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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

My own strange…ah, unique…honeymoon




In the front of my Wedding Planners book, you’ll see a rather generic description of my own honeymoon. We were very poor and couldn’t afford the traditional Australian honeymooners’ flight destinations, like the Great Barrier Reef or Fiji. So we decided to drive around some of our state, and discover it…and my mother’s cousin came up trumps also, offering us her secluded beach house at Broadwater National Park. “There’s only one other house for miles,” she said. “Please visit them to say hello, they’re friends of the twins (my cousins).”

That really excited us. We’d combine the two ideas, since my husband was quite keen on going to “Thunderbolt country” – an area where Captain Thunderbolt, “the gentleman bushranger” (or highwayman) reigned supreme for many years. We’d do a half and half: 5 days in the country; 5 days by the beach.

We did the interior first. We drove inland through Tamworth, Australia’s country music capital, to Thunderbolt country. We hid behind Thunderbolt’s Rock where he often hid before holding up stage coaches. Thunderbolt was famous for stealing from the rich, and never from poor, the elderly or women; if he found women in the coach he would bow and retire. Thus his nickname, “The Gentleman Bushranger”. We saw his statue (see picture). We visited the country town of Uralla where he lived and died. His wife Mary-Anne was a local Aboriginal woman. We saw waterfalls in the area, went to museums and learned the history…and we went to Thunderbolt’s Grave (see other picture). Not quite romantic, but we still love exploring cemeteries…
We thoroughly enjoyed that time, and drove to the coast for our beachside honeymoon. This was where the real romance would begin…

Uh-huh. I should have known better! I'm not nicknamed "Anne of Green Gables" for my propensity to disastrous and funny incidents for nothing...

The cottage was gorgeous. Very small, fairly rustic, but it was surrounded by bushland, and the path to the ocean was right outside. 180 degree views of the ocean!
We decided to visit the neighbours straight away. Now I really should have known that friends of my cousins would be unorthodox…my cousins were teaching in Nicaragua during the war, and both had their own personal assault rifles. Uh-huh. But me being me, I went all blithely to the next cottage to say hi, my husband in tow.

The residents were sitting around the verandah, chatting, drinking, just like any other people – except they were all naked. There was a woman showering on the verandah. She smiled at us and said, “Hey, you’re the honeymooners, welcome! Come and eat with us!”

We didn’t quite know where to look. So we said, um, thanks, but we’re going for a walk on the beach. We decided the town didn’t look too far off. We went down the path to walk into town for lunch. We passed some more people – a mother and father playing with their kids. Yup, all naked. We smiled at them – the shock was kinda worn off for us (I had a very protected upbringing) – and kept walking.

And walking…and walking.

14 kilometres later (I think that’s about 9 miles), lunch come and gone, sunburned and grumpy, we reached the town, got fish and chips at the third store (the other two had shut, it being a small town and the lunch trade being over), had a drink at the pub (publican very nicely pointed out a place to get after sun care – I was a lobster by then). Then we decided no way could we walk back. So it was time for another new adventure for us…we hitched a ride. We only had to try for about 3 minutes before a very nice family picked us up – yup, the family we’d seen on the beach. They were lovely and friendly, and smiling their understanding about our coming so far. We chatted away, very grateful to them – but it’s an odd feeling talking to complete strangers you’ve seen naked. Can’t quite describe it, really.

But we had the same feeling again and again throughout the rest of our honeymoon as the people next door dropped in for sugar or conversation – still naked. After 4 days we decided that, as nice as everyone was, we needed to see clothed people again, and left to return home. I can’t quite describe the relief of seeing everyone dressed again. I had thought myself rather free until then. Guess at 21 I just wasn’t quite ready for that level of uninhibitedness (still not, either).

Has anyone else had unusual honeymoon experiences? I’d love to hear them…best, most unique one receives a copy of The Bridegroom’s Secret (or one of my backlist if you already have this).

Melissa

23 Comments:

Blogger Gail Fuller said...

Naked families!? Naked relatives with guns?!? OMGosh! So, instead of, 'I see dead people,' it was 'I see naked people.' LOL! I bet that ocean view was amazing. Great bit about 'The Gentleman Bushranger.' :)

No crazy honeymoon stories here. We toured Ireland (hit all the high spots - Skelleg, Aran Isle, the Guinness Distillery *g*), had fabulous weather and experienced absolutely no mishaps. Well, except for the ringworm that appeared on my foot, a gift from the cute kittens we had recently adopted. :)

September 3, 2008 at 9:56 AM  
Blogger Janet said...

"Has anyone else had unusual honeymoon experiences?"

I don't think anyone could beat yours. Hilarious!

September 3, 2008 at 11:01 AM  
Blogger Julie Hilton Steele said...

