Sep 07 2006

It’s been so long since I’ve seen the ocean…I guess I should

by in North America, United States, West Coast

The smell of surf wax and neoprene. A double-double from In-N-Out. The taste of salt-water. Homemade tortillas at the Old Town Cafe. The sound of crashing waves. Joe’s Crab Shack at Oceanside harbor. Tanned, happy people. Wiping out.

Oh, God, I never realized how much I missed all of it until this weekend.

I left DC Friday evening on a direct flight to San Diego, and arrived in “America’s Finest City” at 8pm. My family picked me up and we headed straight to Old Town San Diego for Mexican food. We have been frequenting the Old Town Cafe since I was a kid, and the place hasn’t changed much since then. They might have added another dining room or two, but the “tortilla ladies” are still there, making fresh tortillas while tourists watch through the windows. After dinner we drove down to our place in Oceanside. It’s a small place, but all you have to do is walk out the gate and you are on the beach. It doesn’t get any better than that. We’ve been coming to Oceanside since I was born. I know the place pretty well, and have seen it change a lot over the past 24 years. The last time I was in Oceanside was two years ago, before I left for London. I was a bit disappointed to see that the city is now becoming indistinguishable from its northern Orange County neighbours. The new townhouses are beautiful, but where did Robertito’s Taco Shop go?!

I hit-up Surfride boardshop the next morning to buy some surf wax. I also decided to purchase a neoprene top because I heard from reliable sources that the water temp was dropping. When I got in the chilly water I was amazed at how warm I was. I should have purchased one of these years ago! I spent the day surfing, bodyboarding, and frolicking in the waves (yes, I was so happy to be in the ocean again that I will admit to actually frolicking). By the end of the day my arms were KILLING me from all the paddling. (I need to work on my upper body strength or something…maybe lift weights? I don’t have a pool here in D.C. so any suggestions on how to get the arms back to strength would be appreciated.) Later that night we met up with some family friends for dinner at Joe’s Crab Shack. Joe’s Crab Shack is incredibly tacky and cheesy, but I love that place.

We were up early the next morning for the drive home to Palm Desert. My grandma hasn’t been doing well health-wise these past few years, so I went for a visit. I was in PD for maybe an hour and a half. Went home for a few minutes. No dog. New fountain thing in the front yard. New artwork. One of my walls was painted a maroon color. I picked out two books and a pair of soccer shorts and left. Back to the beach.

Sorry I didn’t tell any of you guys I was back in town. I was in a bad mood that morning anyways, so it was probably for the better. On the way back to Oceanside we stopped at In-N-Out. I devoured my burger and fries in less than 5 minutes. More surfing in the afternoon and a BBQ with some family friends that evening.
Monday was my last day in California, so I went to the beach for a few hours and then we went down to San Diego. That evening, before my 10pm flight, we went to a Padres game at Petco Park. I hadn’t been to the Padres new stadium yet and wanted to cross it off my list of ballparks to visit. The stadium is beautiful. If you visit, be sure to have a “Diego Dog” (bratwurst in a Kaiser roll-like bun topped with cabbage, pico de gallo, and a sauce with a hint of mustard). Also, check out the little kids playing wiffleball on the mini-diamond behind left-field. With the addition of Petco park, the revitalization of the Gaslamp Quarter, and the new condos and apartment buildings, it appears that downtown San Diego is actually turning into an area worth living in.

My flight left at 10:20pm. Redeye. Didn’t sleep at all on the plane – I never really can. Landed in Dulles at 6am. Welcome back to a rainy and cold Washington. It took me over two hours to get home using the bus and metro. I took a quick shower, ironed my shirt, and was out the door and off to work. It was pouring rain, and there were pools of water half a foot deep collecting on the sides of the streets (typical DC incompetence). My pants and socks were soaked with putrid gutterwater. “Oh Lindsay,” I thought to myself “you made a terrible mistake coming back here.” Why, why, why did I move back to this goddamn hellhole swamp city?! It’s no secret that I despise this city, but I’ll be here for a few more years at least. Maybe I’ll go back to California after that, or overseas, or maybe even Houston. Who knows, it’s not really worth pondering right now.

This trip to California was exactly what I needed, but now I’m hurting for some more time in the water. I want to continue surfing, and I want to get better. I was really sucking it up this past weekend and it’s clear that I need a lot of practice. Therein lies the problem, however. The nearest beach is a 3+ hour drive and oh yeah, I don’t have a car. So, I’m going to start looking into purchasing a vehicle so I can take some weekend trips to Ocean City or Virginia Beach or the Outer Banks or wherever the hell the east coast surf is. I’ll probably buy some sort of gas-guzzling SUV, because didn’t ya hear, Chevron found all this oil out in the Gulf! Pretty sweet, eh?

Second, I’m looking into taking a surf trip to Costa Rica next summer. I know, I know…Lindsay might actually visit a country that wasn’t part of the Eastern Bloc. I’m about as surprised as you are.

So in a few months I guess we’ll find out if I’m a) going to buy a car; and b) going to Costa Rica.

New Baku post will be up in a few days.

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6 Responses to It’s been so long since I’ve seen the ocean…I guess I should

  1. From Joyce:

    Oh, Lindsay, all the cool grad students go to the George IV now…it’s owned by the LSE and smoke-free! Or…they stand outside because the weather’s nice and you didn’t want to exclude the smokers anyway! But, yeah. Good times!

    Posted on September 8, 2006 at 10:14 am #
  2. From El Capitan:

    Living vicariously through you once again Lindsay. I’ll be in Sydney and Surfer’s Paradise Australia in one week, but looking outside at this depressing midwest gloom, I’d give it all up to hit San Onofre or Blacks Beach right now.

    Posted on September 11, 2006 at 4:48 pm #
  3. From Cincysundevil:

    (sigh) … you’re making me miss the West, although there was no ocean in NM or AZ.

    Posted on September 12, 2006 at 9:45 am #
  4. From Lindsay:

    Joyce – I loved George IV…they had an awesome chicken wrap and fries that I ordered at least twice a week.
    Cap – I know what you mean. Going on vacation is great, but to actually live at the beach…God, that would just be so perfect.
    Cincy – The people in the West are definitely a lot more relaxed…that’s what I miss, especially after being in DC for so long. The people here are just….annoying and weird.

    Posted on September 13, 2006 at 11:09 am #


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