Tuesday, September 23, 1997

Road Trip to Northern California

I had two weeks off from work in August and I was able to drive up to Northern California. It took thirteen hours to drive there from San Diego with my 15-year old brother, Jordan. We stayed at a friend’s house, out in the woods. We spent most of our time swimming in the river that went through the property and cruising around on a golf cart. Pretty boring sounding, but it felt good to relax. We visited the Lava Beds National Monument, the site of an old lava flow near the border of Oregon. It was fun clambering around in the icy and pitch-black caves with just a flashlight and a helmet. I spent most of the time crouched over and walking on my hands and knees in the low-ceiling tunnels. We saw only six of the fifteen caves, so I wouldn’t mind going back some day.

Cave in Lava Beds National Monument
My brother and I stopped in San Francisco on the way back and drove over the Golden Gate Bridge. It was my first time traveling there. You could see the old prison of Alcatraz Island from Pier 39. Alcatraz was a lot closer than it appeared in the movie, The Rock, with Nicholas Cage. It looked like it wouldn’t be that hard to swim the distance between them. From San Francisco, we took the coastal route and stopped in Pismo Beach around twilight. We took a swim in the ocean and I ended up diving forward over a wave right onto a rocky reef hidden less than a foot below the surface. I was lucky I wasn’t hurt, but it was pretty funny. Besides San Diego and LA, I hadn’t seen that much of the California before now. I have wanted to take a road trip for awhile now.

Princess Diana died, I was watching CNN when they said she was injured in the car crash. I can’t say that I knew that much about Princess Diana before, but I’ve learned more in the last two weeks about the English Royal Family than I ever wanted to know in my entire life. Actually, I thought that the funeral was nice, but a bit too much of a public spectacle. They have been playing Elton John’s song non-stop on the radio. Mother Teresa’s death has almost been lost in this.

I have started school for the fall. I am taking it very easy. Only a creative-writing class and volleyball for fun.

Wednesday, June 11, 1997

Summer of 1997

I have been hanging out with a girl from Hungary named Edina, showing her around San Diego the last few months. Recently, we went to the new Stephen Birch Aquarium in La Jolla. It is a great aquarium displaying the ocean life of the California coastline. The best exhibit is the giant kelp forest tank. The large back porch with the tide pools has great views of the La Jolla shoreline and Scripps Pier.

Edina posing at Wind'n'Sea Beach in La Jolla
Afterward, we down to La Jolla and checked out all the beaches, La Jolla Cove, the seals at the Children's Pool and the famous Wind'n'Sea beach right by the beach house I worked at a few years ago. The waves have been fun lately and the water is pretty warm. That makes for some crowded conditions out in the water, unfortunately. Last weekend while surfing, a pod of dolphins swam close by me about fifteen feet away. I always consider dolphins as a good luck sign while out in the water, don't have to worry about sharks.

Noah in a Pose Down at Wind'n'Sea Beach
A few weeks ago, my friend, Matt, had his birthday. We had a limousine for seven hours. I had never been in one before. It was huge. We had nine people inside and we went to fancy Japanese restaurant, a nightclub, and then down to the beach. There was a lot of alcohol in the Limo and we all got pretty toasted.

I saw the movie, Austin Powers, International Man of Mystery. Mike Myers was hilarious. During one scene I laughed so hard that I had to wipe tears from my eyes. I saw The Fifth Element with Bruce Willis. It had an original spin on a old storyline with a good sense of humor. I thought Milla Jovovich was very hot. The director, Luc Besson, also did the French films, Nikita and The Big Blue, which I thought was very good. I thought The Lost World was a bit of a disappointment on the plot side. I saw it up at the Edwards Spectrum up in Irvine. BIG SCREEN!!

Noah losing his sunglasses at the top of Superman
I went to Six Flags Magic Mountain, last weekend. My friend, Greg, and I went because of the new ride, Superman, The Escape. It traveled 100 miles an hour along the track and then shot up a tower that is as tall as a 41-story building. We sat in the front row and it was very exciting. I took a picture at the very top. It was hard to hold on to the camera because we were traveling so fast. My sunglasses flew off of me and out of the roller coaster at the top, but they fell back into the coaster at the bottom as we shot back down. It would have been even more amazing had one of the lenses not broken off when they landed.

Noah & Greg get vertical on Superman, The Escape

Saturday, May 10, 1997

Fiji Pictures

Jeremy and Noah on a sandy beach while hiking around the small island
Here are the rest of my Fiji pictures on Facebook from my 1997 surfing trip.

Here is the link:

Fiji Pictures on Facebook

Monday, May 05, 1997

Fiji Trip

My surf trip to Fiji with my friend, Jeremy, was awesome. I have wanted to go there since seeing "Endless Summer II". There was some great waves, but there was a bit too much wind on two of the days. It was a very different sort of wave in Fiji as there are very few beachbreaks. I'd never surfed a reef break before where the waves form when swells come from the really deep water to the shallow reefs surrounding the islands.

Jeremy relaxing on a lounge chair in Fiji during low tide
Big John would have to take us out in his little boat to Namotu (a nearby island) and we surfed a spot called Magics. The boat would anchor in a deep ocean channel outside of the island's coral reef, so it was a long paddle over to the lineup. It was a little scary jumping off the boat the first time because of the fear of sharks and no land close by to reach if necessary.

Big John posing with my surfboard on his boat
There was a powerful rip current out at the surf break and we had to paddle endlessly to stay on the peak in the lineup. We also had to be careful when we fell (trying to fall flat) so we wouldn’t hit the sharp reef with our bodies. The long paddle back to the boat after a long surf session was brutal, felt like my arms would fall off. It least the current flowed in that direction. There was more than fifteen people out there each time we went, very crowded for Fiji. Jeremy couldn't get the camera to load a new roll of film, so I missed out on getting pictures taken of me catching any waves. Bummer!

Noah after a surf session at Namotu's surf break
One of the night's we got to participate in a Kava drinking ceremony. Kava is a native drink made out of the root of the Kava plant that has an euphoric effect. To drink the Kava, we had to clap once, drink the entire cup with both hands, hand it back and then clap three more times while saying, "Maca". It tasted like the earth and it made our tongues and mouths go a bit numb.

Jeremy getting ready to snorkel off of a sandy reef
Jeremy and I went scuba diving and snorkeling in the warm waters of the island, Malolo Lailai, we were staying on. We also did a bit of kayaking and I tried windsurfing once. It's impossible. I don't think I ever went more than a foot. Maybe if I knew the basics of sailing I would have figured it out. It seems like allot of technique.

Laura & George at the Plantation Resort Bar
We didn’t get much sleep on this trip. We had to go surfing at 6:00 in the morning to catch the high tide and we would stay up late partying and dancing in the bar at the Plantation Resort. We mostly hung out with Darren & Karen from Australia and Georgie and Laura from Great Britain. It was rainy season in Fiji but it only rained on our last day of the trip. A tropical cyclone was supposed to hit the islands the day after we flew back to Los Angeles.

Jeremy & Noah wearing traditional sulus back in LA
Here in San Diego everything is nice and sunny. Perfect weather, actually. After Jeremy and I got back from Fiji, we found out that we were having a ‘Red Tide’ at the beaches here. It was an amazing contrast coming from the crystal clear waters of Fiji to a deep rust color of the water back here. At night the ocean would glow and the waves would throw off sparks created by the electrolytes produced by the billions of plankton massed along the shoreline. It only lasted a few days and the ocean is now back to its normal green. Two friends of mine were stung pretty badly by the jellyfish that had come to feed on the plankton.