Party Time at Bondi
An hour or so later, Gary Higgins and friend Evelyn Dowling, picked us up at the train station near Bondi Beach, famous for Olympic Volleyball. We had a look at the famous bit of sand, and the expensive real estate nearby, and drove to a party at Robert and Reena Van Aalst’s home nearby. Robert is Gary’s solicitor (attorney). Also there were Jason and Judy Lea, owners of Darrel Lea Chocolates, the famous shops found all over Australia. Jason and Judy had lots of questions about how we’d, “…just chucked it all.” Maybe it’s time to pass on them business and go play? John and Ingrid Small and her parents Joe and Ada are long time friends of Robert. John is in real estate and Ingrid teaches music at a private girls school. Joe and Ada (I neglected to get their sir name!), are retired; they were wine merchants. I spend much of my time early in the evening learning as much as possible about Australian wines from Joe and Ada. Joe and I tasted all of the ten or so very fine reds on the table from most of the wine regions of Australia. Reena, with the help of Joe on the barbie, produced a wonderful tea and sweets.
Then the fun began. Out came the accordion and Ingrid played a few spirited numbers followed by Joe who really got the party going with songs covering the scope from Irish to Jewish. Then the dancing began. Robert first, with abandon, and then the great long table was moved aside, and we all joined the dancing. My closest friends in graduate school were Jewish, and knew they had a culture of good food, good wine and dancing. Let me tell you this mob in Sydney put those, much younger, friends to shame! Evelyn had an early day at work the next day, or we would have been there all night. Out in the street it was clear from the decibel level that it would not end any time soon. Thank you Robert and friends.
Gary rode with us for three days north out of town, helping us find quieter coastal roads connected by small ferries. At least one of the days saw the temperature at 42C (107.6F) and it was hard on us. At the top of one hill we found a standpipe and took turns sitting under it, full on, for minutes at a time. I think heat stroke was not far away for all three of us; not only was it hot, but the humidity was about as high as it can get at that temperature. Claire has since got a bad cold and I have had a crook tummy since. Daily rains now keep the temperature from passing 30C, and boy are we relieved.