peteg's blog

/travels/2018-11-NorthCoast | Link

I slept pretty well. Breakfast was the usual Weetbix and UHT milk; I dunno if the AirBnB thing included breakfast, despite their name. Cloudy, and threatening rain, perhaps all day. Christina was about so we had a chat about her setup. She told me about learning to ride on a Honda Super Four (an earlier incarnation of my CB400) back in Canberra, which was for reasons unknown replaced by a BMW R100 that was too big for her to lift.

Shane's VW out front of the Ocean View Hotel in Urunga.

At some point Shane got vertical and said he was going cruising in his car, so I invited myself along, leaving my stuff at Christina's on a no-responsibility basis. We headed down to Nambucca via the old Pacific Highway, now called Giinagay Way, aiming for Tasty Tucka on Bowra St, which does a fish-and-chips for $6.50. They don't know anything about salads. We ate that down at the beach, where a wedding party (blue at one gazebo, red at another) was just getting started. Beer and wine in abundance despite the signs. After that we aimed for a coffee shop in Urunga known to Shane, which was closed (on a Saturday afternoon!), so we ended up at the Ocean View Hotel. Service was slow, and the coffee so-so. Great spot though. Somewhat scouting for a spot for me to spend the night, we popped down to Hungry Head, which is promising — there's pretty much only a surf lifesaving club down near the beach. The forests are beautiful here. Finally we popped into Valla and found the picnic ground that Christina had suggested. The signage is ambiguous at North Valla Beach — the 4WD says camping is prohibited on the beach, and another makes the nearby national park useless for my purposes, but there is nothing about that area itself. The picnic tables are perhaps 200m from the carpark, and reasonably distant from the houses. Conveniently there's a shower near the carpark with what proved to be potable water.

Hanging in a picnic shelter.

Shane took me back to Christina's, and I headed back to Nambucca to get some dinner (a marked-down "Asian" salad to go with some cooked (!) noodles and random snacks). On the way in a lady with a dog wished me luck camping there tonight, and around 5:30pm six young blokes (maybe mid teens) turned up with similar ideas to me. They set up ("Shouldn't have got the $12 tent from KMart") under another picnic shelter (one without a table) in a peaceable but shouty way. Later they moved on, probably down to the beach, where they would have copped it when the storm showed up. I got the feeling that the locals were well-used to the idea of camping here, whatever the regulations are. There were loads of black cockatoos and a few kookaburras.

The picnic shelter was just a bit too short on the diagonal and I was scraping the table until I tightend the hammock beyond what I thought was wise; conversely the range of tie-off points let me put it in wide boat mode. The proper rain only started after the sun set; not too serious but a lot cooler. Surprisingly the beach had Telstra 4G, whereas Christina's only had 3G.

Peter Carey: My Life as a Fake.

/noise/books | Link

Kindle. Picked up when the philosophical bio of David Lewis got too dry, or at least too hard to think about while I'm travelling like this.

This novel felt like an assembly of spare parts from the classics. It's a bit Coleridge (an albatross), Joseph Conrad (a failure to kill or accommodate Kurtz), an Australian literary scandal from the 1940s (Ern Malley), and much else I'm sure. The outer frames are expressed in the female first-person, who is recounting her long-ago experiences in semi-colonial Malaysia being subjected to a long and twisty yarn about a poet, or poets, that takes us in further retrospect to Melbourne, Sydney and Indonesia. The multi-layered stories don't fully cohere, and while Carey's technique is impressive, the shifting pronouns at frame transitions are a bit tricky to parse at times. I don't think there's any poetry in there really.

Terrence Rafferty, back in the day. Of course, this is Frankenstein. And so forth. He also reminded me that I've recently seen this change of meaning without changing a word: Borges's take on it was canvased at length by Errol Morris. Peter Craven. Blake Morrison.