After our nap yesterday, we realized that the Newcastle Knights were playing the Canberra Raiders in rugby league that evening, and we felt pretty good and recovered enough from the passage to go out.Â Andy bought tickets online, and we set off.
First, we went to the Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club for an adult beverage.Â It’s a very nice place, and chock full of local boaters.Â Andy and I were eavesdropping on the conversation going on at the table behind us.Â They were in a heated discussion about the Gold Coast and how it is culture-free.Â We hear this a lot, and of course, the same criticisms are frequently made about the United States.Â And I think it’s all pretty harsh.Â I mean think about it … places like Sydney and Los Angeles are just never going to be Rome or Istanbul, but that doesn’t mean that they’re culture-free.Â
In a way, Australia has a much better excuse than the United States.Â Captain Cook and the Endeavor landed in 1770, but the First Fleet didn’t arrive until 1788, and that was for the penal colony.Â Plus, Australia is far more remote than the U.S., especially by the standards of early days.Â And, exploration and travel across Australia was far harsher than the experiences of American settlers moving west.Â To this day, large parts of Australia are still uninhabitable even with technological advances.Â
My point is that I think Australia has evolved into a very distinct culture given its youth as a society and its many geographical and topographical challenges.Â As we further eavesdropped, one guy tried to make the point that China has no real culture either, just a long-standing civilization.Â I still haven’t figured out what that craziness actually meant or what it has to do with Gold Coast, but I thought it was pretty amusing.Â Â Â Â Â
We then went next door to have a bite at the local restaurant which happens to be one of the best in Newcastle, and it was really good.Â We hopped into a taxi and headed out to the ground.Â I immediately realized that I was going to be too cold, so we swung by the team shop and I instantly became a Newcastle Knights super fan by double bill-boarding with hat and scarf.Â After a convincing Knights victory, we cabbed it home, had dessert and decaf at the local, and went to bed.Â Tomorrow we’ll rent a car and head out to the Hunter Valley wine country.