Feb 23, 2008

Woops I did it again!

No, I have not flashed my bits to paparazzi, no I am not cruising around town with an unsecured toddler.

I have been attempting to break bits of my body in the pursuit of happiness.

Well that is a bit melodramatic but I am a boy and by all accounts we don't do pain and suffering very well.

With summer technically drawing to a close it was with a rush of blood to the head that I hit the water yesterday afternoon for a bit of kite boarding. It was an average afternoon with just enough wind to get going but the sun was out and the water was warm.

My circle of kite buddies is rapidly growing and no less than a dozen text messages bounced around between us all to confirm where we were going and what the wind was doing.

It was like a demo day with people swapping kites and boards and generally showing off.

The biggest kites amongst us were a couple of 16m beasts. These things are like tractors and in 10knots will blast you along very nicely indeed. In 15 knots anyone under about 95kg will start to get nervous. Above that screaming and large amounts of air time starts to be compulsory.

At this point I have to admit that technically I am a n00b in this sport. Sure I can get up and going and have even started doing small jumps and turns but at that point where ego exceeds skill level I end up with a salt water flush of my sinuses and generally entertain those sitting on the beach or sailing next to me.

Yesterday was no different.

On a 16 and heading towards the beach, I found myself on a little gust and the beach was coming up fast. Much faster than expected.

At this point there are two little physics lessons you should know about kite surfing.

1) The faster you steer the kite, the more power it generates - fast movements of the kite over your head will result in huge airtime. This is how you jump!

2) The more people watching, the bigger the crash.

I started to turn the kite back to other tack while trying to ease the power off and initiate the turn but a 16 is a big kite and it moves slowly. I was running out of water.

I turned the kite a bit faster and knew I was peering over that bleeding edge.

Silence. I am flying! Cool...

oops...not cool!

Eject, Eject, Eject!

I kick the board from my feet as the sand appears under me, I keep the kite over my head and power it up again to control the landing. At this point I am well outside my skill set and know it.

The landing is awkward and I roll my right ankle and go down like the proverbial sack of potatoes. Rolling forward and straight back to my feet looking cool - all be it covered from head to toe in sand.

My ears are ringing with the laughter from the peanut gallery.

I do what all self respecting blokes do. I ignore the pain in the ankle, I grab the board and return to the water in a defiant cloud of spray and a wave to the crowd. For about another 30 minutes.


Today I can hardly walk. The peanut gallery were not fooled either. They got to watch me limp around the beach packing up and again later as we left the Thai restaurant. Even a great feed and a few Bundy and cokes could not fix it.

I hope I can get it sorted before tomorrow - there is more boarding to be done and dancing during the week. I have watched a movie already with the ankle bound and elevated and I am over it!

Less limping and more action please.

Feb 19, 2008

It hurts so good.

My feet are bound tight in my Bloch jazz trainers, a bead of sweat is swelling on my brow while another two chase each other down the small of my back.

Head thrown back, the water feels like it is being injected into my veins as soon as it hits the back of my dry throat; a cool wave of hydration that rolls and crashes over my body from under the skin.

I don't think I have drunk so much and pissed so little in my life.

Bringing my eyes back to level I smirk to myself noticing that my foot is still tapping in time with the music despite the ache in my joints and the thigh that threatens to cramp.

As the music builds to the end of the phrase I scan the floor for the best couple to see how they will work the hit - always looking, always hungry for more style and ideas. I count down the beats in my head and cock my head as the guy leads the dip early then snaps his partner back up right on the hit. Her hair flys forward and her head rests on his shoulder. Classy.

As the song fades out I see a pair of hands point towards me and roll outwards, palms facing the ceiling. Her smile in concert with the hands draws me onto the floor.

I don't know her name but she is smooth as silk. I need smooth right now and the song that starts is just right for my mood as well.

Better Than EzraJuicy

The first few moves are like sampling a fine wine. There is cascade of sensations that are intoxicating. A splash of enthusiasm mixed with fear of the unknown. The scent of magic yet to be unleashed.

We roll around each other, gently guiding and exploring how the other reacts to the music and our signals. I keep it subtle but firm and it is working well. The smallest pressure and body lead sends her where I want her to go. We are connected in dance and lock smiling eyes.

