Monday, November 13, 2006

Tree pretty, Water bad

One thing I noticed in the NT was that despite having some amazing and unexpected water features, Territorians avoided natural water like the plague. Talking with Sherdie, I discovered that it was just simple common sense. Whether by a tiny little sting or a great big jaws that snickety snack, water kills. Unless it has four walls of concrete, and you can see every inch of the bottom, it’s not worth the risk. This weekend I learnt to think like a Territorian.

We went to the entrance for our final weekend. Despite expectations and prior experience, it was a beautiful sunny weekend. To this point, the only truck I had had with the beach was in the deep evenings and at night, with imposing clouds and a flashing lighthouse. This weekend I finally got out into the surf. Dressed in tick lady’s rashy (which left far too little to the imagination), I borrowed a goat boat (like a surf board with a place to sit) and set out into the waves. The goat boat beat me up. When it managed to wallop me in the head, I decided enough was enough and exchanged it for a blow up boogie board.

I was then promptly dragged out to sea by a rip, and despite knowing what I had to do (swim perpendicular to the rip and back in to shore) and not panicking, I just didn’t have the energy to get myself back into shore, and had to be rescued by J!. Although the weekend continued beautiful, I had developed a healthy dislike of the beach and chose not to go again.

But I was not the sea’s only victim. G! suffered a nasty bleeding knock to his head, and A! managed to cut and bash her knee against a goat boat when she got dumped. An impressive injury, but far more impressive when it was discovered that she had managed to put her knee through the base of the boat.

J! was left with the task of telling his sister, over the phone, that A! had mauled her goat boat. J!’s sister thanked A!, and asked that J! give her an ice-cream as ‘know no-one will be able to pressure me to get on that bloody thing ever again’.

This is the second time in my life that the ocean has decided I might make a tasty treat, and I am now completely jaded on the whole Aussie beach ideal. It’s big, it’s nasty and it burns. Four concrete walls and a visible bottom for my swimming pleasure from now on. They’ve only tried to kill me once.

We saved the life of turtles today. During some blinding rain, they’d decided to cross a windy country road, and were in line to get some serious tire treads on their shells. We stopped and G! picked them up and moved them off the road, where they failed to be generous with their thanks. We also attempted to pull a tree off the road, but only really managed to dig up some red-neck’s driveway with a few wheel spins.

Oh well.

Monopoly is worse than Boggle.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Good the Bad and the Ugly

The good:
Hurrah! The Democrats are in power. First time in over a decade. If there's anything that lil' W needs it's a hostile house. Hooray!

The bad:
I've been erupting recently. Smart ass children have been finding themselves on the end of a very pointed stare and comments delivered with ice. Not all the comments have been original, but they've all worked wonderfully:

"This puzzle is stupid"
"You can't do the puzzle, that doesn't mean the puzzle is stupid"

"*Random smart ass comment*"
"Was that important? Was that relevant? Did that have anything to do with what we were talking about? Or was it just a stupid comment that was meant to make you look smart?"
"That failed?"

"Anyone have any idea how many triangles there are?"
"Spoken like a true virgin. Next?"

The ugly:
Travel makes you boring. I can't believe no-one has noticed this before.

Each day, I wake up early, I drive for an hour to get to whichever school I am visiting today. I deal with the same five annoying kids you find at every school. I come home, I fall asleep during a movie. I haven't been blogging recently because there hasn't been anything interesting to talk about.

But it's not just me. Everyone knows one - they're the 'experienced' traveller. They go overseas for a few days or weeks, probably hang around a lot of touristy spots, or alternatively, the alternative tourist spots. Then they fly back into the country, and regale you with oft repeated and increasingly dull stories of their exploits. In the worst case, they develop an arrogance that you could never really understand(insert bog standard, vaguely adventurous travel destination) and how truly soul inspiringly, mind meltingly superior it is because you've never been there. Or if you have been there, you failed to appreciate it like they would.

Then they spend the rest of the time chewing your ear off (as you're attempting to chew your own leg off in a misguided but energetic attempt to get away) about how nice it is to get back to real showers and toilets, and the terrible belly flu they had and the horrible bog they had it in.

I've got a theory about how this works:

It's like they get thrown out of their social networks for a week, forget how they relate to them and turn back into the toddler who answers the question "How many apples?" with "My dog is called pineapple".

It makes me sick.

Worse, I'm probably one of them.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Just skip to the fourth paragraph

You can feel yourself unravel as you travel the highways at night. Your soul dragging loose from your body as you follow meaningless curves down lightless roads. An evaporating trail of ephemera curling back to your origin.

The mind swells and the tongue becomes expansive, covering topics too personal for casual study, and too uncomfortable for eloquent discourse. Familiarity without source overwhelms you, and small prophecies escape your imagination and lodge in your subconscious, making you wary but resigned.

At the end you feel hollowed, your destination unreal and deeply irrelevant. It takes the sun’s warm light to convince you of that your surrounds are reality and not context.

Sorry about that, but I felt the need to wax poorly lyrical for a second. Night driving makes me feel wierd.

Second weekend at the Entrance, and we had a visit from the Squaddie’s respective other halves. It was wonderful to have the lovely Floor back in my arms, even if it was just for a couple of nights. I love you honey.

Discovered a second hand bookshop named ‘R!’s Bookstore’. It was everything a second hand bookstore should be. The books were inaccessible, the shelves imposing. The books were poorly categorised, and inexpertly alphabetisised. It was clear that the books were considered far more important the customers. All it was really missing was odd shaped rooms, stairways that go nowhere and a pile of books ready to fall on unwary readers and it would have been perfect. I heartily recommend it to any book lover.

A strange addiction overtook the coastal house. I am proud to say that I’m the only one who remained immune. Boggle. Dreadful game, utterly dreadful. Theoretically it improves word skills and sharpens the intellect. In reality it grates on the ears and encourages people to write down random permutations of letters that may possibly be words. If anything brings down western society, it will be indirectly connected to Boggle.

Our new accommodation is much more suited to our purposes than Eelah was, but it’s still not perfect. Damn. Oh well, individual bedrooms is a huge step up in anyone’s language.

Also, there are biscuits.