Dropping in the Ocean. In November…

Well, swimming in the ocean still seems a bit sureal to me! Not normal by any stretch of the imagination for the English! Usually I’d be all wrapped up in clothes and hiding indoors out of the wind and rain. Not here!

Thursday was Remembrance Day, and in America it is a university holiday, so all lectures were cancelled. For many people, that means an excuse to lay-in most of the day. For me, it was a chance to get ahead on my homework, as I would then have the weekend to revise Aero and do a bit of the Heat Transfer project. I was up at 7ish to watch the double bill of Malcolm in the Middle on FX, and after that finished at 8am, I had finished breakfast, brushed my teeth, put my eyes in and was ready for work. I had a set plan for the morning, namely, having a crack at the Heat Transfer homework for this week, and if possible, finish it so I’d be able to ask any questions I needed to on Friday. Ash had invited me down with them to the beach, and said that they’d probably be meeting around 12, so I had 4 hours. I had planned all morning to do my 2 minutes silence at 11am, and I got so engrossed in the homework that the next time I looked at the clock it was 11:30. I was a bit cross with myself for missing it, but I’ve decided to do it at 11pm instead now. I always feel like I should do something to respect those who have bravely fought for Great Britain, as in my view we owe them a huge debt. I would not want to fight, and I would not enjoy it, but I know if it was 96 years ago I’d have probably joined up with the rest of them. As I’m at that age at the moment, it also seems to hit home a bit harder. I can’t imagine what it would have been like going over the top. I feel a duty to remember the soldiers and their sacrifice, not only in the Great War but in also of course in WW2, and one day tell me children about it so they are aware of it, to ensure it doesn’t happen again. All those poor young chaps…

That topic is a side track though, and I don’t want to go into too much detail about it now. I was very pleased as by 12, after much hard work, I had made it up to midway through the last of the 10 questions. I went down to meet Ash and we headed over to her friend Katya’s apartment. I had asked if I needed to bring anything, to which they had said no, but I began to feel a bit bad when Katya got out some French baguettes and strawberries she’d bought at the farmers market yesterday. She also bought some ham, cheese and Pringles to make up the picnic in the nearby store. I began to feel bad again, as I rightly feel a bit embarrassed if I haven’t paid for anything, but with just a $50bill on me (for some reason!) I wasn’t really in a good position to get anything. Shops aren’t too keen on the 50’s. I’ll just have to make it up next time. We started to walk down to the beach, and I was glad I had decided to not take my fleece. It was rather cold in the flat in the morning, and Wednesday was rather breezy, so I hadn’t thought it would be very warm. I was wrong. The sky was beautiful – and it was at that perfect temperature of around 25°c with no wind. The walk down to Scripps beach was very pleasant, and it once again reminded me, if I needed any reminding, that La Jolla is a very hilly place! We are about 200m above sea level at the university, so it’s all downhill to the beach. We got there about 1pm, after a brief stop to get some bottled water – we’d all foolishly forgotten about water!

As I get to the picnic, I feel I should point out that these were proper French baguettes, so they were very nice indeed! I carried them while we walked down, and only needed a bag of onions and a beret and I could have been mistaken for a Frenchman! Finally, I thought, some Americans who like good bread! I had ham in mine, but as we went for second portions I agreed to try some American cheese in as well. It was ok, but I still maintain that cheese is not my cup of tea. After a while, possibly to stop the constant crunching of Pringles, we headed down to the water’s edge. It was a bit chilly…

…on first going in. After 5 minutes, my feet were lovely and warm in the water, which was not cold at all. Very pleasant is more accurate! We were distracted briefly by some persistent birds who had managed to peck a piece out of the French bread that we left in the bag near our stuff. Putting another towel over it all seemed to out-fox the birds though. 1-0 to humans. It hadn’t really crossed my mind we’d be going in the water, so I hadn’t come entirely prepared for that. I had mistakenly thought it would be cold in November, like it is in the Thames all year round, but no matter. After just five minutes my shorts were so wet there was no turning back.

In the water

The waves were huge; some were well over 2 meters a little distance away, and this is something new for me compared to back home in England. We tried to jump the waves, but it was no good, we were just getting more wet. There was nothing for it; the time had come to go in for the kill! One particularly large wave came in, and Ash dived into it. I decided that as the water was actually really warm, this was a terrific idea! As the next big wave came along, I was headfirst into it. And it was great fun! This continued for a while. A little proper swimming took place in between occasionally, but most of the time we just dived into the waves. Taking a few moments out to jump the waves again, we got stuck by some mighty powerful waves and ended up going about 5 meters back to the shore. I tried surfing the waves next, which was also great fun. As the wave came I would begin swimming and then let the wave speed me up – it was like being fired out of a cannon! After nearly an hour of messing about in the water, I apparently began to shiver a bit, and despite my protestations, they took that as a sign that it was time to get me out of the water and head back onto the beach for a bit.

We left the beach at about 3:30, and decided to get the bus back up the hill this time. We went via Revelle College again, which is on the opposite side of UCSD to Warren, where Katya lives, and me and Katya picked up a Chocolate milkshake each in the cafe. That was very good, I’m a bit of a sucker for milkshakes! I walked back to Warren with Ash, who pointed out many of the important cultural sights of UCSD that I had missed, such as the giant wooden chair and the Sun God. I was back about 4:45, and had finished the final Heat Transfer question by 5:30. Nice going!

All in all, it was a jolly good day! I got what done what I had wanted to finish, and the water was fantastic! I’ve not had that much fun in the water for a very long time! And come on, it’s November!

Just to show I haven't forgotten Edinburgh...

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