Saturday, March 28, 2009

Day 16...in which we see beauty



We planned to go out that day; go see Minnamurra Rainforest and the Kiama Blowhole.

I did laundry first. I wanted to be a good eco-girl and hang the clothes up to dry. Okay, and I was also cheap and wanted to save money. The problem was the TV had said there was more rain in the forecast. Rain. Rain. When the hell would it stop raining? At first we felt guilty complaining about the rain. There were fires in Victoria! They needed the rain. Yeah, but we soon figured out the Kiama area really did not. It was lush and green which made me think there's no drought there. The best solution in our situation was to not wish the rain to stop, but wish for the rain to simply MOVE.

With some optimism I hung up our clothes. Although it's time-consuming, I love doing it. There's something so....I don't know? Wholesome? Yeah, I feel all wholesome when I hang up the laundry.

But then it started raining so I had to take all the clothes down and put it in the dryer. I had talked to Tracey about what you do when it rains. She said you can just keep the clothes out and it will dry later. We actually do this with our beach towels at home. We hang them on the fence after we swim. It rains and we forget to take the towels in. But then the sun dries them. I didn't want to do that here though because we were very rarely seeing any sun. It was either rain and clouds or just clouds. I had little faith that our soaked clothes would dry.

When the laundry was finished, we drove off to the rainforest. I was kind of excited. I don't think we've ever been to a rainforest before...at least not that I can remember.

I didn't end up really enjoying it.

This is the stupid reason why. Although I knew we were in Australia and not South America. And I know South American animals don't live in Australia. I think a little part of me expected them to be there. When I think rainforest, I think of sloths hanging upside down and monkeys climbing all around. I think of little green frogs, giant snakes, and humongous spiders.

None of those were there. And without those creatures, a rainforest just isn't that thrilling. It was pretty much wet trees and rocks. Also, it seemed very artificial to me. Why? Because the sounds we heard sounded just like those soothing CD's you can buy. You know....sounds of the rainforest. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know this time it was REAL and I should have been thrilled about that. But I think I've been jaded by those damn CD's.



On top of all that, what should have been a beautiful and tranquil experience was not. Why? Jack wouldn't stop talking. He's a talkative child and rainforests do not happen to make him quiet. He wouldn't stop asking questions. There's a mythology about children....usually perpetuated by those who don't have frequent contact with kids. It goes along with the myth that all children are always completely honest.

This other myth is that each question a child asks should be treasured and answered patiently and lovingly.

Jack asks the same damn question over and over. And they're not complicated questions that one would need to hear multiple times in order to understand.

I have no idea why he does this. It might be a nervous habit. He might like to hear himself talk. He might like hearing the answer multiple times.

Whatever! I'm sure he has very good reason for doing it. And I have good reason to want to put a stop to it. It's slowly driving me insane. So, I have to say eventually I made a rule forbidding such practices. Before you label me as a cruel parent, let me add there was no awful punishment if he slipped. And he did forget several times. I simply reminded him of the rule.

So, the rainforest wasn't so amazing; at least not for me.

I did like the little gift shop. I bought some ground wattleseed from Outback Pride.

I liked the blowhole much better. It was incredible.



I expected it to be amusing--water spurting out of the ground. I didn't expect it to be so beautiful. The whole area around the blowhole is astonishing. I felt overwhelmed.

We walked around and enjoyed the beauty.





Near the blowhole there was an ocean bath. Oh! I wish I could explain how beautiful it was. It reminded me of a dream. There was something almost eerie about it. I think the cold rainy weather added to the whole scene.



The ocean around there is wild and dangerous. Despite that, we actually saw people surfing in the water! The pool itself seemed fairly tame. It looked very inviting. Unfortunately, we didn't have swimming suits with us. We did go near the pool though, hoping a wave would come over and splash us a bit. Our hopes weren't answered fast enough. Tim jokingly said something like Is this the best you got?
Then this huge wave came and surprised everyone. I must have missed the severity of the thing because I made snide comments about this old man who frightfully exited the pool. When he was out of hearing range, I said something like Didn't he realize he was swimming in the ocean? What does he expect?
Tim then told me that the poor man had almost been slammed into the wall. Yikes! I guess it was a more violent-than-usual wave.

