Sunday, October 15, 2006

Going Winter For The Summer

I don't like the summer and it doesn't like me. Spring's fine, and autumn is just dandy, but winter is the time of year I really love. Maybe it's just me, but rain and biting cold winds and frost are just the ticket. The moment the temperature gets up to thirty, my body starts sprouting alarming dermotological growths and viridescent sores of eczema, and no amount of lotions and balms and unguents can persuade them to calm down. If you ask me, any Australian who says they like the summer is nuts; how can they feel comfortable in all that heat and sweat and humidity?

We got a taste two days ago of what summer's really going to be like when, for no reason, the capricious weather Gods that reign over Melbourne smote us with a temperature several degrees over thirty. The entire city was sweltering, and out to the bush, fires started sprouting all over the place. It wasn't pretty.

But this summer, I've got a plan. I'm going to take my holidays in February, and go winterwards while the worst excesses of the Australian summer wash over the city. Fuck forty degree-plus temperature, I want snow and ice, baby! My passport came in just today, and I have a couple of thousand dollars saved up in the bank, so I really don't have any excuse. For my first trip to the northern hemisphere, I've got an American trip in mind. There's several things I have in mind, including a Broadway excursion, and possibly visiting a few of my favourite writers, but I think I'll throw the comments box open to my readers. Where do you guys think I should go? I'll even consider travelling to Texas to cream-pie George Bush in the face, if you pay me enough money. Otherwise, I want to keep it fairly low key. Anyway, what do you reckon?

American readers, tell me: why is your country the greatest country in the world? Go on, don't be shy!

UPDATE! Bumped this post to the top - scroll down for my opera review.


deeleea said...

Well, I'm hardly an American reader but I have just today returned from two weeks on their shores and feel a tiny bit qualified to comment.

Of Asheville North Carolina and San Francisco California I have nothing but the highest praise.

The hospitality of the Carolinians and the rustic charm of the mountains was everything a novelist could ask for in the name of research. Home country cooking, never ending cups of coffee and biscuits and gravy (but gravy unlike anything you'd see on a Sunday roast). Biltmore House, home of the Vanderbilts and hostel of many a famous literary figure in its time. The place was all charm. I'd go back in a heart beat. And if it's winter you want you'll not be able to avoid snow there.

San Francisco was very 'Paddington' and a whole different scene. The people are lovely but the pace is a lot faster, the weather more temperate and it felt very similar to a Sydney afternoon...

So I say... 'Go East young man...' And having been to New York as well before, the East Coast of the US really can't be beaten for sheer cultural diversion...

However, I expect you'll have a few Westerner's who may disagree... *grin*

Shelley said...

Oh gods, take me with you! I fled the tropics and now they seemed to have followed me to Sydney.

Is Melbs really that hot in summer cause, for about half a second, I seriously thought it was time to move? [That question mark just looks wrong but it's too hot to think seriously.]

Anonymous said...

Deelea, thanks for that handy advice - though if I were looking for writing material, I don't think I'd be going so much for sweeping countrysides and grand vistas as weird characters, so I'm thinking a trip to the urban areas.

Nails - Come to Melbourne! Come to Melbourne! (etc, etc). Today barely nudged above 20 degrees celsius, and it was the same yesterday. Thursday was a freak event. It gets hot in the summer, but it's bearable, and the heat doesn't stay around for more than a month or two. I think we hit maybe one or two forty degree days last year, not much more.

TimT said...

I've no idea what happened there. Let's try signing in again ...

Caz said...

Go WEST young man, go WEST!

TimT said...

Isn't there, like, a desert there? I want to get away from all the heat!

It would be interesting to visit California, though.

Mish said...

Gah, I'm with you on the anti-summer thing. Thankfully there's a cool change in Sydney now, but most of this week i've been working in 40+ degree heat. No one should have to put up with that! I look forward to Autumn I tell ye.

Anonymous said...

If you want snow and ice why not just go to the Yukon area of Canada eh? Permafrost!

If i were escaping the summer and heading for the snow I would go to the Czech Republic, much cheaper than America and full strength Absinthe not to mention hearty food to warm the cockles of your heart. You would like Prague and cesky krumlov and their winters hit -40 degrees!

America?! I've never been and really have no interest, I have friends in Wichita and Duluth. Duluth is on the border of Minnesota and Wisconsin on the great lakes that border with Canada. I'm told it gets really really cold there. Its nearish to where the movie Fargo was set.

Deadman said...

SAN FRANCISCO!!!! Nor Cal rox, So Cal sux balls!

You come to the City, I'll show you around. You like wine? Napa Valley! I'll be your designated driver. Lemme know when you'll be arriving, mate!!!

TimT said...

Thanks for all the suggestions, folks, keep 'em coming!

Mish - autumn can not come SOON ENOUGH!

Ras - cool suggestions, I'm fascinated by Europe too, but first stop America. I'm sure there's a lot more to it than we hear on the news (I mean, just from the size of it alone) and - well, let's just say it'd be an interesting destination.
And YEAH! Go the Czech republic! (I'm sure Mish will agree!)

Mark - awesome! San Francisco - I'm pencilling it in now. You said something about wine? BRING. IT. ON.! (Hic)

Mish said...

Yeah but the snow is only good for a few weeks, after that everything turns to slush. And it gets to minus 20 degrees C in winter over there - that is something my temperate blood will NEVER forget. Winter is cool and all, but goddamn.

Just go to Tasmania, it's cheaper and at least the apples are nice.

TimT said...

Minus 20 degrees sounds a tad nippy. Reckon those Czechs could share it out a bit? These Australian summers are ridiculous; they need a bit of cooling down.

Cazzie!!! said...

Cream Pie George in the face? Cream Pie is way too good for him I reckon, LOL, waste of nice food.

Anonymous said...

I spent some weeks in Washington DC, some years ago, and it will certainly fulfill your desire for the bitter cold in winter. But for the tourist on a budget, it really has a lot to offer. The Smithsonian museums are all free (as I recall) and if you are a space and aviation freak, you can happily spend 2 days at the Air and Space museum alone. (Longer if you go to the outside part, which I haven't seen.) The monuments are very, well, monumental, but I find something very appealing and vaguely science fiction-y about a city dominated by an obelisk.

That said, of course it is a public service city and as such does not have a very "homely" feeling, just like Canberra, but I think everyone say Georgetown is nice...

I have also had a short visit to Boston, and it is more of a "real" city with lots of historical interest. And cold weather, I am sure.

I went to New York briefly when I was quite young, and at that time found it intimidating. However, this was in 1979, when it actually was more dangerous than it is now. My impression, however, is that it is still a hard city to enjoy a lot without a fair bit of cash to spend on good convenient accommodation. One thing I did find disappointing is that, at street level, the canyon effect of walking amongst tall buildings is pretty much the same in any city, regardless of how high the individual buildings are. It is only from a distance, or from above, that the "grandeur" of such a massive built environment of New York becomes apparent.

TimT said...

Cazzie - to be sure, but I personally prefer apple or apricot pie to cream pie!

Steve - I love big buildings, and the canyon effect they cause. Washington state might be very interesting, for a number of reasons. I think I'm going to have to sit down and write all the things I want to get done and the folks I'd like to visit so, you know, I don't miss out on anything!

Loving all the suggestions, folks!

Anonymous said...

-20....I officially stand corrected
Thats still fucking cold and something my temperate blood probably wouldnt handle judging by the fact it didnt handle -2 weather in Dijon

-40...must have got it mixed up with vladovostock. Still, if you're escaping summer vladovostock would be a good alternative too.

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