Bairnsdale is a small town. I didn’t mind it much, though it has its oddities. I suppose places without droogs on the prowl have Milk Bars, but I really liked how one of Bairnsdale’s (I saw two) had a sign twice as big as the name of the place saying “We Sell Milk.” Just so you didn’t think there was anything tricksy about the name.
After our first session one of the librarians took me out for a little drive down to Paynesville. That is not a cacophemism, but a retirement village for yachters.
I didn’t realize how close we are to the ocean here, but Gippsland has a bunch of lakes that are just barely separated from the ocean (I suppose it’s technically a strait of some kind between Victoria and Tasmania maybe – I don’t have a map accessible while I’m offline typing this) by a forested sandbar. The librarian said they used to be freshwater but when an opening was created to the sea it turned everything a bit more brackish throughout the floodplain.
In Paynesville they’ve dug out canals through the poshest residential areas so that everyone can have backyard access to their boats. It was nicer than I expected, thinking of Dexter episodes (that takes place in some grubby part of Florida with those kinds of things right?).
We drove back into Bairnsdale as the sun was setting and the sky was just huge. I do kind of feel a bit of prairie nostalgia when I see a big sunset like that. Though the gum trees made different enough silhouettes to keep it foreign.
One of the librarians has a thirty-year-old nephew who’s going to Estonia on his first trip out of Australia next month. I think Estonia is an awesome first foreign country to visit. Way better than for him to just go to Canada or something boring and safe. She says her nephew’s bringing too much luggage. This came about because today I brought my bag to the library with me so I could go straight to the train station after we finished up our session.
I realized the other day that by the time we leave Australia I’ll have lived in Sydney longer than in Vancouver (and Holly’s going to live in three foreign-to-her countries between this June and next). I’d thought before coming here that I’d identify Vancouver as home when asked, but I tend to tell people I live in Vancouver and am from a place they haven’t heard of. I don’t have a depth of knowledge about Vancouver to pass on to curious people. And while my Winnipeg knowledge isn’t particularly deep it’s still an easier place to tell stories of and make it sound exotic.