The Mighty Gong

There is a coastal town two hours North and East of Goulburn named Wollongong. To get to sea level, the always capable Penina had to navigate our large passenger van down a fairly treacherous cliff with switchbacks and the whole bit. I was disappointed to leave the free internet at the Best Western in Goulburn, but the weather in the Mighty Gong (as some of us have been referring to it with much amusement (and by some of us I mean mostly me and sometimes Penina)(and by amusement I mean mostly mine)) is fabulous with blue skies and rolling ocean waves.

We had just enough time to leave our bags at the hotel (ocean view thank you very much) and get over to UOW (University of Wollongong) where Katherine, Kay, and I were slated to do a masterclass. Being that it was a class full of singers, Katherine really led the class (however, true to form, I chastised one singer for not standing up straight - hmmmm anyone hear that before?) The kids were great, followed by a lovely lunch with Alexi (Public Affairs Officer for Sydney) and Lotte (vocal instructor) and a stroll up to tonight's venue which was through the Wollongong Botanic Gardens.

Those of us doing the morning's masterclass begged out of this afternoon's masterclass and enabled ourselves time to check into the hotel and make a beeline for the beach! This view of the Atlantic makes it easy to see why so many artists paint the sea: the colors; the motion; the texture. Being surrounded by such an expanse of it makes me wonder if anyone ever really does it justice.

Although the water is quite chilly, even as I write this from my balcony (!) there are surfers and swimmers. A casual stroll on the beach reveals the washed up carcasses of Blue Bottle Jellyfish which, from our understanding, are not deadly but are excruciatingly painful (one story recounted from Bill Bryson was of a man who was screaming even while unconscious from the pain.) We stepped gingerly around them and remarked that people would even want to risk going in at all. The surfers were even more fascinating because I had never really seen any up close. They looked like the boards were slippery pumpkin seeds that the ocean was trying to hold onto but couldn't without loosing grip and popping them up.

My plan for tomorrow morning includes waking up to see the sunrise from my balcony - I can sleep three days from now when I'm on the plane!