Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Richardsons Down Under

As those who have traveled with small children know, vacationing with lots of small kiddies is never ‘rest and relaxation.’ True to fashion, we spent just enough time in our hotel room in Perth, Australia to pee, shower, sleep and heal Zach’s foot that swelled up to five times it’s size due to some untimely fire ant bites he received by hunting tree frogs in our backyard the night before embarking the airplane.

We did the necessary ‘Go to the wildlife park to feed the kangaroos, pet the koala bears (koala bees, as Zach calls them, along with his spice monkeys and chimparillas, see previous post), and hold the wombat (truly not a beautiful creature even up close),’ then it was the RICHARDSON PERTH PARK TOUR 2006.

Yes, dear friends, we hit every green space, swing set, beach side, park, BBQ pit and anything else that had any sort of turf laid down in the inner and outer limits of the city of Perth. We were wind burnt, sun burnt, abraised by the salty Indian ocean, and if that wasn’t enough, we bought a windsurfer so we could really live the ‘weigthwatcher vacations’ that Rob is accustomed to when he travels with me. (He usually keeps his girlish figure while dining on heaps of awesome food and lots of fermented beverages by hefting luggage and carrying children – usually one strapped to his chest, one on his back and one on his shoulders. I can’t do this, since I’m the navigator, and I need my hands free to point.)

We met a truly awesome bloke Mark, owner of SURF SAIL AUSTRALIA, ( ) who not only let us borrow a beginner board and accompanying hardware, but came down to the river bank to show us himself how to windsurf. We even were able to purchase a couple of sails for the boys, all of whom have had their spins on the board, and are now interested in owning surf shops when they grow up.

Now, I did windsurf in my youth, but as usual, 20 years and about the same amount of kilos later, it’s a little different. It is kind of like riding a bike, as when you finally do manage to stand up on the thing, heft the sail out of the water and point the board in some random direction, something clicks deep down inside the grey matter and your muscles fuzzily remember doing something similar a long time long before. Unfortunately for me it was ‘Oh yeah, I remember I could only sail in one direction and I’d always get stuck and have to swim back.’ But never the less, we gave it the old college try!

One question I’d like the answer to is, where in the world are the other beginning windsurfers in Perth? For that matter, where are the intermediate windsurfers in Perth? As we were struggling by the banks of the river to hoist the sail and keep our balance on the big ol’ beginner board, about 100 buff, suntanned Aussies came popping out of nowhere, whipped out their styrofoam boards, trotted to the shore, put one foot on the board and one hand on the sail and away they went, to the other side of the river. Never falling. Never even getting wet when they set off on the board. I wouldn’t be surprised if some still had on their business suits, they were so confident they wouldn’t even need to touch the water as they twirled in the bay at breakneck speed.

We on the other hand had bloodied our feet and legs from crawling back onto the board after being knocked off every 30 seconds, had to pull the seaweed out of our hair and wring out our wet suits. By the end of our time on the board, Rob had given our ship the customary lady’s name starting with a B, and I can tell you it wasn’t Betty.

We have since brought the big B to Banda and continue to bloody our legs and give the locals quite a spectacular show.

Hmm,.. what else did we do? We did drink quite the nice brews, and I must say my favorite restaurant had beverages listed as 'beer' and 'not beer'. Now, that' s talking my lanaguage. We visited the wine country where Rob put his snobby Californianized nose into the air and pronounced the whites not worthy of his sipping since they weren't 'wooded'. I, on the othere hand, said, 'who cares, it's wine and not whine.' and left him with four kids to eat ice cream at the vineyard's cafe while I sampled away in the tasting room.

What did we enjoy about our vacation the most?

1. sinks!
2. Not getting our feet wet when going into the bathroom to use the toilet, brush teeth or hair, or anything besides taking a shower
3. Western food! Even mexican food tasted good in Australia.
4. No mosque calls to prayer in the middle of the night.
5. The right for me to 'bear arms'! No high necklines or past the elbows shirts for me for 10 whole days! Yes, I was flashin' the clavicle in public again.
6. Power all the time. You could turn on a light switch and expect,.. light!
7. Water! Water to drink out of the faucet, even! The sacriledge!
8. The ability to buy alcoholic beverages without feeling like I was fakin' my age. Although it did make me feel like I was once again crossing the border to B.C. during college in order to consume legally,..
9. Being able to wear an actual swim suit to ,... swim.
10. Hanging out with daddy for the whole time.

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