Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Azores Day 2: Awkward Beach and Old Friends

Just like that, I've adjusted to the time change, Blog. All that sleep paid off and today I was able to take some time for personal reflection along with a nice jaunt down to the beach where I silently freaked out about which part of the swimming hole was best to explore. I was clearly the only American at this public access. While everyone else confidently navigated the concrete stairs that have been built into the rocky cliffs so as to access the Atlantic's chilly waters, I was awkwardly reading Kurt Vonnegut's Jailbird while watching the Portuguese dive into water that I eventually learned was not deep enough for even a belly flop (in my opinion anyway).

The cliffs distract you from the fact that all water in this photo is no more than 4 feet deep.
I love Europe because rules are a moot point here. There was a kid who was no more than four years old running around on the concrete, peering over edges that dropped an easy 15 feet down into frigid water that was well over his head. He was walking along rocks with waves splashing around him. He was pushing off the edge of the stairs to try out his puppy-like doggy paddle with no adult within reach. Sure there were lifeguards present, but they were occupied with trying to capture what I assumed was a jellyfish in another part of the swimming area.

After overthinking it to a maddening point, I finally just manned up and made my way down some stairs where there were a couple ladies around my age cooling off in the water. As I approached them I realized I had forgotten (or, fine, maybe I didn't know) the Portuguese word for hello, which is sad because it's ola. I awkwardly smiled as they blatantly judged and then decided to escape the entire situation by submerging myself in the cold and salty water.

Swim swim swim. Yes. This water was definitely only up to my rib cage. Why are full grown men diving into this head first from 15 feet above? Oh that's right. Europe doesn't have rules or a sense of preventative action. Anything goes! I'll bite if it means I can drink wine in the passenger's seat of Carly's island bomb car, which I can. No one is forcing me to dive into this ridiculously shallow water or flirt with poisonous jelly fish. No rules it is.

But the real highlight of my day was seeing this lady:

All I got was an action shot of nipple warfare in the car.
Megan Ramage White is on this island and we had dinner and it was the best. Old memories resurfaced and we reminisced about the good old days (and holy hell that entry I linked to above is so old, I was still nursing my wounds from my break up with Rob. ROB.). It's been four years since we've seen one another; a time that has been easily marked by her daughter's existence, who before tonight I met only once when she was a baby. She's four now and we had a lengthy conversation about her cat, Chicken and how she had all sorts of animals at her birthday party. I'm sad I'm away from home for so long, but am so happy I'm here for the next three weeks so I can be with these awesome people in this awesome place for an adequate amount of time.

Tomorrow we go to Biscoitos for more beach. This time I won't be alone so I'm hopeful my ability to exist in European society will be realized and executed.

Until then, I'm totally going to bed when I'm supposed to. Success!

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