Friday, August 11, 2006

Beach Day

This morning I forced myself to stay in bed until a whopping 9AM and after a leisurely breakfast including nutella (which I only indulge in on vacation) I made my way to the beach. The sky was blue, the wind was up, and the water was chilly, but I slathered on the sunscreen and settled in quite nicely. After about an hour and well into my fourth book of my vacation, I glanced up to see that the woman on the towel near me was looking pretty cooked.

"Excuse me," I said, "did you know that you are looking pretty burnt up there?"
"Oh yeah, thanks, I've got lots of cream on." She replied. "Are you Australian?"
What? "Um, no, I'm from the States."
And we started chatting about our various books and her son's wedding and her other sons that live in Sydney and Melbourne and how Australians don't chat well with strangers in the pub like you would if you were in England. (She was British.)

She was very nice and obviously bored from traveling alone after the big wedding and all I had to do for about 15 minutes was make listening noises and well-timed nods. I'm fairly sure she would have been happy to chat on for the rest of the day. The entire time though, I'm thinking, She thought I was Australian. I really must start enunciating better. Maybe I can find a McDonald's. No such luck though, no fast food allowed in this shire, according to the mayor.

Cultural-identity shock aside, I continued enjoying the beach and my book all morning until my stomach needed food and my skin needed to get the sand off. I went back to the apartment, had a bite and a bit of a siesta, and couldn't sit still. The day was too nice. I decided to make a hike to The Lookout, on the highest and most northern part of town.

I zigged and zagged through the streets, and since I didn't bother a) starting at the real trail head, or b)looking at a map before I left, I made a few wrong turns. Turns out that there are lots of posh addresses in this part of the world, lemme tell ya!

I did make it to the top though, and it was a bit anticlimactic. The view was of Four-Mile Beach, which was beautiful, but that was it. None of the other 340 degrees of sight line were available to see from this view. Bummer. I made my way back down the hill towards ANZAC Park, and the official start of the trail. I didn't quite feel like heading back to the apartment just yet, so I decided to check out the marina. It had to be here somewhere.

I'm guessing this was low tide? I mean, correct me if I'm wrong, but boats shouldn't be hanging out on the sand like that, should they? Turns out they have to dredge every so often to keep the marina in water. Seems like a fair bit of work, but whatever. I continued walking along the docks (or as close as I could get, there was a high population of buildings right along the water) and I finally found the entrance to the marina. It's in a MALL. Usually, I would brighten up at the thought, but a mall seems to out of place here. I did the obligatory walk-though of course, but no joy came from it. There are just so many shops that sell flip-flops, hats, postcards, or flip-flops that you can put up with. (Flip-flops are the official footwear of the Queenslander.)

After going through some automatic sliding doors I found the boats (this is getting out of hand!) and realized that this is exactly the place I would be starting my day tomorrow when I head to the reef. Yep, I've booked a reef trip. I'll be snorkeling. The wind is supposed to be ripping, which means the conditions will be bad, but I figure that I'll never be here again and even bad conditions will be fine since I've got nothing to compare them to. I don't think I'm the sea-sick type...

No comments: