Friday, January 11, 2013

The Great Ocean Road: Day 1

“The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.”
-Rabindranath Tagore

Good for the butterflies. As for me, “time enough” is a concept more foreign to me than physics. Where is “time enough?”

Time enough to write this blog post before I do something else blogpost worthy.
Time enough to plan the next blogworthy event.
Time enough to learn Portuguese and Korean and Japanese and how to be a Writer.
Time enough to read All the Books.

Torquay surfer
Perhaps I’m missing the point of the quotation. All that to say, here’s the sparknotes version of the GREAT OCEAN ROAD (I capitalize because, truly, it’s great and truly, I’m a little obnoxious in my heart of hearts):

I took a two-day tour with Around and About Tours, run by Walter Edgar (who I didn’t ask if it bothered him that he’d been cheated out of a last name by having two firsts). Day one started with Torquay (pronounced tor-key), the surf capital of Victoria. Despite unseasonably cold wind and weather, tons of people were out surfing. Also, swimming. Apparently when we Americans say “go jump in a lake” the Aussies take it above and beyond by jumping in the ocean—and then swimming across it. While I sat looking over the bay around Point Danger (I’m not making that name up, by the way), three guys swam halfway across the bay in less time than it took for me to wrap my mind around how big the waves were.

Airey's Inlet
We saw kangaroos at Bell’s Beach and on a golf course in stop three, Anglesea. After that was Airey’s Inlet and the Splitpoint Lighthouse. Near Fairhaven Beach—at which I talked to a couple of friendly local fishermen—the Memorial Arch straddled the Great Ocean Road. The arch commemorates the Australian WWI servicemen who made it home from the Great War and were given one of the only jobs available to them: crafting an enormous highway on the side of a mountain with little more than pickaxes, shovels, and dynamite. The road is, technically, the world’s longest war memorial.

Fairhaven Beach
Lunch at Lorne where I watched surfers be awesome. A lot of places we went, surfing appeared to be simply the art of tipping over. Not at Lorne—a group of five or six people rode wave after wave, pulling 360s and walking back and forth on their boards. I—novice surf-watcher that I am—was suitably impressed.

From Lorne to Apollo Bay was some of the most amazing driving. Walter, our tour guide, was a pro driver, taking the curves fast and controlled—and I got to sit shotgun for the entire ride, enjoying view after view.

The Great Ocean Road
We stopped and saw a few waterfalls, which were more like waterdrips. But I didn’t care too much because we also got to stop and see some koalas. Again, I don’t know much about koalas—besides that apparently koalas from different regions only eat the type of eucalyptus grown in that region and refuse other types—but I can’t say it matters. Those little things are cuter than ewoks and I want one.

Apollo Bay, our stopping place for the night, is literally a one-street town with nothing besides a beautiful seaside to attract people to it. I spent the night in a room with four English boys—no, not my first choice mom and dad, but the cheapest!—who, along with this full-of-personality hostel, deserve a blogpost all of their own.

Expect the sparknotes of day 2 tomorrow.

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