Hailing from the likes of Atlanta, Georgia and Greenville, South Carolina predisposes one to conjuring images of pulled pork, turnip greens, hot mountains, creek beds, and so much more Southern Americana when you hear the word south. Well, I want to talk South, but I’m fresh home from, and newly in love with another South, and it feels rather traitorous. Let’s talk Southern Hemisphere, and South Pacific. Mmmmmmmm.
Never will I not love my deep American roots, but if any place could tempt me to do so, so far it’s Southern Australia. There’s more ocean and pristine shoreline than I can speak of; the air is hot, in late summer (late February/early March), but the solar heat is broken up by refreshing and bustling breezes so it was never uncomfortable. And, after a soak in the cooling soft-foam saltwater (how is the ocean so soft there?) the thermal sand makes a perfect muscle relaxer and sunbed. I confess to tanning way too much while I was there. Zero apologies or regrets either. It was superbly intoxicating to hang out on the North Sydney gold sand beaches with the uber-fit, surf-loving, friendly Australians for a week or so. Everyday, the main question was just, Manly or Palm? Whale, or Bondi? Newport, or Avalon? There are so many BEACHES. Bliss!
Off the beach, eating was more than fabulous due to the fact that most restaurants and cafes were open air and full of lively and amazing looking people (especially the fifty-plus crew! SO FIT. I am more convinced of the ocean’s anti-aging effects now than ever) in their swimsuits or shorts slurping fresh juices, noshing on almost exclusively organic or free range dishes, and leaving with foamy organic Australian milk espressos…bliss! Where are we on this, US?
This South has a lifestyle that, in my eyes, makes even coveted SoCal look like they just haven’t caught up yet. Picture: kids running home from school in their neat little uniforms – barefoot! Lush vegetation beachside, harboring exotic birds – cockatoos and parakeets, that perch on the balcony and let you hand feed them. Opening the wall of glass doors up around dinnertime for the freshest breeze to circulate. The laid-back Aussie vibe is that. Even the birds are cool and friendly. Yeah. I’ve got a thing for you, AUS.