Once we retire, those who can afford it like to do a little travelling around Australia or around the world to experience things and places which we would not have had time to reach during our working life. With the speed of air travel, Europe, North America or Asia are no more than a day's journey away. Some of our members are lucky enough to visit exotic places or meet exotic people and have shared their experiences with us.
Moby Dick, Whales and Sunny Times
by Ray Israel
Well about 11+ years ago, I sold up my carpet business in Sydney threw a little 7 metre caravan on the back of the Falcon and headed north for a six month break. Little did I know that all this time later I would still be up here living the rural lifestyle, but still waiting for the day when I will return to Sydney to live.
The Hervey Bay-Maryborough Area has a little over 70,000 people between the 2 cities with about 10 known gays (well maybe lets exaggerate and say 20 but the rest are so far into the closet that they are either married or belong to Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party. Of course one can run an ad in the gay papers for a partner, but it's 300km from here to some resemblance of civilisation (for that is what some people call Brisbane). If you are lucky enough to get any replies, they don't want to travel, or think that Hervey Bay is a suburb of Brisbane, or tell you they're 45 but actually mean 65 (why can't people be honest about their age). So here I sit and hope my equipment doesn't stop working before the next Mr Maybe Right comes along!
My home is on 25 beautiful acres. Well they were 25 beautiful ones before the local pyromaniacs called volunteer bushfire fighters turned 10 of them into ashes. My nearest neighbour on one side is 4km up the road, and the other is about 200m away (in other words, clothes are an optional extra). I have just completed an under-house extension of a one bedroom flat for the rellies or visitors. I also have a very large freshwater swimming hole, nice in summer, but bloody freezing in winter.
Our district's chief claim to fame is Fraser Island and the humpback whales. Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world, and contains many great places to see and lots and lots of sand (some of it all different colours and some of it, well, the colour of sand I guess). Day trips are always available and of course there is always Kingfisher Bay Resort at which to stay. It will cost you about $300 for a dinner, bed and breakfast stopover, which I guess for you rich queens is just a night out on the town. But us poor locals have to wait till the specials are on when packages are available for about $160. Of course you will need to allow about $100 more if you want to see any sand (particularly coloured sand). You can also take camping safaris, which include everything except food for about $100 for 3 days. But be warned-its like living on the beach for 3 days-you have sand in your hair, in your food, your bed, your clothes (even up your bloody ass), so if five-star is your scene then don't try this one. It even discourages any sexual activity except on the first night. (It's like having a sandpaper condom and I don't need to say any more than that.)
Around August each year, the migrating whales stop for some R&R in the waters off Hervey Bay, so the locals and visitors can go and watch them swim and play. Of coarse you can do the same by watching your fish tank but big is beautiful (so some would say). For around $50-$70 you can have a day-trip including lunch etc. Not bad eh! I mean where can you go and sail in some little boat, get some nice food and beer into your belly to throw up into the water and watch some dirty great big fish, sorry mammal, slapping its great big tail on the water (Oh, so butch dear!). You can hear prerecorded whales singing to each other (sounds similar to the noises that I make having a tooth pulled at the dentist) while listening to so called intelligent people saying "Ah!", "Oh!", "Great!", "Spondiferous!" and other words that only some seasick people (who would kill to be anywhere else than on a rocking boat) would be most likely to say in the hope that the damn thing will stop rocking if only for a few minutes. Personally give me mine in the fish tank or with chips and salad anytime. Still in the height of the season as many as 500 people per day go out on the boat and what's more as many as 500 return vowing to come back again next year to do it all over again. Bloody fools!
I work part time (19 hours per week) as a project officer for the Queensland Aids Council, doing all sorts of work in the field of HIV/Aids awareness and education. It is very satisfying to me personally having lost the love of my life and 10 1/2 good years together to this dreadful virus. Work that is made much easier by a cooperative approach by Qld Health and the most wonderful staff at the Aids Council in Brisbane who respect the difficulties and needs of an isolationist community in rural Queensland. I am one of 11 RRAP officers and I have been doing the job now for over 1 year.
Apart from that, there is a very small local mixed gay and lesbian coffee night and 10 pin bowling night each month, so not all is lost.
Well that's the scene here in the Sunshine State. If I have inspired any of my fellow MAGs to come north for a visit, or you are passing through on your way up north, there is always a spare bed to be had at a nice quiet rural retreat. I am sure most of you will agree even after only one or two days it's a nice place to visit and, like the whales, anywhere (even Antarctica) is a preferable place to spend the greater part of the year.