of France. My day to day life has been much the same as in Santa Cruz: work, surf, hang out with friends, skate, make another website, take some photographs, work on Concussion stuff, etc. Nobody really needs to know, or cares about how my surf session was or some other semi-uninteresting activities as such. Therefore, i'll just give you some highlights of the last two months of my life, sleeping on the couch at my friends house, and working just enough to pay my bills and eat some food.


Staying in Petite Bayonne for one week while my friend was out of town, where i could finally sleep in a bed for the first time in 8 months. Petite Bayonne is a historic city (10 minutes from Biarritz) with a picturesque Cathedral and a Castle and a river that separates it from Grand Bayonne. The streets are filled with characteristic Basque people walking the streets, drinking booze before noon, talking in Basque, and smoking cigarettes.

Surfing Anglet, at a spot called Cavaliers, probably the best spot in Anglet, with a fast, sometimes hollow wave that breaks right, and left. I caught my biggest wave on my friends 6'6 which gave me speed wobbles before i could do the bottom turn. An adrenaline rush that lasted the whole day. Also pulling a little air on my 5'10" in the shore break regained my confidence in surfing.

Snowboarding the Pyrenees with my two roommates and my friend Marina. Although the conditions weren't epic, I enjoyed being back in the mountains, slashing away at any little obstacles we could find.

Skating the Tarnos skate park with 2 cement bowls, and a 3 foot cement half-pipe with a hip and curved coping on the other side. It's too small, but still fun. Also the Globe team came to the Biarritz indoor park for a demo which was slightly cool. I met Matt Mumford (pro skater from Australia/San Diego) but I wasn't allowed to go shoot photos with them because the Globe team manager guy said they had too many photographers - typical.

Driving down to Irun (the border city in Spain), eating Spanish food, and tripping out on how you just drive 30 minutes and you are suddenly immersed in a different culture where they eat different food and talk in a different language (ok so it's the same as San Diego/Tijuana but it's cool all the same). People often go there to buy gasoline, liquor, and cigarettes, as it is much cheaper than in France.

Finding out the Mediatech (hi-tech library) has wi-fi for 1.50 euros an hour. A good place to work for almost free, with no distractions of going surfing or skating, etc. Located in Biarritz, I usually ride my bike from Anglet or skate or walk. It's a fun ride and you can check the waves on the way there and back, or just ride on the promenade next to the beach to check out the 'scene'.

Two harsh wipeouts in two consecutive days, the first of which was at the castle in St. Jean De Luz. I jumped from a wall, to a lower wall over some stairs. I landed on the lower wall and slipped backwards on the sandy landing, and fell on my back the other 4 feet, and I had my camera in my hand, as gravity had it the heavy lens hit the cement as well, but only slightly. A tiny fracture on the outside of the lens seems to have no negative effect. I got lucky.

Fall number two occurred while going 2 miles an hour on my bike. I popped the front wheel up on a curb to do a little front wheel ride on the bank, when the cranks hit and sent me over the handle bars with my camera/computer bag on my back. I landed perfectly on my chest, made a big whole in my hand which took a month to heal, and luckily the backpack just stayed tight on my back and didn't impact the ground. Ughhh! Could have been worse.

Other than that, I've just been hanging out with a bunch of cool people from France, Venezuela, and Pays Basque. Everyone is always willing to help out with a ride, a place to stay, sometimes something to eat, and to teach me french (and learn English). Often I go out to a party or concert or something and I feel like I'm going to school, trying to learn the future and past, and the other 6 verb forms that make French one of the most difficult languages to learn.

Davoud (Concussion) asked me to go to Malmo, Sweden to photograph the Quiksilver bowl competition which is usually held in Marseilles, France. He even gave me $150 travel/photo budget which helped pay for the plane ticket (actually the plane ticket was only 1 euro to London, then 1 euro to Malmo, Sweden, plus about 60 euros in taxes, but pretty damn cheap!) I'll leave the Swedish stories for my next blog after I go to Dublin, and then back to Biarritz on the 27th of May....

- Vi syns.

(photos coming when I get back to France because it's 30 euros a scan here in Sweden)