Blind date

grey Blind dateYesterday I had a blind date who bought along his regular partner, the previous night I cooked a steak on the smallest barbecue I have ever seen and watched four Danish blokes gaily hurling a Frisbee at each others bottoms.

Jette and I had plans to catch up with our friends Mette and Kenneth again. Being summer ( sorry, had to mention it), being summer (sorry), we decided to meet in the park for a barbecue. There is a lovely grassy park just four blocks away from our apartment, locals frequent this area to throw a frisbee, cook or to simply lie near a tree under blankets giggling. By the time Jette and I arrived, Mette and Kenneth had claimed a good spot and had settled in. Kenneth and I messed around with the barbecue coal speaking slowly in a man-ish way while the girls caught up on news. Second only to talking about the weather Danish people love cooking on small Webber Barbecues. Small. Kenneth’s barbecue is big enough for six sausages, perfect for cooking for four. I had wondered what I find see when Jette said they were bringing their barbecue along. Finally, after I put out the coals by replacing the lid and Kenneth singed a finger relighting them, we had enough heat to cook.

While eating our steaks and generally relaxing in the sun (it was almost 8:30pm and still light which I can never get used to) we spotted four young chaps throwing a frisbee. They were all wearing jeans cut off short and white polo tops. I don’t want to cast dispersions but they did look like the type who view changing rooms less as an awkward necessity and more of a buffet, if you get my drift. Not that this kind of thing bothers my in any way. The boys were gleefully standing in a circle throwing a Frisbee and running around giggling like schoolgirls. Whenever one lad dropped the Frisbee twice they would punish him. He was made to stand facing away from his friends while they others got three free shots at his bum (with the Frisbee). They soon tired of this game and had a pushup competition, the winner convincingly destroyed the competition with three and a half. We tired of watching them when they forgot about the Frisbee and started playing tag while clapping open handed and laughing hysterically. Being a school night we contained our drinking and…actually we didn’t drink at all,  packed up early. Another great night with mates. (By the way, if anyone living in Vietnam is reading this Kenneth and Mette are lovely people, they will be in Hanoi in October, can you invite them over for dinner?)

grey Blind datePreviously in the week I contacted Dieter who runs the climbing centre to ask if he knows anyone needing a belaying partner. Dieter gave me the email address of an Italian beginner Federico and told me to contact him. Federico replied to my email saying that he would be more than happy to climb with me so we arranged to meet last night at the climbing gym, 6pm.

At the gym and having no idea what Federico looked like I asked a chap in the change room if his name was Federico. He guardedly replied; “No, my name is Arthur…but I am meeting someone with that name, do you have an appointment with him”

“Not as such mate, my name is Ben, I emailed Federico and we arranged to climb together tonight, are going to join us?”

“I…Federico is my regular climbing partner, this is our normal climbing time, he didn’t say he was seeing someone else…”

With Arthur searching my face for giveaway clues to why Federico would try online dating I went on to explain that I was new to the gym and Dieter had given me Federico’s email to help me find a climbing partner. I felt somewhat like a scarlet woman, but, as I explained my situation Arthur dropped his guard and told me they both were new to the ‘scene’ and that he would love to have a third person join in. Federico was late so Arthur and I went out to climb. It was wonderful to have a rope partner, I was starting to get bored with the shorter unroped routes. We were gleefully climbing away on the beginner routes when Federico arrived and apologized to Arthur for being late. As Arthur lowered me from the top I watched them chatting. Slowly I floated to the ground, feeling something like an unexpected dancer crashing a Ballet performance, and introduced myself to Federico. The three of us spent a brilliant three hours trying out new routes and setting climbing challenges for each other; “Only use the blue holds this time” and “try doing it without using that big easy grip” I had a much more intense workout than previously on the low routes, with only one small fright.

Being very new to climbing of any sort Federico is still learning the mechanics of belaying. We discussed signals for the climber to communicate to the belay with. One slap on the wall means holds me here for a rest, two slaps, like tapping out in wrestling, means I am done, bring me down. I had just reached the top of a new route and tapped out. Federico started lowering me from my perch ten metres up. He somehow lost his grip on the rope and sent me into free fall for half a meter or so before grabbing the rope again. This is not very far at ground level but was definitely far enough to give me a little rush of blood up on the wall. As my harness caught me I looked down to see Federico stumbling with the sudden shock of my weight on the rope. He regained his composure and started lowering me again, much more slowly this time. Once my feet were safely on the ground again I looked at Federico who was slightly embarrassed at his little stumble. I just I told him that I am in hurry to get back to the ground and thanks for catching me.

Arms totally pumped out I rode the girl bike home and passed a quality evening boring Jette by excitedly re-telling stories about the climbing. What a fantastic blind date, not one but two new people to climb with now. This is handy as Federico is going home to Italy on Sunday for a holiday.

This morning I woke hardly able to life my coffee to my lips and realised that I have never woken up this sore after a blind date before.

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