Lazy Luddite Log

30.1.06

Australia Day Long Weekend

I spent the Australia Day Long Weekend along the Ninety Mile Beach (a few hours drive east-south-east of Melbourne) staying with a few friends in a holiday house. It has been a while since I have been away from Melbourne for more than just a day so it was an excellent way to spend a weekend. And the weather was just right for slumming it on an ocean beach - sufficiently warm to want to swim but sufficiently overcast at times to prevent the furnace-like conditions we have been getting lately.

The group was an interesting one - there were five of us and the mix of generations and perspectives and backgrounds was the subject of much fun and conversation. One amusing anecdote is that we had a teenager among us (the relative of one of the others) and she referred to something she objected to as 'gay' (as in the teenage slang of "that movie was gay"). Some in the group are queer and naturally took her to task (nicely) over the use of 'gay' as another word for 'lame' (none of us are crippled so nobody objected to that word). We discussed other words to use and settled on 'vegan' (as in "this album sux - it's so vegan!") just to make fun of the person among us who is vegan.

Pretty much every day involved a visit to the beach. The only circumstance I can think of in which it is fun to get pummeled is in surf waves. We waded and swam right into some waves that packed a punch and left us swallowing salt-water and giggling like children. We also did some walking along that long secluded shore both by day and by night. Particularly at night one gets an exhilarating sense of the enormity of things - the enormity of the ocean dwarfed by the enormity of the sky.

Every day we also lazed about the house snacking and chatting and playing games. The others got into a game of Scrabble that generated some stupid arguments. I had the sense to sit apart and read. The holiday house had a few old novels on shelves for guests to read. I was staring at them and then had a whim to do something I had never done in those exact circumstances - read one of them. I selected Jaws (the novel which predates the 1975 movie) and was surprised. I have never seen the movie (except for the opening and closing scenes) but I expected it to be just another thriller with the shark substituting for the more usual mass murderer. But the thing that made it a page-turner was the way in which it explored the inter-personal relationships and the political economy of a small resort town in crisis. It may have also made me a bit more cautious in my swimming habits!

We did some home cooking but we also went to some restaurants. One night we drove to a town in the region and had dinner at a Mexican restaurant. It was in fact a restaurant run by Peruvians (wonderful cosmopolitan Victoria). I assume they get better custom by packaging themselves as Mexican. However the decor was Peruvian as were some of the menu items. We had some coca tea, which was rather nice in a bland if vaguely fragrant way. It came in commercial tea-bag form. In Peru coca tea is a normal part of the economy and culture but the US 'war on drugs' has been putting pressure on to eradicate the crop entirely simply because one of its applications is the production of cocaine.

By the last day we were all annoying each other a bit and it was nice to get back home. Also I missed what was reportedly an excellent party (the right size for vibrant conversation). But all in all it was a fantastic weekend and very much a needed thing.

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2 Comments:

  • you know, "enormity" on a triple word score would probably win your scrabble game... but you might need to check the definition :-]

    By Anonymous korny, At 30 January, 2006  

  • That reminds me... while living in very close quarters with others on camps and the like I get picked on for my clumsiness and my absent-mindedness and even my lack of precision with language. None of these things bode well for me playing something like Scrabble so I never do.

    P. S. Wow - the word verification I have to do for this post looks like something from Aztec! 'jjtjpeca'...

    By Blogger Daniel, At 30 January, 2006  

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