9 Things We Learnt This Week Down Under
- Don’t always take someone else’s word for it
Chris was keen to go to the V8 Supercar race, and explained we would also get to attend the Bon Jovi concert included in the ticket.. Not so bad I thought, can’t go wrong with ‘living on a prayer’. Imagine my surprise when it turned out that Axl Rose is now the front man….
V8 Supercars @ Olympic Park, Sydney
The Police enjoying the lady parade!
- We aren’t very rock and roll
The evidence? Playing iphone scrabble at the Guns & Roses concert, and buying ear plugs at Muse. Seriously. Best $2 I’ve ever spent.
- People can be incredibly generous to complete strangers
We left surfers paradise in Queensland for Port Macquarie in New South Wales. Our bus driver was finishing his shift at our stop, and after a 10 hour journey battling through torrential rain he asked how we were getting home, and offered us a lift. What a lovely man!
Our local beach
- It’s easy to jump to the wrong conclusion
Sat on the beach at Manly a dishevelled guy with a metal detector was scoring the sand not far from where we were sitting. After about half an hour I must have started to scowl, unsure why of all the beach he had to stick to our vicinity. Finally I’d had enough so we got up to leave. At that point the guy beamed from ear to ear and shuffled in our direction. I hesitated, not wanting to be (any more) rude, and he held up a huge rock of an engagement ring. ‘Did you just find that?’ I asked, incredulously. ‘yep’, he replied, still beaming. ‘I run a service round here’, points to his chest bearing the slogan- ‘jewellery recovery.’ ‘A guy paid me 100 bucks to find his fiancé’s $8000 ring which she lost yesterday. I’ve been searching for 6 hours and was just about to give up’. Shame mode.
- All you can eat buffets don’t bring out the best in us
In Sydney we went to a vegetarian restaurant which also had a small cinema room with big plumpy cushions and mattresses to lie down. We needed to after 3 visits to the buffet cart.
- Some things are better on TV
Take the V8 supercars. Wherever you stand, 2 seconds and they are gone with an ear splitting roar. At least on the screen you can actually see the race! Whilst exploring the beaches on the north shore of Sydney we also stumbled upon filming of what we reckon was an episode of ‘Home & Away’ (we passed a building saying ‘summer bay surf club’ so its probably a good guess). Not so glamorous as you might think, just a couple of actors, a cameraman and a load of groupies taking snaps on their phones.
- Where the birthplace of ‘modern’ Australia is
We visited the Botany Bay National Park, with views over beautiful steep cliffs and pounding aquamarine waves. Its a great site with loads of info about Captain Cook and co who first landed here, and the impact this had an the indigenous people. Apparently Cook’s orders were along the lines of, ‘claim the land for Britain if it is uninhabited, and if not, get permission from the locals first’. Apparently he ‘misinterpreted,’ his instructions, which seems a bit of an understatement given where the nation finds itself today. His diaries describe trying to woo the tribal warriors with beads and other gifts. Despite the ships crew’s persistent efforts to be nice they continued to shake their spears and appear unfriendly, so eventually he ordered them to be shot at. Just flesh wounds to the legs, but still, didn’t seem to be the most obvious next move after the beads didn’t go down as well as hoped.
Botany Bay National Park
- Some evenings you are just destined to have one glass of wine too many
We met up with an old mate Duncan who I first met in Thailand about 12 years ago, and who has put me up in Sydney twice since. its funny how things change a little as you get older. Years ago there was all sorts of mischief when we met up, all night house parties and seedy techno clubs, a hectic approach to partying I didn’t have the stamina for and left me dazed. But now Duncan is all about his boat and fishing. In all other respects he is reassuringly unchanged and we had a great night with him and his new fiancé in a beer garden in Surry Hills.
- Sometimes it is nice to just settle
We are finding our feet in our new home in Port Macquarie. Yes, there are more glass cabinets full of pointless nicknacks and an instruction manual the size of the bible to operate this apparently straightforward ‘unit’ (I hate that homes are called this in Australia. It seems so soulless). But we are getting back into work and have had a brief explore of the beach and town. Best bit is we have a shady courtyard and nearby harbour with a great seafood market. So it may not feel like Christmas, but it does feel like time for a barbie!
Sunset from our balcony in Port Macquairie