We did think of returning. At least, I did. We never got around to it though. We also never fulfilled our plan to go canoing. I'll blame the rainy weather. But it also could have been laziness.

After hanging out near the ocean bath, we went to Scoops, an ice cream place. They had delicious ice-cream. Tim and Jack shared a sundae. I had a cone with Rum Raisin. The man who worked there was very friendly. He seemed excited to meet Americans. I think he had planned to be a counselor in American summer camps, but that was postponed because he was in a band and they had recently had some kind of success. I forgot exactly what he said.

We went to an op shop. I think this is the place where I bought Jack some green shorts. Yeah. I'm sure that's important for you all to know.

We went to a used bookstore. I was close to finishing Monica McInerney's The Faraday Girls. I figured I'd need something new to read. I couldn't find anything that appealed to me. I'd pick a book up, think of buying it, and then put it down again. Looking back, I think I was simply attached to The Faraday Girls. I wanted my next book to be exactly like that. I wasn't ready to move on to something new and different.

I loved The Faraday Girls. I think it's one of those perfect beach reads. And aspects of it reminded me SO much of my own family. I think it was somewhat therapeutic for me to read it.

We left Kiama and went back to Seven Mile Beach.

At some point (before or after we left for Kiama) we had finally had some meaningful interactions with our neighbors. We found out they were from Cronulla.  The parents were on their honeymoon. Jack became friends with the two kids. We all hung out together and talked near the big jumpy bouncy thing. Mr. Near Palm Beach was there too with his toddler.

Tim had a rather intense conversation with Mrs. Cronulla about Aussie health care in comparison to American healthcare. She had just seen Michael Moore's Sicko and was quite shocked about what we Americans have to endure.

Mr. Palm Beach pulled me aside and told me he wasn't a fan of Australia's public health care. It was better to have private insurance.

Yeah. I'm sure it is....if you're lucky enough to be able to afford it.

Anyway......

The good thing is I started to feel more social. I liked the community now that it was less crowded. There was a good feeling to it.

Later, Jack and I were in our cabin and we saw a group of people walking by. One woman held a cockatiel on her shoulder. I was so excited. I thought a wild bird had befriended her. I told Jack and we rushed out to see.

The people were all very nice to us, although I was a little disappointed to learn that the bird was a pet. I think also she said the bird's wings had been clipped. That made me feel sad. There's something very appealing about having a pet parrot. There's a small part of me that would love to have one. But I think it's so much better when they're free. How sad to be a bird that can no longer fly high up into the trees.






16 comments:

magikquilter said...

it sounds so lovely down there....I would like to look around between Sydney and Wollongong too...it is supposed to be pretty there ..some old coal towns apparently. Did you see that road/bridge which went out over the water near Wollongong?

Gun-bae!!! said...

the guy at the ice cream shop (by the way the sundae was very good...Jack picked three amazing flavours that surprisingly...to me at least...complimented each other...they were - Jack's telling me the flavours - "Stairway to Heaven", Boysenberry, "Hokey Hokey"...that boy...he remembers everything...although not sure if that's correct but I believe he's correct...if not, pretty damn good at making the stuff up).

Oh, back to the original thought...he said his band had been picked up by a label...which is great since that's one more step to be recorded and promoted.

Gun-bae!!! said...

oops...that would be "Hokey Pokey"...

Dina said...

Magikquilter: It's VERY beautiful.
We never made it to Wollongong. I think we might have passed through a little of it on the way to Sydney, but we didn't see much.

Gun-bae: I'm glad you remember what was up with the ice-cream man. And I'm glad Jack remembers every ice-cream flavor he ate.

Rebecca/beccaelf said...

I totally understand about the laundry thing. It's very Zen. I LOVE folding my underwear and rolling up my socks and putting them all into the drawer. Seriously, nothing makes me happier than a drawer full of clean undies and socks!

Dina said...

Rebecca,

Yeah! I love having lots of clean clothes. It's kind of like the same feeling when you have a lot of new groceries in the house. I love that feeling of having a full pantry and fridge!

Louise said...

yes, doing the washing can be very 'zen', I actually really like doing the ironing too..

we used to go to the blowhole when we were kids and there were no fences, then, we'd dare each other how close down the rocks we go... I've been back with my kids and I can't believe how stupid we were as kids!

dina, I'm loving reading about your holiday :)

Linda said...

