In the three months since I last posted, life has been moving along happily. The kids are all so much happier this year than they were last year. It’s winter here now, and the opposite seasons are still so strange for me. I can’t quite get used to thinking of June, July and August as winter. We’re about to begin another term break and July 5 will mark one year since we arrived in Australia.
As you may have noticed, fewer of my posts are about the kids. As they have gotten older, they are more aware and less pleased for me to be writing about them. I’m trying to be respectful of their privacy by limiting what I say about them here and by not including their names or posting their pictures. For old time’s sake, I can’t resist this story that isn’t exactly about the kids, but includes them.
As I’ve mentioned before, Australia’s size is almost overwhelming. There are literally thousands and thousands miles of uninhabited land. Although most of the population lives along the coasts, the population is tiny relative to the space available and there are many miles of empty beaches. And yet, they seem to have a curious tendency of putting the strangest things right where all the people are. I have been told that there is an artillery range on one of Jervis Bay’s beaches. This is a popular tourist area famed for brilliant white sand beaches. This particular beach supposedly has a a flip-chart sign letting visitors know either, “Live fire today” or “NO live fire today.” Similarly, there is a large, unattractive government building right by the beach at Watson’s Bay in Sydney. I’m not sure what it is, but it looks a little like a prison surrounded by a tall, barbed-wire fence.
Watson’s Bay, a very beautiful, popular spot for both tourists and locals, is located near Sydney’s south head. If you take the ferry there, you’ll disembark near a lovely, grassy park overlooking Sydney harbor and the city skyline. Beyond this, you’ll find pretty little restaurants and hotels before reaching a coastal walk along the beach and past multi-million dollar homes toward a lighthouse and scenic overlook at the south entrance to the harbor.
We were there on a beautiful, sunny winter day. The park and coastal walk were packed with visitors and families enjoying an afternoon outdoors. As we walked along the coastal path toward the lighthouse, I thought how strange it is that the government put this large, prison-like building on such prime real estate. Also strange was the fact that the coastal walk passes right over a nudist beach. As I mentioned, it was a beautiful day, so 5-10 paunchy middle-aged men, standing or lounging, were soaking up the sunshine as we, and dozens of other tourists, strolled by. Many of them wore baseball caps, perhaps for meager sun protection, perhaps to cover bald spots. As we walked by, we passed a large group of laughing Asian tourists.
My husband and daughter had fallen behind and were catching up, so I sent him this text:
My 13-year old was completely mortified by the situation. It’s already a hard age and I guess public nudity with your parents doesn’t help much.
Sydney has many, many quiet and private beaches. One does have to wonder why they put a nudist beach along one of the most popular, well-travelled coastal walks.
As we left that evening, the ferry driver apologetically drew our attention to the “nudy beach” as we cruised by. My poor teenager, between his snickering parents, sat red-faced and fuming that his afternoon was ruined by some men without pants. *
*I struggled here to come up with a Men Without Pants/Men Without Hats joke, but sadly it didn’t work out. Just thought you should know.
On another note, I’ve found myself wanting to write about other topics that don’t seem to fit well here on Musical Soup Eaters. I created another blog for this purpose a few months ago called Done and Left Undone. I wanted to get settled over there before mentioning it here. It’s both more and less personal than this blog. It’s more introspective and includes a lot of my random musings. It’s less personal in that I mainly use stock photos and try not to mention the kids or include identifying details. It will probably be boring to most people, so if you’re after updates and stories about our life in Australia, stick around here and I’ll try to be better about updating.