Happy Beachday!

Since arriving in Adelaide, I’d been watching the forecast closely, at least twice a day – a habit I’d long ago dispensed with (it’s always hot in Bali). Temperatures were climbing – more like slowly inching up towards double digits – that started with a 2. And so, when I saw that yesterday’s temps might perhaps crest beyond 20 degrees (C not F!), my well-chilled body was more than ready to thaw, expose itself to bright rays of hot-shine. With high hopes, I headed for the sea – Adelaide’s palindromic beach destination of Glenelg.

As I alighted from the city bus, dressed (still) in woolies, puffy jacket, scarf and gloves, I suddenly felt overdressed. Not only because I saw men dressed in shorts and singlets. But because I could finally, truly, sniff out some heat.

For the better part of the day, I walked along the (spotless!) sandy beach; sunk my feet into the freezing waters, chatted with locals and petted wet ‘n furry dogs that came barreling towards me. A few bold kayakers and one lone sailor braved the slightly choppy waters while crossing the bay, while Virgin and Tiger Air jets glided low towards their landing a short distance away. Seagulls. magpies and a magnificent pelican with outstretched wings soared, dove  to water’s edge and lifted wings as if levitating by thermals.

I stopped to glance around, watched people strolling by, bundled up against the wind, kids cycling, a group of joggers, a group of Harley bikers. Then I thought of long stretches of beaches like this one, but ‘up over’ – all around the Caribbean and Florida, that had been (and were still getting) pummeled by Irma. I’d seen the NYT drone video, entire communities and beaches of southern Florida completely deserted, transformed into ghost towns. What a difference a change in hemisphere makes.

Poking my head into dozens of eateries around the touristy town, only one place softly called my name: Moseley enticed me, with its cushy loungers, sofas, armchairs, throw pillows – and a fireplace to toast my toes. A bowl of colorful greens and a flat white with almond milk warmed me up, after which I curled up with a book for two hours, before hopping on another bus for the ride back to town.

It might not have been the very first time I spent 9/10 on a beach. But as I picked up a purple shell and pressed my toes ever deeper into fine granules, I promised myself to spend more birthdays like this one, on a stretch of soft sand, listening to Pharell Williams’ Happy. May it be so, amen!

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