Just a suggestion about the repeated questions... I find that by saying "We've talked about that before so what do you think?" gets it every time.

Also about the rain thing and laundry or washing as we call it in Australia... when it rains I use a clothes horse either on the verandah or under the house and when I lived in a flat(apartment to you), in my room. I just hang the clothes over it and they dry....I don't use a dryer.

Jayne said...

We got/get the incessant questions from Feral Beast, too.
We talked to him about it and whenever he asks a question we make a point of answering followed by a friendly "Now, have you listened to the answer? Yes? Then you won't ask it again, will you?" as a reminder.
Ditto the clothes horse ;)

Dina said...

Louise: I had heard that about the blowhole! I think I would have been terrified to do something like that! There's a water exhibit in Fort Worth (not natural) and some tourists drowned in it....pretty scary.

Oh and thanks for saying you like reading about my holiday. I'm having a great time writing about it. It makes me very happy to know that people are enjoying it.

Linda: I LOVE your suggestion. I think that's a perfect response. I think it reminds them that you've discussed it before, but kind of still leaves it open to discussion. He hasn't done it much lately, fortunately.

I need to get a clothes horse. That would be great. I'll still probably use a dryer for some stuff. I can't imagine weaning completely. But I know things do dry pretty fast in our house. I dry a lot of my clothes by just hanging them up in the closet. I could probably just skip the clothes horse and do that. Right now I just hang the clothes that say on the tag "Do not tumble dry". I should probably just hang the other clothes too.

Jayne: That's a good idea. I'll keep it in mind if Jack starts the repetitive question thing again. I think he does listen to the answer. I think it's almost like a nervous habit...or he just likes to hear an answer repeated. It's not like he doesn't know already. I think he just likes HEARING it. It's kind of hard to explain.

traceyleigh said...

I want to go there now! Sounds so beautiful.

Tim, do you remember the name of the band the guy was in? We'll have to keep an eye out for their cd!

I'm always so absolutely shocked at your healthcare system. It is what scares me about living in the US. At least here we have something to fall back on if we don't have private health cover and whilst, yes, the wait lists are long and they are understaffed and under resourced in many towns and cities, at least it is there and works to a large degree. The government just need to commit more funds to our emergency departments and create more bed space in wards. Eek..I could go on so I will stop there :-)

xxx

Dina said...

Tracey,

I wish we remembered the guy's name. That would be cool! Tim might know it. I doubt it though. Actually, I don't think we even asked. Kind of foolish of us!

I think it's hard to find a perfect health care system. I doubt it exists. Maybe in Sweden? But in America, I think it has gotten really bad.

When Jack broke his arm, it was so expensive. I felt like we kept getting medical bills.

Florida Girl In Sydney said...

Me likey Hokey Pokey.

Dina said...

Laura,

The ice-cream? The dance? OR both?

Fe said...

I'm LOVING your journal, Dina!

Kiama is absolutely beautiful. There is a famous pizza restaurant there which people drive to from Sydney just for the day. Oh... and to see the blow hole of course.

I remember going on a school excursion to the blow hole when I was about 10 years old. There were no railings then... no "out of bounds" areas... and we saw a man get picked up by a huge wave and smashed into the rocks. I don't know what happened to him, but he was knocked unconscious and taken away by an ambulance.

So I'm very wary of getting too close.

I remember when the boys' questions were repeated over and over! Drove me INSANE. Thankfully it's a stage that they pass through. I can't remember how I handled it though. Probably just ignored them (bad mother!)

Dina said...

Fe,

Thank you for liking it...and thanks for reading it!!

I wish I had known about the pizza restaurant!

That's so scary about the man getting hurt. Were you traumatized by that? When we got back from Hawaii, an old lady fell on the escalator. It was so scary. She and her friend screamed. Everyone froze for a second. Then people nearby ran over and helped. I think she was okay, but it was so scary because there was that thought of what could have happened.....

I hate seeing stuff like that. And I can imagine for a child it would be even more scary.

My sister was hit by a car. I often wonder what was it like for the people who witnessed it. It was a pretty horrific and violent incident. I'm guessing some of the people probably had nightmares for months.

And no. You're not a bad mother for ignoring your kid's questions. You're a REAL mother.