Palm Beach and The Basin
Another cool beach we got to check out was called Palm Beach. It is on the Northern tip of Sydney. You can actually take a ferry from Palm Beach to the Central Coast (which is outside of Sydney)—but more about the Central Coast later. Palm Beach is small and peaceful. It has tiny waves and it opens into inland water, not the open ocean directly. It is considered one of the richest parts of the city and you can tell when you drive into it. There are massive mansions perched atop steep cliffs. They are amazing. Would love to live there :P The drive up from central Sydney is really nice too. It is curvy and windy and takes a while, but you pass through really nice neighborhoods and lush green landscapes. Palm Beach is also across from ‘The Basin’-- a National Park that my family happened to be camping at for the weekend. We didn’t join them for the camping part but we did catch up with them for a Sunday fun day at The Basin. We got to Palm Beach by bus (the L90 from Wynyard Station) and we were picked up by motorboat at Palm Beach. It was a 10 minute ride across the water to The Basin. It is part of the Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park. It was quite crowded when we arrived, with lots of kids and families running around. There was a nice view of Palm Beach from The Basin too. You can instantly see more wildlife the moment you step off the boat. There was a huge Pelican just flopping in the water next to us. Then a massive iguana? lizard scurried by me as I stepped onto the beach. By massive I mean this lizard was the size of a large dog. It just scurried away into the bush. Then, 5 mins after we got off the boat, said hello to everyone, we heard someone mention a stingray attack?! We headed over to the water and one of the dads from our group was sitting on the rock next to the water. Apparently he was walking along the shore and felt a sharp sting on his ankle. He was in so much pain that he had to immediately sit down. He assumed it was a stingray but actually had no idea what it was really. There was only a small red mark on his ankle, probably the size of a marker tip. There was no stinger or foreign object in there. However, you could tell on his face he was in a lot of pain. He was tough about it but his face showed just how uncomfortable he was. Naturally, we thought of getting a bag of ice and elevating his leg. But, since I knew nothing about stingray envenomation (or whatever this is), and for my own naïve curiosity, I got out my phone and checked my trusty Medscape --what medical resident wouldn’t? :P
So it turns out that you treat Stingray stings with hot, not cold! You boil up some water, let it cool, and whenever the person can tolerate the temperature, you dunk the extremity into the super hot water and give it a few minutes. Apparently, if it is indeed a stingray envenomation then within a few minutes the pain would significantly decrease. Also, although it is not vital, you shouldn’t actually elevate the leg--- that way venom is not moving systemically. Depending on the severity of the bite, you may have to remove stingers and give local or systemic pain killers too. This sting was tiny and the pain started to subside within minutes of the leg being in warm water. The warm water degenerates the toxin, and it no longer works. You learn something new every day! Oh, and he was just fine after… J
We had a nice BBQ lunch with everyone, went swimming in the lagoon—watch out for stingrays! – and made some new friends! I also saw lots of wallabies (cute miniature kangaroos is what they look like). A first for me! Mind you, I still haven’t seen a kangaroo in this country, although I have been told they are everywhere :S Marion and Darrins friends are really fun and really worldly. A fantastic combination if you ask me. All of these friends live in and around Sydney, but they come from various places: Eastern US, Finland, and Kenya! They all have really interesting stories and I really enjoyed hearing them. One of the guys, Australian born Finnish guy, lived in Vietnam with his wife for 10 years while working for an Australian telecom company. They lived there before tourism was allowed so they really saw the REAL Vietnam. He would tell us about the massive amount of bikes on the street, barely any cars on the street. No lights at night- incredibly dark. Amazing people----remember, this was in the early 1990s!!!
Eventually it was time for ‘buls’—as I would like to call it, ‘bocchi ball’ (apparently the French versus Italian name of the game, respectively). In this version, it was the males time to drink beer, trash talk each other, and get all competitive and macho. Off they went into their ‘manly’ world of buls :P
The ladies decided to take this time to bring some snacks and wine to the beach and have a girl chat. Best idea ever. We enjoyed some marinated olives, figs with brie cheese, ?tamarind spread (my new favourite thing so I NEED to find the correct name!) and plenty of wine. It was a delightful few hours of chatting and getting to know each other. Everyone had such interesting stories to tell. One of the girls had many good stories to tell us about her child years in Kenya growing up. Her parents were British colonialists who owned a large property somewhere in southeastern Kenya (I think). They got along with the locals well, but obviously there was some tension. One day her dad was driving down the road and he ran out of gas. Some Maasai men surrounded his car and proceeded to rob him. What valuable things they robbed him of I’m not sure, because they left him with his car naked. They took his clothes but they didn’t steal his car. Maasai warriors don’t drive cars (maybe some do now I don’t know) but they wouldn’t even know how to operate it if they did take it. So her dad eventually got gas and drove home in the car completely naked. He drove up to the front of the house and noticed his wife was hosting a tea party on the front porch. He called out to her and tried to wave to her, motioning to come to the car. She was obviously annoyed with what he was doing, as she was trying to host a tea party. He frantically continued trying to get her attention. Eventually, he got out of the car butt naked and walked up to the tea party. Everyone freaked out but it made for a great story ;)
Sunday fun day was entirely too short. I could have sat with Marion’s friends for many more hours. It would be great to see them again before we leave Australia completely.