We came back last Thursday from 5 days at Port Macquarie. It used to be a small town about 400 Km North of Sydney. Now it has grown into a large town with own airport and is overrun by hordes of sun and beach seeking tourists during the summer months, especially during the Christmas school holiday. We too went there as tourists and had booked a 3bedroom apartment. The building was called North-Point and bravely admitted to being a ‘resort’. The resort title was somewhat overstated. It did have a ping pong table and a pool with barbeque as a concession to recreational features. I mustn’t be too chagrined!
The apartments are being advertised as being air-conditioned and well equipped. The combination lounge-dining-kitchen did feature one of those wall mounted air conditioners. I seem to always be switching those types of air cons on and off continually. They blow cold air down on my knees at a rate that seems to vacillate at its own selfish will. Their remotes, as a bonus, are often incoherent with little things indicating mysterious options. The rest of the apartment had ceiling fans, a much preferred option. I like the reassurance of whirring fans. Perhaps seated on a cane chair one could easily drift into a Somerset Maugham at Raffles adventure. A kind of Razor’s Edge recall. In any case, with fans you can chose ‘low or high’, so simple.
Our five days at Port Macquarie, after reflection, made for a somewhat minor observation. Holiday makers, especially the beach and surf fans seemed to have grown in size! Our apartment was on the second floor of a ten story building. Each floor would have five or six entrances to other apartments. There was a continuous movement and shuffling in the corridors of people clad in skimpy bathers. Christmas holidays in Australia traditionally always included entire families on the beach and swimming. In earlier times, it was the rent of a sea-side cottage, the caravan or camping ground. Today, many seek Bali, Thailand, or, if staying home, go for the ‘resort’. Well, we chose the ‘resort with ping pong table’.
A much lamented complaint by overseas visitors in Australia is the lack of availability of Wi-Fi. Of that we were not disappointed. The resort did not have Wi Fi but did offer the name of a provider, who, for a cost, sold different packs of access to the Internet. We tried several restaurants but all offered no Wi Fi. Now, last time in Bali, the waitresses would politely ask if they could type in the Wi Fi code on your device, all part of the service. Same in Koi Samui- Thailand. North-point resort at Port Macquarie did not even gave an excuse. Of course, for us and our grandkids it was a bonus. Instead of tablet fiddling, it was swimming or table tennis, water slide and strawberry picking on a farm.
They, the tourists, came or entered the lifts all day till late in the evening. You could not leave the place without being confronted by swimmers. The lifts stated a maximum of fifteen people. Perhaps when this building was erected people were still of a moderate size. I felt like printing a sheet stating that 8 might be the maximum now. The bathers would have normal limbs but when the lifts opened up, one would be almost pushed aside by stomachs appearing first followed by the bather. There was no modesty, coyness, reticence or any kind of holding back. Why would they? Oh no, everyone was large now. It is normal. I am the freak in my long skinny RM Williams stock-yard jeans and heavy boots. Not them.
A good time was held by all. Daughter and grandchildren enjoyed themselves. I played table tennis and was surprised how my form had slipped. I used to always have a good way of putting enough spin on the ball for the opposing player to miss a return hit. All gone now. In fact, with my dodgy eyesight the ball slipped past the bat on a few occasions. How dreadful this matter of ageing. Still, I loved the salt and pepper calamari. The reason for large stomachs soon became clear. All day and at all hours people now eat. They eat while swimming, walking, driving, crossing the road, even talking. Entire streets, towns are taken up by roving eaters. You can almost even hear it.
Eating has become our raison d’être.
Me, no complain.