Tag Archives: cyclone

Dispatches From The Eye Of The Storm. AKA Oh Sandy. Two.

On the morning of Saturday, November 3rd, I wake up at 7:30 a.m. to a dark room. The nightlight I plugged into the wall, a subtle alert to the presence of electricity, is still dim. I grudgingly push two down comforters aside and climb out of bed, wearing the latest in pajama couture: Long socks, shorts, sweats, and a hoodie layered beneath a ski sweater. It’s our sixth day without electricity and it’s 4 degrees in my house. But at least I have a house. I keep reminding myself. So many of my friends lost everything. But at least they are safe.

This headspace is surreal. I remember watching Katrina and her aftermath on the television, and being unable to process what I was seeing. Too much destruction and sorrow. Human kindness–as well as malevolence.

The night before, I sat in my friend’s living room, absorbing borrowed warmth, and watching the nationally televised Sandy benefit concert, broadcast from Rockefeller Center in New York City, where half of Manhattan still didn’t have power. Another friend who made the journey back through the Lincoln Tunnel said returning to the City was the strangest thing she’s ever experienced. It’s hard to fathom New York standing still.

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Oh Sandy. One.

Sunday.

My parents have a bitey dog and a flair for dramatics. Even if this storm proves to be over-hyped, it’s possible that riding it out with those three will result in bodily harm. Psychological injury is pretty much a given. This is why I have procured a personal wine reserve.

And anyway, Sandy looks unlikely to be a bust, as the projected point of landfall is, give or take three miles, my house.  Continue reading

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Boxing Day: Kirra’s Mean Right Hook

Thanks to Cyclone Fina, the Gold Coast picked up some major swell over the holly days. Check out my current home break on Dec. 26th:

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Circumnavigating Part 3: Byron Bay to Cairns

“The itinerary” for this trip has been a little on the dodgy side. When it exists, it does so only in weekly increments and only once I have made a reservation for something. Typically, it materializes as vague notations in my planner.

In the middle of the week, in the middle of February, I am considering a modified itinerary. The current version puts me in Byron Bay next week. I’ve already booked a place to stay, already reserved a bus seat. But the thing is, I met this guy.

But the other thing is, I want to spend a week in everyone’s favorite Aussie beach town before I have to be on the Goldie for the Quik Pro. Logic prevails and some uncivilized hour finds me stretching my legs in a gas station parking lot, after deciding that an oversized candy bar will make a fine substitute for actual food.

Twelve and a half hours is a very long time to spend on a bus–even when fortified by Milo bars. At least they showed a film on that bus. Do you know what it was? The First Wives’ Club.

Paddy, the genial proprietor of Byron Haven, has given me what I believe is an okay rate for a week in a studio in Byron: $650. He has also offered to fetch me and my many belongings (still no baggage charge!) from the bus along with his morning paper.

It’s still early and the room isn’t ready yet, so I walk into town and end up finding this great café. The waitress happens to be from Seattle. She’s living in a tent at one of the hostels. I feel like a yuppie, so I don’t tell her where I’m staying. She suggests I try BBQ sauce on my bacon, egg, and cheese. I must look skeptical because she says, “No, really, it’s delicious. Their BBQ sauce is different than ours and besides, it’s a very Australian thing to eat–you have to try it.” I’m surprised to discover that it’s scrumptious. She also tells me that I can pick up “wireless internet” (“Wifi” is met almost unanimously with “Ehh?”) at the Beach Hotel across the street. Thank you, Michelle!

When I get back to my pricey digs, I feel like even more of a snob and even less sorry for it. The studio is gigantic: Two king-sized beds, kitchen, flat screen… no roommates. Paddy asks if I need help with anything else. “Will you take a nap?” Half an inquiry, half a suggestion.

It is 80 degrees and sunny, and the waves are small but clean.

“Can you please tell me how to get to the beach?”

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