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25 and Under...and 23...and 22 I'm trekking southern Australia in the World Nomads Ambassador van with my little brother & his girlfriend. This should be interesting.

A Rainy Day in Coffs Harbour

AUSTRALIA | Sunday, 3 February 2008 | Views [1114]

Clogging around at, yes, clog barn.

Clogging around at, yes, clog barn.

Day 25

When traveling, it’s rare to experience a slice of “normal” life. You’re exploring a new city and seeing the sights, soaking up the sun on magnificent beaches, exploring ancient ruins or discovering the great outdoors. What you’re not doing, at least in most cases, is playing video games at your friend’s apartment, going to the movies and ordering in pizza.

But somehow, this weekend I’ve entered a life of suburban normalcy. After leaving Port Macquarie, Daniel and I drove up to the coastal town of Coffs Harbour to meet a few of his former co-workers. He’d worked with this office remotely, but had never spent a decent amount of face time with those living in Coffs. We figured we’d pay them a visit, grab a drink or two and make it our final northern destination. Byron Bay was a pipe dream — way too much driving — but Coffs we could do.

The guys were at work until 5 p.m., but no worries: we had kitsch to see. Coffs Harbour is home to the “Big Banana,” only one of the numerous “big” things in Australia. So far I’ve seen a Big Shrimp, a Big Cassowary, a Big Worm and a Big Koala. I do not know why Australia has this obsession with “big” things, but I do know they make excellent time-killers.

Daniel and I perused various banana memorabilia before settling on a big banana sticker for the van, purchased two chocolate covered frozen banana, then drove down the street to see the super-kistchy Clog Barn. Again, for reasons I am unable to understand, Coffs Harbour is also home to a miniature Dutch village with a large barn that sells clogs. I tried some on, took the photo opportunity and requested Daniel call his friends. I was officially kitsched out.

So by 4:30 p.m. we were cooling off in an air-conditioned office playing on the computers, and by 5:30 p.m. we were at the pub across the street having a few with the post-work crowd. It was decided we’d spent the night in Scott’s driveway (guaranteed shower, wahoo!), hence the rest of the night was spent eating, drinking and watching stupid movies like Billy Madison. It felt kind of like being on Long Island, and for some odd reason, I couldn’t have been happier.

Besides, tomorrow we’d be back to camping, sightseeing and the like…right?

Wrong.

Day 26
Daniel and I woke up the next day to the deafening sound of splattering raindrops on Nomalita’s roof. It was the kind of rain you knew would stick around, and for that matter, why shouldn’t we? The morning drifted by as I played on the internet and Daniel and Scott played some sort of racing game where you get out of the car and run people over. Thing Grand Theft Auto, but not. Lunchtime became a trip to the pub and an excursion to the mall. A typical suburban Saturday.

And I finally found the van gift I’ve been looking for at Target — a boogie board. I can’t count the number of times Jeff said, “Wow, these waves would be awesome with a boogie board,” so I decided to gift one to the van. (After Jeff had left of course, sorry lil bro.)

With that done, we drove under grey skies and more rain so the boys could play video games (again) at the house. We ended our Saturday evening at the most obvious of suburban attractions: the movies. (Sidenote: Juno rocks, go see it!)

I can’t say it was expected, but it was welcome, nonetheless. Whether it’s Long Island or Coffs Harbour, we all have the ability to waste a rainy Saturday on video games, movies and pizza.

And hey, I’m not complaining!


Tags: ambassador van, relaxation

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