The pain fades. The aches are forgotten and there is only the two of us moving as one with chests expanded and shoulders back. We are in a ball of colour and the world is grey around us.

Two songs later and we are done for. The weekend has caught up with us and the last schooner of water has been boiled out of my muscles already - it is time for more.

We leave the floor hand in hand like life long lovers and with a gentle squeeze say our thanks for sharing that moment in time. It has meant everything and nothing all at once.

As out fingers part I am dragged back into the present. The pending cramp is back and demanding my attention. My body screams abuse at me and I feel the first mouthful of water evaporate on my tongue in a puff of steam.

Friday seems like a week ago. Counting on my fingers I realise that in the past 42 hours I have been on the dance floor in one form or another for about 28 hours.

I have done kicks, tricks, threesomes and competition styling workshops. I have had an hour of yoga and Tai Chi which hurt as much as anything else but I am sure was the only thing that got me though the two hours of lifts and aerials. Now it is time to stop. My body has quit and wants to go home.

Another pair of hands beckons and I follow my legs onto the dance floor before I even know what is happening.

I smile warmly to a new stranger with soft hands and the most incredible triple spins.....

Feb 11, 2008

Woe is me.

I feel happy. I feel sore. I feel tired.

Saturday was an annual fancy dress party at a good friends place. They have the sort of parties that everyone looks forward to. Great music, always themed and well attended. They have a survivors book that you only get to sign if you survive until sunrise.

Need I explain further why I am tired?

This party was a uniform party. We had all the French maids, naughty police officers and nasty nurses you could poke your stick at.

They also had a proper pole dancing pole - with elevated base and rotating pole. By the morning it had been witness to some spectacular gymnastics along with some not so sexy stuff from the lads, me included.

I honestly think that if you are having a party, a pole is a must have. It makes for a great sideshow and brings out the be(a)st in the ladies.

The other great ingredient is a heated pool. At about 2am it was time to get swimming with the obligatory bomb off the first story balcony into a pool populated with half naked women folk - just fantastic.

A very polite and mandatory visit from the local coppers at about 3am had the volume turned down but did not prevent the hard core few going to the blissful end.

After a quick trip home for a few hours sleep and a change back into real clothes it was time to hit the water for an afternoon on the kite board. It was only a few hours but I learnt a new trick, got to show off in front of my lady lover and now feel like I have done about 1000 crunches. Damn it is is good workout.

That is where the sore bit comes from.

And happy? well in a few weeks I am off again on an adventure to Africa. A wonderful week in the Masai Mara, with some luck away from all the trouble and political violence. The down side is I am travelling alone but timing and the risk of travelling in Kenya did not really make it viable to take a partner this time around.

Technically it is work and it will be hard work at that. I can however tell you from past experience, one face to face with a pride of lions and you forget the 14 hour days you are putting in and relish in the fact that you are getting paid to work in an area that most people consider the trip of a life time.

Life is good.

Feb 7, 2008

Our Cate.....she's gorgeous!

Sometimes I surprise myself.

Tonight I had a night in. No sailing or dancing for me.

While relaxing in front of the idiot box I stumbled onto a documentary on the ABC, In the company of actors.

It was a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the New York production of Andrew Upton's Hedda Gabler starring Cate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving.

Back in 2004 I had the amazing pleasure of seeing the original Sydney Theatre Company production before they took it to New York in 2006.

I love great theatre and the exchange that takes place between stage and audience. Sitting in the front row (I was so, so lucky with the tickets) at times a hand full of feet away from Cate and Hugo was mesmerising. Cate in particular has an intensity that even her best film work does not quite do justice to once you have seen her live.

Little snippets of the actual performance made me smile, laugh and even clap - all while alone in my lounge room. Seeing inside the rehearsals and watching the artists interact, bounce in and out of character while looking for the right tone or movement or position was a delight.

The documentary wrapped at the end of opening night at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. I found myself with a tear in my eye as the cast took their bow to a standing ovation in front of what is considered one of the most educated, if not conservative, theatre audiences in the world.

You know something was good when three years on and the echoes of emotions lived during a live performance come burbling up and kick you in the teeth.

What a rewarding night in.