Seda: Still holding our reservations about a warm Christmas Day, we arrived at Eimeo Beach in Mackay, Queensland. We weren’t sure if there would be anyone there because the streets were all very quiet. As we parked up and walked towards the beach though, the view was quite different…
Wow, so crowded! Happy jolly reggae music playing somewhere and people enjoying the sun, the sea and drinks. The lengths some went to have a good celebration day was quite impressive; Christmas trees brought over, barbecues, tables, chairs, even the comfy wicker sofa group!
We put our modest towels and rucksack down and headed for the sea. Although Santa was in charge of the beach, these lovely life guard ladies were helping him.
Andy didn’t want Santa to bring him lobster skin and stuck with swimming in his T-shirt. I was taking photos of all this unusual scenes around me and starting to regret not bringing a bottle of wine!
The two guys near us were hanging on their paddle board and enjoying their beers in their Christmasy attire! We approached and said to them how strange it was for us to see Christmas celebrated this way. We started chatting, in the sea, over a beer! They asked how we would have celebrated back home and we told them about the mulled wine, cosy jumpers, scarves and gloves.
Andy: I mentioned that I couldn’t believe some of people bringing their garden furniture to the beach and the guy said “yeah that’s us.” Good job I wasn’t making fun, but actually thought it was awesome. It turns out the guy lived just across the road from the beach, and so probably does the same thing every year. Who could blame him really!
Seda: I asked their permission to take some photos of these really nice people. Christmas has no religious meaning for me but it’s simply a jolly good excuse to have a bright colourful celebration. I like the community feel, families, friends getting together, even strangers wishing each other a merry Christmas. As we came out of water and dried off a bit, barbecues were going and lovely smells were making us hungry.
As we started packing to leave, one of the guys from the sea (the one with wicker sofas) came over and asked if we would like join them. He said they had plenty of food, enough for everyone and it was their family tradition to invite people to share.
We were very touched but told them how we were looking forward to our first barbecue and had food waiting at home. I couldn’t get over how nice these people are to offer to share their food with strangers. Isn’t this what this celebration all about?!
Andy: It was just the two of us of course. We weren’t in our house, but we had a barbecue at our disposal, loads of food, wine and heightened spirits. Normally back home in the UK we would have my parents over for Christmas dinner along with Seda’s mum flying in from Turkey for the holidays. All we kept saying to each other was “This is so weird it being so hot on Christmas Day!”
Seda: Andy has already been converted to a gas barbecue-er! He thinks it’s great, much to his dad’s dismay. Whilst I prepared the salad, Andy started cooking the prawns. It’s an Australian thing you see that if you happen to be here on Christmas day, you have to have prawns on barbecue otherwise you face deportation! So we did and they were nice but -between us- we didn’t think they were that amazing. Sssshhh!
After we finished our dinner and pudding, we played miniature monopoly which was ridiculously small and even though we thought we’d see Australian Street names on it, they were the good old London locations.
I, of course, smashed it and had Andy begging for a loan to pay the rent to me. I took all his tiny money and built more tiny houses with it. Before you know it I was the owner of a tiny empire!
As the evening arrived, England was waking up to a cold Christmas Day of 3 degrees. We spoke to Andy’s mum and dad and later to his brother. All messages coming from our friends back in the UK we’re saying how cold it was. We could almost hear our frozen friends wishing us endless joy in the sun?!?!
Andy: Well their wishes have been granted as Santa brought us loads and loads of rain that evening along with a very violent electrical storm. One of the worst I’ve ever seen and heard. The following 3 days it continued on and off causing road closures and floods in this local area. Hohoho!
From both of us: It’s New Year’s Eve! Here’s a toast for 2020…Cheers! Our best wishes for a wonderful New Year!