Two hours north of the city, past Manly, the Narrabeen Lakes, and Avalon, between a massive bay and the Tasman Sea, you’ll find Palm Beach. On the long stretch of sand, you’ll come across both nude sunbathers and families, kite surfers and sea kayakers – there’s an occasional BBQ here and there, but mostly eskies. Although, despite all that – you can still just as easily find yourself a quiet spot and brave the strong waves every once in a while.
Towards the Southeast end of the beach near the rock pool, the water is shallow enough that you can walk 30 meters out or more and it still just barely touches your chest. I noticed that quite a few up-and-coming surfers (little kids) stake out this spot to practice standing on their boards. So, most of the families are down this end as well. Basically, the closer you get to Barrenjoey Head (where the kite surfers are), the quieter it is – and, probably, the less likely you’d just jump in the water.
The trip to Palm Beach was about a 2-hour ride from Wynyard Station – it’s $6.38 one-way to the beach and $6.30 on your way back. I wouldn’t arrive late for this bus, if I were you – it packs pretty quickly because it passes through lots of residential areas along the way. And it’s not the smoothest ride. However, once you’re past Newport, the driver picks up the speed since there’s fewer stops – you’ll probably pass three more beaches until you find yourself at Palm Beach.
Swimming is actually prohibited in many areas on the beach, but people don’t really pay attention to it – and there are two Surf Life Saver stations to keep an eye on swimmers in the safe zones. I guess a lot of what you do at Palm Beach is just catch waves – jump into it, get caught in one, splash around – the kind of stuff you would do as a kid (but still very much enjoy as an adult).
I only spent 2 hours at the beach and headed back for Iñaki’s going away party. (It was, after all, being held at my flat.) I got there just in time to help finish preparations until the guests arrived. I’m glad it was cooler evening (and that it wasn’t raining) – we could finally take advantage of our courtyard. I’m guessing almost 40 people showed up, if not more. They pretty much started arriving around 10PM and the last guests to arrive clocked in at around 1:30AM.
Iñaki invited all of his Spanish friends so it was an evening full of Spanish music. And when the salsa music started – that was pretty much the rest of the night. I met a few people, and recognized faces from the last party. There was Davíd – our resident DJ for the night, Khalid (Milen’s friend – the chic who said I’ve got great thighs), Sven, Gabi, Prue – there’s definitely a lot of people whose names I can’t remember – and Mauricio. A bit of a salsero. He goes with a group to The Establishment on Tuesday nights (funny, because I’ve gone there twice but never saw him before). It sounds like this group of his goes from venue to venue, and he’s pretty serious with his dancing. A good instructor too. I’ll probably try and stop by The Establishment when they’re there to see what else I can learn.
I’ve almost forgotten how much I love (and miss salsa). Dancing last night felt so good. I think it’s because, as much as I like hip-hop and R&B, I can only really dance to salsa. And the best part is that the level of skill it requires is minimal, if you can shake your hips, and then it’s just a matter of following the leader (so don’t get stuck with a crappy one).
-laughs- dancing last night reminded me of the last time I went to Bembe with Johan. There was another salsero there who taught me a few tricks. I wish I could do more advanced salsa. I can’t imagine ever turning more than once on a single beat, much less copy this girl I saw who turned four times on one beat. Crazy.
So to pick up some moves… I headed off to the South American Festival the next day…