BECAUSE there is nothing more on this planet that a lonely, single, travel writer with a rotten head cold loves more than listening to the couple in the room next door having crazy, monkey sex, I spend my first night in Noosa rummaging through my luggage for ear plugs and with the pillow over my head. The thing we love second best is not being able to locate the off switch for the room light (in this case, it’s in the kitchen which glows like a full moon), so I also grasp for my eye mask. Looking and feeling like Uncle Fester, I head to bed, strangely aroused and annoyed in equal measure, but resolve that tomorrow will be a better day.
And it is. It’s mid winter in Noosa and I’m on a story researching her hidden secrets, or Naked Noosa if you will. It’s also 27 degrees and while the cold and flu tablets I have taken initially prevent my foggy head from finding the Noosa River along which I have happily driven for the past 20 years, I eventually locate this major waterway and my first appointment of the day. I’m on a stand-up paddle board/yoga lesson with Kelly Carthy from Luxe Fitness Escapes who leads me into the mangroves where I lay on the board, sun on my face, birds in my ear, and perform some basic yoga moves, mindful not to roll over and into the river, which is exactly the kind of thing I’d do. Kelly has just launched the business aimed at making fitness fun in some of Noosa’s secret spots.
“As a trainer I’ve always used the outdoors to my advantage. I only train clients near water and places with a great view and it’s about how can I take their mind of it,” Kelly says.
“On the board or on the sand you are having to stabilise and are using all of your muscles and are more aware of what you are doing. I’m huge about empowering women to be in their own body and not be looking at someone else and to be more mindful about what they can do.
“I want them to feel strong and confident and I think there is lots of space to really empower women to feel strong in their bodies and focus on what they can do rather than how they look.”
Kelly tells me I have great core strength which I attribute to the fact I do yoga, and not all the crazy, monkey sex I’m not having, and I spend the rest of the day strutting around like I’m a super model.
I spend the afternoon with award-winning barista Al Claridge from Clandestino Roasters along Hastings Street, learning how to make the perfect drop. Well, I think I’m here to make coffee, but as is so often the case in my job, it’s the person with whom I’m speaking that turns out to be the story. “Kiwi Al” was one of New Zealand’s top 10 surfers but, more interestingly, was involved in a car accident which left him a tetraplegic – unable to use his limbs or torso. Against all odds it took him more than two years to learn to walk again and these days he lives on the Sunshine Coast, happily surfing and making “ethical, sustainable and environmental” coffee.
“I don’t chase the big money, I chase the waves and lifestyle,” Al says.
“If we’ve got a skill we’re not sharing in life, well then that’s selfish. It’s about raising people’s awareness of being.
“A good barista is like a counselor. Life is 100 percent about choice. Now everything I do is done with the fullest and life is a beautiful thing.”
The next day, I go in search of a bloke called Bear. I heard about Bear a few months back and was utterly fascinated by his name, picturing a large knife-wielding hippie who may or may not kill me. I’m totally unprepared for the 69-year-old who turns up in his 4WD and tells me to jump in his truck as we ride the Noosa Ferry to the Noosa North Shore. Bear, as it turns out, is a big teddy bear, who these days spends his time living with his wife Pam on their oceanfront land and searching for a good spot to fish. We explore this quiet side of Noosa and chat about life and love. I ask Bear the secret to his 48 year marriage.
“You need someone who likes the same things. She was a city girl and I brought her out of Brisbane and had to train her my way,” he says.
“You’ve got to deal with the problems as they come up and just be there for each other.
“I haven’t worked out women, I only had to train one. I don’t worry about the rest of them.”
I return to Hastings Street, convinced I am the only person who has ever gone to Noosa and not had a drink, but spent their entire time in the chemist begging for more cold and flu drugs. At one stage, I’m speeding so much on Sudafed that I actually park my car over an entire resort driveway, thus blocking the ability for anyone to enter or exit the resort. But the show must go on and I spend the next few days on a walking tour of the secret side of Noosa National park (where I may or may not have been looking for the nudist beach), learning to sail the Noosa River, watching a Queensland Ballet Performance, talking about Eumundi Body Art and soaking up the sun. Yes, if you’re going to feel rotten, Noosa is the best antidote to any head cold. I drive back to Brisbane on late Sunday, the stories and characters swirling around in my head like latte art, grappling with how to sum up this naked side of Noosa. And, just when I want to give up, worried I can’t find a way to deliver justice to this divine destination, the words of Bear pop into my head: “When all else fails, just keep fishing.”
The Global Goddess travelled as a guest of Tourism Noosa – http://www.visitnoosa.com.au
I’D like to say it’s not every Saturday night I spend laughing at a man’s penis but who am I kidding? It SO is. The only difference is that this time, it’s not one, but two penises (I feel the plural form should be peni?) at which I am chortling. Now, before you think I’ve gone all French on you, it was all work, I swear. And no, I am not supplementing my paltry freelance journalism income for prostitution. Yet. You see, I found myself in the curious position, if you’ll pardon the pun, of reviewing these penises for a story. Well, not exactly their penises, but they did form a rather huge (nudge nudge) part of the show about which I was writing. Yes, on Saturday night, I saw a performance called The Naked Magicians at the Brisbane Powerhouse.
I don’t want to spoil things for everyone who simply must go and see this show, so I’ll just share some of the more unusual highlights, including the set, upon which there’s a blow-up doll, a box suspended in chains, two fans (which prove absolutely hilarious at the finale), a magic curtain, and a table. Magicians Christopher Wayne and Mike Tyler don’t believe in props, and certainly don’t believe in clothes, which are shed throughout the performance.
Yes, it’s R-rated magic at its stunning best but while it’s naughty and a little rude, it’s not crude. The magic is simply superb but what makes this show really sing is the boys’ ability to ad-lib, create comedy and even without the tantalising prospect of their tricky dickies dangling before you, you’d have a fantastic time. There’s also plenty of audience participation, including at the start of the show when a giant pink penis is tossed around the audience with gay abandon (which secretly thrilled the New Farm boys in the front row). I screamed when it hit me in the face, and couldn’t offload that bad boy quick enough.
Naturally, I spent most of the night wondering when it was pants-off time (the boys do start the show fully clothed) and when the proverbial rabbit might get pulled out of the hat. And I was not disappointed. There are no actual penis tricks (this is not Puppetry of the Penis, people) and for the record, I’m still recovering from seeing “the hamburger” from that show anyway. It’s more two all-Aussie blokes, making marvelous magic, in the best way they know how. Naked. Or as they say: “Good magicians don’t need sleeves and great magicians don’t need pants”.
How the boys actually hatched the idea to create a magic show that they would perform naked is beyond me, but you can bet your bottom (wink wink) dollar, that every woman and gay man in the audience will now be expecting far more in bedrooms around Australia. As if we didn’t expect enough already. Yes, unless you can read my mind like these boys can, don’t call me, I’ll call you. Oh yeah, and there’s a fabulous phone trick too. The Naked Magicians, the best fun I’ve had in ages… with my pants on.
The Global Goddess was a guest of The Brisbane Powerhouse. The Naked Magicians is running until June 29 before heading to regional Queensland and on to Las Vegas. http://www.brisbanepowerhouse.org