So, we did what many Sydneysiders do, we headed north to the Gold Coast. If the Hamptons, Myrtle Beach, and Miami had a baby, The Gold Coast might well be it. I have no complaints. I mean, how could I? It’s a tropical beach paradise. Although, in the interest of full disclosure, I’m not really a “beach-goer.” The sand gets everywhere and there’s never enough sunscreen to protect my pasty white skin. But, really, it was great!
It’s summer in the Southern Hemisphere and the heatwave facing Sydney meant everyone was talking about the temperature. Only trouble? Their talk was in Celsius, which meant I had to learn how to convert it to Fahrenheit: Double it and add 32, which consistently yielded the same result: F*ing hot! Quite literally, the temperature during my time in Sydney didn’t fall below 90 degrees Fahrenheit and more often than not, exceeded 100 degrees. It was humid, too. Honestly, I preferred the weather in Antarctica.
Editor’s Note: I received the following correction from a reader, which I’m happy to post here: The correct conversion for Celsius to Fahrenheit is not double it and add 32. It is actually divide by 5, multiply by 9 and then add 32. In Celsius freezing is 0 and boiling is 100. In Fahrenheit the corresponding numbers are 32 and 212. Divide 100 by 5 and you get 20. Multiply 20 by 9 and you get 180. Add 32 and you get the correct answer of 212. When they said it was 30 there, you calculated that it was 92. In fact, it was only 86. You weren’t really as hot as you thought!
Regardless of the math, this kind of heatwave is not so unusual. In fact, in his book The Fatal Shore, Robert Hughes quoted a European visitor to Australia in the early 1800’s who observed Indigenous Australians. He described the innovative way they cooled their bodies,
“It is by no means uncommon to see the entrails of fish frying upon their heads in the sun, till the oil runs over their face and body…”
As “comfortable” as that sounds on a hot day, a weekend at The Gold Coast did seem like a better smelling way to find lower temperatures.
We had a great time relaxing and — more importantly — enjoying each other’s company. Trevor kindly took over babysitting duties, which left his wife and me with the dizzying task of sampling the drinks menu at the pool. It was difficult work, but someone had to do it.
After the weekend, we headed back to Sydney where it was shortly time for me to head back to the Northern Hemisphere.
This was a fantastic trip. No doubt! Not since I became enamored of the civilizations in the Andes (Inka, Tiawanku, Chavin) have I become quite so fascinated by a place. Indeed, I’m leaving with a library of no less than ten books about Australia’s founding. I look forward to learning about more corners of this continent to explore on my next journey Down Under.
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