Haha! No such luck! No, the title is referring to the lovely seaside town of Woolgoolga, on the mid north coast of NSW – Woopi is what the locals call it. I made it into town after a thankfully dry run down from the Gold Coast – my prayers to the weather god had been answered. All around me are areas in flood crisis, but I managed to escape them – thank you universe!
I love this town! A little history – it has a high population of Indian Sikh’s (from the Punjabi region I believe) who originally settled here after immigrating to the Queensland canefields, then came here to work on the banana plantations. Generations have expanded the population to a thriving community who have added a touch of spice to the lovely beachside ambience.
Saturday saw me visiting the ‘Bollywood Markets’ in a beachside park – complete with lively Bollywood music and colourful stalls. What a hoot! I was thrilled to discover a yoga tent (of course) and committed myself to attending a number of midweek classes. In the hope of inspiring me back into yoga – I have fallen off the rails in the last twelve months, much to my own dismay.
Having practised this ancient art for the past twenty five years, I of all people know the benefits of a regular yoga regime – so why have I not been practising it? Apart from the obvious benefits of strength, flexibility and excellent health, it has also turned me into the most peaceful person – with not an angry bone in my body – something which does frustrate me at times. I just can’t get agro anymore! And there certainly are times when I should! (If you’ve read my book you’ll know when.)
An hour or so was spent just sitting with a book and a ginger beer enjoying the ambience of the markets, before the heat and the surf lured me in for a swim. My first swim of the season – and it’s already February! I came out bedraggled with seaweed, it was stuck to every part of my body. The recent rains had chewed up the seabed and dumped masses of it all along the beaches, along with the most amazing pieces of driftwood that my artist friend would love to get her hands on.
I love swimming at beaches. Springs from spending a childhood regularly staying in a ‘shack’ at Coalcliff on the south coast. I learnt to swim in the seawater pool there, my brothers were lifesavers from a young age, and this has given me an affinity with the sea. And an appreciation of a nice body in a pair of Speedo’s!
My travels around the world have been marked by where I have swam, I try to make a point of taking a dip wherever I go. Might write a whole blog about that – I have swum in some amazing places.
Off to the Sikh temple at the top of the hill. It is Sunday, and the general public can enter. A magnificent architectural statement, I remove my shoes and proceed upstairs, grabbing a headscarf as I go. Not a long flowing number that I can wrap stylishly around my neck and head, just a square not much bigger than a handkerchief! How glamorous I must have looked with this oversized hanky plonked on my head! Ladies to the left, gents to the right – I take my place and sit cross legged on the floor.
The band are playing a rather upbeat chant, with words up on screens for you to follow (in English and Punjabi) – something about their god ravishing the brides while the grooms lay on the bed (???) The head guru (pardon the pun) is seated in a beautifully decorated shrine, his only job appears to be swishing flies with a rather flash looking flyswat. I longed to take a photo, but knew that would be disrespectful.
The song/chant finally came to an end after about ten minutes (and I thought Bat Out Of Hell held the record for the longest song), just as my leg circulation was screaming at me to release it from its cramped position. I made my escape before the next chant commenced – as did some of the band members. Always fascinating being able to witness rituals and ceremonies from other cultures. I felt quite grateful for the opportunity.
A short drive took me to the lookout at the top of a headland.
The water tower has been painted with a fabulous aquatic scene of whales and sea turtles. Apparantly the place is packed during whale watching season – I can see why.