Sunday, April 17, 2011

Holidays

Holidays from the regular routine seem as essential as oxygen for the well being of humans. In Australia, employees typically get four weeks per year. In England it's five. And somehow in Germany, the country with a reputation for high worker productivity and quality craftsmanship, it's six. How did they swing that? But holidays used to be much simpler in the good old days before the immediate communication that's available through the web and the new generation phones. The computer and associated work was in the office. If you were at home, it was physically impossible to access any of that work stuff. If you really wanted to work on your holidays, you had to make a trip into the office. These days, my work day typically starts before I even get out of bed. I reach across for my iPhone and check my email before I've even left the comfort of the horizontal world. I will have read my email and likely responded to a few before I've even had my breakfast. Last thing at night before going to sleep, I'll just check to make sure that nothing important has come in that I should attend to. Even on waking in the middle of the night, still half in slumber, I may reach over for my iPhone and check my email. Sometimes I've seen a contentious email that has prevented me from sleeping for the rest of the night while I mull over its consequences in my restless mind. I think it's fair to call it an addiction. Ridiculously absurd behaviour. Pathetic. Take your pick. Today was the first day of my week and a half off and it started in glorious fashion. Being as though I have full understanding of my addiction and know that I would find my regular email reading pattern almost impossible to stop, I started the day by removing the work email accounts from my iPhone. With the click of a few virtual buttons, gone is the temptation of checking to see what is happening in the work world in my absence. So, with no work to do, there was a full day of leisure possibilities to be had in the mid west coast town of Carnarvon. That may not seem an abundant choice, but I'd been given some useful local information on where to go. It all started a little too early  though with the bloke in the next caravan pumping out the radio at full bore from around 7:45am while he vacuumed his car. Rather than abusing him out the window as is my usual wont, I embraced the day and began my holidays. Van domestics done and the car packed, the kids and I went for a refreshing dip in the caravan park pool to cool down and have some fun before we headed out for the day.

Carnarvon is in the grip of a locust plague at the moment. Many of the local crops have been ruined and the little creatures seem to love the green grassy areas of the van park. Each step yields a flurry of large flying insects scattering to the air in all directions. Jazzy was particularly put off by the locusts when we first arrived. In fact, she has a bit of a thing about bugs. Some nights when we've been camped, especially if bush camping, tiny flying insects have made their way straight through the fly wire screens to bombard the lights in the van. On occasional nights there have been hundreds, perhaps thousands of these tiny winged creatures plus a collection of moths all flying frantically to get to the lights like some religious zealots swarming to their temple of worship. What do they hope to achieve when they get there? Finn wanted to know why they don't try to fly to the sun during the day, to which I didn't have an appropriate answer. Many die during the crusade to the light, being scorched just as they achieve their goal, their little corpses falling over the bench top and, much to her chagrin, on to Jazzy's bed. New midgy proof screens lie waiting for us at Exmouth post office which should assist with reducing the small bug invasion. But outside, there are bugs all over the place. Unfortunately, the locations that we all like to go to with the more amenable climates are also a major bug destination. The outside of the toilet block here at night is a hub of activity. The light worshipping bugs trying to get through the mesh screens to the holy grail inside and a collection of larger creatures lining up to eat them. Skinks, tiny frogs and preying mantises clamber over the walls hunting for their dinner. Occasionally a spider will wander through, though I haven't seen any that are too off putting to this point in time. I'm sure that will come. I don't have the heart to tell Jazzy that as we head further north, the quantity and indeed the quality of the bugs will likley increase. For now it's a major step that she is prepared to actually walk across the locust filled grass to the toilets without demanding that Finn piggyback her. Finn on the other hand is fascinated by the creatures. He takes it as his duty to fish any drowning bugs out of the pool. I watched him scoop up a large black wasp complete with huge stinger yesterday and carry it to safety. Today involved only the removal of a few dead locusts so that his sister felt comfortable getting into the pool. Such different little characters.

After we'd finished our swim, we ventured off for a glorious day of beachside activities. A stop to view the Quobba blow holes, where the crashing waves force the ocean spray some 20 feet into the air through holes in the rocky cliff face, was followed by a day full of snorkeling, picnicing and lazing around Quobba beach. The snorkeling, while fantastic, was just a taster of what's to come as we head up to Ningaloo Reef. A blissful way to start a vacation. And not an email in sight.

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