Tuesday, August 11, 2009

"So you are here on holiday."

Michele: This is the typical greeting that we get in shops once they hear our American accents. Mission Beach is a tourist mecca, but in a not so bad way. The Lonely Planet says of Mission Beach:
"This area has to be one of the most stunning and relaxed places of the whole of North Queensland."
Mission beach is off of the main Highway so this keeps some tourists away and it doesn't have the night life and accomodation choices of Cairns. Most of the tourists I notice are caravaners parked along the beaches and backpackers waiting at the bus stop, which hosts a Cassowary statute of typical Australian tourist statue size. This time of year is also the height of the tourist season as schools in the other states have been on term break and the weather here is not yet hot. Our neighbors who run the local sea kayaking company have been amazingly busy. I can see why the shop keepers make the assumption that with an American accent I must be breezing through on a 10-day Tour D'Australia. Probably I also still have a slightly mystified look on my face every time I go into a shop and try to find the items I seek. So I find it amusing that the bike shop owner in Tully has three times asked me where I'm from and wished me a good holiday.

However, we recently discovered a means of bypassing the "So you are here on holiday." conversation and jumping right to the "Welcome to Mission Beach" conversation. No, I didn't assume an aussie accent- my aussie-speak is atrocious. The solution? Kids in school uniform. Gavin and I picked the kids up from school one day to get set up with public library cards. When I phoned beforehand, I learned that the library has a policy of charging $50 if you don't have two forms of ID with your Mission Beach area address. Well, it turns out that if you show up with uniformed children, they don't get quite so fussy. After the library we tried our new trick out at the bakery. Sure enough, with uniformed kids in tow the baker was chatty and welcomed us and inquired into all sorts of personal details. Very different discourse than when I bought a lemon slice the previous day.

The tricky part of the "So you are here on holiday." conversation is how to respond. My favorite response so far is "This is a beautiful place to live, don't you think?"

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