Sunday, August 30, 2009

Airlie Beach and Surrounds

After Race Week was over I didn't know what I would be doing next. Polly and Jason were heading back to Sydney. But Paul would be sticking around on holiday for the next week or so. He also didn't have any plans either so we were a good team. We had plenty of food and wine leftover from race week, but nowhere to really put it. So I took it over to 'Tattoo' and offered it to Trevor and Tom. I was welcome to stay on 'Tattoo' while I sorted out what I was going to be doing next. I offered to help organize there 400 DVDs!! This required putting them all in alphabetical order and then putting them each in there own individual sleeve. Meanwhile, Paul asked Trevor if he could also help out on Tattoo for a place to stay, but got turned down. He went looking for a place to set up his tent while I looked around notice boards for cars for sale. The hostels try and charge you $20 to set up a tiny two person tent on a tiny square of dirt, next to a bunch of other tents. After no real luck finding cars for sale at a reasonable price or a place for Paul to pitch his tent we went back to the apartment. Paul had left his bag on the patio of the bottom flat, so he needed to get it before it got to late. The people staying there were really sweet older people, Toni and Dee. Tony was English and Dee was Scottish. They lived in Adelaide, and drove up to Airlie beach for a holiday to get out of the cold weather. They had a little cute lap doggy named Sootie. Dee loved to talk. They had been living in Australia for 20 years or more but she still had a very strong Scottish accent. They offered Paul to set up his sleeping bag on the patio. They even put out their couch cushions for him to sleep on. They were so sweet they said they would let him sleep inside if they had room, but it was a tiny one room flat.

We walked to tattoo and Trevor and Tom were watching a movie and I had the feeling of intruding. I did not feel very welcome in their home. Anyways, I just wanted to stop in and say hi and tell them my plans for the night. Me and Paul were going to go eat and then watch a football game at one of the bars. We only stayed a few seconds then left. Then Paul and I realized the gate to the marina would be locked when I got back that night and I didn't know how I would get in. So I ran back to asked Trevor how I should get in. When I came by the movie was shut off and Trevor was trying to fix the DVD player. I asked him if everything was still cool and told him I felt awkward. He said everything was cool and they were just doing their thing and I was doing mine. The awkwardness went away and I felt more welcome. I asked how I was supposed to get passed the gate. They said they only had one key so they couldn't give it to me but that it was really easy to jump over the fence. Tom came out to show me how to get around it. It really wasn't as hard as it looked after you learned the trick.

That night was fun we went to eat dinner at the food court. We both got Indian food. I really enjoyed it! Then we watched a few different 'football' games. I learned all about all of the footballs in Australia. There is AFL (Aussie Rules), Rugby League (League), Rugby, and Soccer (which can also be called football). They are all very different.

My favorite I think is AFL. 18 players play on an oval shaped field. The primary aim of the game is to score goals by kicking the ball between the middle two posts of the opposing goal. The majority of the game is spent trying to advance the ball down the field close enough to kick a goal. Players may use any part of their body to advance the ball, but they may not throw it. The players usually kick or 'punch' the ball to each other, they can run with the ball but only if they bounce or touch the ball to the ground every 15 meters. Unlike most similar sports, there is no offside rule, and players can roam the field freely. The only person that can be tackled is the person in possession of the ball. If they are tackled and they had prior opportunity to legally dispose of the ball then the tackler is rewarded a free kick. It he is tackled and he did not have prior opportunity to legally get rid of the ball then he has 1/2 a second after being tackled to legally get rid of the ball, otherwise the tackler is rewarded a free kick. If the ball is held to the player by the tackler such that he cannot dispose of it, a ball-up will result. These rules help the game be non-stop. A player that catches a ball that has been kicked and travelled over 15 meters is awarded a free kick. Therefore the strategy of the game is to get the ball far enough down the field and then kick the ball to someone that is open, who will then get a free kick, meaning no one can tackle then behind where they caught the ball. And then they score a goal. A goal is scored when the football is propelled through the goal posts at any height (including above the height of the posts) by way of a kick from the attacking team. It may fly through on the full or bounce through, but must not have been touched, on the way, by any player from either team. A goal cannot be scored from the foot of a defending player. A 'behind' is scored when the ball passes between a goal post and a behind post at any height, or if the ball hits a goal post, or if an attacking player sends the ball between the goal posts by touching it with any part of the body other than a foot. A behind is also awarded to the attacking team if the ball touches any part of an opposition player, including his foot, before passing between the goal posts. A goal is worth 6 points whereas a behind is worth 1 point. The umpire signals a goal with two hands raised at elbow height and a behind with one hand.

