Saturday, January 9, 2010

Holidays and Whales

Holidays. Well I’m not really a holiday person, something that my family continues to work on, with some success!

Zoe was at the Guide Jamboree in Geelong and Angus at an Adventure Camp so Alison and I had a week to ourselves.

The Adventure Camp was in Berry which is on the coast south of Wollongong. So we went there for a couple of days. We stayed at a beautiful guest house where everything was laid on. Breakfast was so awesome that we didn’t need lunch! We swam in the pool, checked out the local shops, had Thai meal and read books. We also rode our bikes.

After a quick ride into Berry for a coffee we set out to just ride around. A quick lap of the skate park ensued – luckily the local kids had left or I may have embarrassed myself. After that we headed up the road. Alison decided to turn around and I continued up the hill. At this point it would’ve been good for me to remember that the name of the road had the work “mountain” in it. I thought that hill would never end. It was about 8km (5 miles) of tough climbing but it was worth it. The views were great, I saw an echidna and the descent took no time at all! I also passed a truck on the way up – that might give you an idea of the gradient! Needless to say I enjoyed the swim after that.

The Post House in Berry was recommended for dinner on the second night. The food was great but the couple at the next table who insisted on singing Wiggles songs to their kids were not so hot. The funniest bit was the kids refusing to join in even when Mum started drumming on the table.

We had a walk on the beach at Berry – beautiful white sand but a bit windy. The kids at the surf school looked to be having a good time as did the leather skinned pensioners.

I started reading an hilarious collection of essays by Umberto Eco called “How to travel with a salmon” which I couldn’t recommend this more highly. I also finished an Ian Rankin book, “Fleshmarket Close”. His dark depictions of Scotland’s urban situation make me glad I’m in Australia yet still thinking I should return one day. Great read though.

On to Wollongong for Weds and Thurs nights. Well that was different. Our hotel was a bit out of the CBD and walking to it was like going through a war zone. Wollongong had some nice spots like North Beach but really, the city itself is not a great tourist destination. It reminded me of Moe where I grew up but on a larger scale. A depressed area surrounded by natural beauty. No-one smiled in Wollongong. Except my mate Will who we had dinner with! Watching the hang gliders and para gliders at Stanwell Park was awesome. They soared around a cliff and then landed on the beach.

Take note Mexican restaurant owners – making people wait 25 minutes for a simple entrée and then another 30 minutes for their main meal is BAD, BAD, BAD. Luckily the food was OK. Grrrrr!

And really, if your name is at all funny, why would you use it for a business name. Sighted on our trip were “Stan Crapp Funerals” and “Dick Payne Real Estate”.

Of course the news that the Sea Shepherd vessel Ady Gil had “collided” with a Japanese whaling boat was shocking. Watch the video…they were rammed…and the water cannons continue after the front of the boat is smashed off. Watch also as the NZ and Australian Governments tip toe around the issue in case they offend the Japanese. I’m sorry, but someone needs to step up and tell them to get stuffed. Take action, now. Peter Garrett and all your Labour Party colleagues – we didn’t vote you in to be a wet blanket. Take a long hard look at yourselves.

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