Saturday, February 26, 2011

Tourists bloody tourists

Tori and I are such hopeless tourists. Once we stayed for a week in a beautiful tiny French village called Barbentane. The only tourist attraction at all in the village was a chateau that had formerly belonged to the Marquis de Barbentane. It looked like an impressive and indulgently designed structure that even Louis XIV would have been proud of. We were in the village for a week and never managed to make it to the chateau, which was less than 50m up the street from where we were staying. We had all intention to do so, but just never really got around to it. When I went to Beijing, I didn't make it to the Great Wall. We once drove through Switzerland in a day without even stopping to get out. I worked in London only a 10 minute walk from St. Paul's Cathedral and never made it inside. Well that one because they want to charge about 15 quid admission! One thing I'll never do in my time on this planet is pay to go into a church. Aren't they meant to be temples for people to worship in and feel closer to God or some such similar concept?

I digress slightly, but suffice to say that when we actually do get it together to be tourists, it's always a major achievement for us. So today was a triumph in terms of our personal tourism. Firstly we were actually out of the van and on the road before 10am, which is unusual in itself. We then spent the day driving around the beautiful coastal region of the Eyre Peninsula within 40km or so of Streaky Bay and saw the 100,000 year old granite structures called inselbergs at Murphy's Haystacks, checked out the largest colony of Australian sea lions at Point Labatt, dodged lizards and snakes (well... a snake) on the dirt roads of the Westall Way Loop and lazed on the beautiful and more or less deserted beach of Sceale Bay. We spent a good few hours at the beach lying in the sand and swimming in the beautiful crystal clear waters of the Great Australian Bight. Splashing around and playing with the kids, just up the coast from where that guy was taken by two great whites last week. Right near a large colony of seals, one of their favorite feeding grounds. Did I mention that the water was the perfect bathing temperature and crystal clear with very mild waves surging through that could be body surfed in some minor fashion. Very refreshing on a hot day of around 35 degrees. All in all the perfect beach, except for the occasional nagging thought about death by shark attack. "People have been taken in only 3 feet of water", is one of the stats you have to really love. I have no idea if it's true, but it might be. It can certainly play in your head when you are the only ones in the water just up the coast from the largest breeding ground of white pointer sharks in the world. I felt that we were mostly in water that was only about two and a half feet deep though, so figured that it would be at least half a foot too shallow for a shark. So for 90% of the time I just luxuriated in the water without a care in the world. That other 10% though is a real bugger.

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