Rugby league is frequently cited as the toughest and most physically demanding of any team sport in the world. You can tell this buy the way that the men that play it look. The are very tough looking, very different from AFL players who are strong, but lean. Try to imagine American football players that down where any pads and have a whole lot more endurance, that is what rugby league players are like. It is played by thirteen players on a rectangular grass field. The point of the game it to get the ball towards the opposing side in order to score a try (a touch down), or a goal. In order to advance the ball the players throw the ball to each other without getting tackled by the other team. A tackle forces a halt in play for as long as it takes the tackled player to return to his feet, and play the ball. In that time, the defending team, with the exception of two markers, must move back a minimum of 10 metres towards their end of the field. The attacking team restarts play and continues trying to advance down the field. The team advancing the ball can be tackled 6 times before it becomes the other teams ball. Usually after the 5th tackle they will kick the ball unless they think they can score a try. If the opposing team gets possession of the ball but then loses it again the tackle count starts at zero. It is a very fast game. No one likes to hold on to the ball for very long, otherwise they will get tackled so the ball is constantly in the air and can easily be taken by the opposing team. There are lots of scrambles too. If the ball hits the ground it may be kicked or punched to try and get it into the hands of your team mate. Once someone has control over the ball, that team has the chance to advance down the field. If a try is scored the team is rewarded 4 points. Then They get a chance to get two more points by kicking a field goal. The kick is taken at any point on the field of play in line with the point that the ball was grounded for the try. Therefore it is a good strategy to score the try in the middle of the end line to have a better chance of getting the extra 2 points. A goal is only worth 1 point so it is not usually a good strategy to score a goal. If you are really close to scoring a try, because it takes so long to advance the ball down that far down the field it is more worth your while to just kick the ball out of bounds and hope to get the ball back from the opposing team to get 6 more chances to score a try, then getting 1 measly point.

After watching footy games we went to KC's where there was a guy playing blues. It was really nice. I hadn't heard any really 'good' live music in a while. After the blues was over we walked back to the marina and I had to crawl around the gate. I made it just fine, but I was caught on camera and a security guard came and hassled Paul. I just kept walking and didn't turn around. He didn't try and yell out at me or anything. I went straight in Tatoo and talked to trevor for a bit then we both went to bed.

The next day I got up I had a mission to look for a car. I spent the morning on the boat organizing DVDs and then looking online for cars and travel partners. I met up with a guy to look at his car he was selling. Paul met him with me and we test drove the car. I didn't really like it, it smelled like smoke and the inside was a nit torn up, it seemed to run alright. I also didn't like the guy that was selling it. It was worth a try though. The rest of the day was spent by the Lagoon swimming. Then a short trip back to Tatoo where we ran into Mason, who I met when I was on Hooke Island. His boat was docked on the same dock as tattoo. He told me getting over that fence was hard and that is saying a lot coming from a rock climber. I was like "rewind, what's that about being a rock climber?" I told him I had been looking for people that climbed rocks since I had been in Australia and found nobody! He said there was rock climbing right here in Airlie Beach and that he would take me climbing. Unfortunately he was leaving to go to Brisbane to teach kids about rock climbing, kayaking and hiking. But when he got back he could take me climbing. We walked down to his boat and he took my phone number down and we hung out for twenty minutes talking.

Then I reheated my Indian food on one of the free barbecues at the lagoon for dinner. Paul heated up some beef stew and we drank wine and played cribbage. Then went watched more football and danced to the Blues guy. We made sure to get to the show on time to see the whole thing. I as usual was the only one dancing at first and then everyone started dancing until there was no more room to dance. I got Paul to dance with me some too. It was a real good time. I felt like I was back in Asheville!! That night when I got back to the Marina I called Trevor and he came out and opened the gate for me so I didn't have to jump the fence again.

The next day I did the same sort of thing. I finished organizing all of the DVDs in alphabetical order and putting them each in sleeves an hung out at the lagoon swimming and playing cribbage, looked for cars, made dinner at the barbeques. I had an early night. Me and Paul decided we would get up early and go to Mackay to see if I can find a good car for sale there and if we have time go camping.

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