Can't beat naked strangers but we did have an interesting honeymoon. We were only 19 and 22, couldn't afford much so drove from DC to Williamsburg, Va for four days. Does it count as unusual if the maid bangs on your door and tells you you have been in your room too much and she has to get in there and clean SOMETIME!? Does it count if you were the ONLY couple in the hotel dining room where the "show tuners" (a trio of an older man playing piano, a young man and woman do broadway tunes you were too young to know but did enjoy) when a group of Japanese tourists come through that big almost empty room and start snapping pictures of the Showtuners AND you watching said performers...totally ruining the love song they were singing to us because we told them we were honeymooning? Probably doesn't count that the very first time I ever heard my husband cuss was when we went to Busch Gardens and got on the newly built loch ness monster. I had my eyes closed, we reached the top of the first rise and my beloved let out a big four letter word, I opened my eyes just as we plunged....and stayed bugeyed the rest of the time. Did I know that my husband of two days cussed (yes, young and innocent, that I was)????

Nah, naked people tops it..and bottoms it for that matter.

Peace, Julie

September 3, 2008 at 2:43 PM  
Blogger Melissa James said...

Thanks, Janet!

Gail, we just did the Guinness factory in April - I'll never touch the stuff again. Migraine for 12 hours...:-D

Melissa

September 3, 2008 at 2:46 PM  
Blogger Melissa James said...

Thanks, Janet!

Gail, we just did the Guinness factory in April - I'll never touch the stuff again. Migraine for 12 hours...:-D

Melissa

September 3, 2008 at 2:47 PM  
Blogger Melissa James said...

Classic, Julie! Very cute, good memories...I could tell you about the first time my husband...

Nah, you don't want to know! ;-)))

Melissa

September 3, 2008 at 2:56 PM  
Blogger Linda Goodnight said...

Melissa, this is too funny. All these naked people crack me up, pun intended!

LOL

September 3, 2008 at 3:57 PM  
Blogger Gail Fuller said...

What? Guinness, the nectar of the gods, gave you a migraine? No way. It must have been something you ate. *g*

September 3, 2008 at 7:56 PM  
Blogger Brandy said...

Oh, my. Was it like a Nudist's beach? I would have been SO shocked. I have nothing that can top that. The day were married I sat outside chatting with family who had traveled for our wedding. It was overcast and we barely saw the sun. Unfortunately the sun saw me! I ended up sunburnt bright red. My honeymoon was spent with hubs rubbing aloe vera on my skin! Naked people everywhere top that! *G*

September 3, 2008 at 8:42 PM  
Blogger Melissa James said...

I'm not sure it's a crown I wish to wear...Weirdest Honeymoon Ever - but I'll take it. ;-)))

I was rubbing the aloe in too, Brandy, after that long walk. It's an isolated beach rather than a nudists' one, and there's a few hippie - um, alternative lifestyle - areas nearby.

Melissa

September 3, 2008 at 10:02 PM  
Blogger Melissa James said...

Sadly, no, Gail - it's the Guinness. On a near-empty stomach - and combine that with menopause and you have my recipe for disaster. I'm currently off coffee, chocolate (aaack!) and alcohol...

Melissa

September 3, 2008 at 10:05 PM  
Blogger Dana said...

Melissa,
I have a pre-wedding story, as my hubby and I were too poor to afford a honeymoon…
Ten years ago, I arrived in Australia early on Christmas morning after a harrowing three days travelling to get here (Bloomington, Illinois to St. Louis, Missouri to LA, California to Osaka, Japan to Singapore to Cains Queensland to Sydney!). Once here my fiancé graciously allowed me to shower before meeting his whole family…a large Irish Catholic clan! I should say, that was his whole family sans his mum…after meeting the Irish clan, he drove me up the coast from Sydney to Byron Bay to meet his mum. We arrived after midnight, had a few short hours of sleep and his mum woke us up early to celebrate Boxing Day. She wanted to exchanged Christmas gifts and get to the beach before the crowds arrived…
We exchanged gifts and to my utter dismay and horror my mum-to-be gifted me with a teeny weeny black bikini…did I mention that I’m…uh…quite buxom? In order not to offend my future mum, I wore the damned thing. When we arrived at the beach, I got quite a few looks…actually, I was feeling quite pleased-I didn’t look half bad. My perfectly curled hair was blowing in the breeze. I was tanned, young and filling out my new suit in all the right places. (I just did my best not to bend over and pick up shells!—I did mention that I’m quite buxom, right?)
The beach was quickly filling up with sunbathers and beach-goers. It was getting hot, so I ventured into knee-deep water. My fiancé was wading out to meet me. A few feet from me, his eyes rounded and he started to speak. But before he got the words out, a wave smacked in to the back of me, knocking me under. I regained my feet only to find I lost my top! Horrified, I vainly tried to cover myself with an arm. Crouching down I searched the water for my top. My fiancé, coming to help, struggled to contain his laughter. I was starting to see the funny side of things when, I heard his gasp and expletive…he grabbed my hand as another wave hit me. This time, holding on to his hand, I tumbled head over heels, coming up not only without my top, but without my bottoms, as well. I didn’t crouch down. I didn’t move. I stood there doused like a wet cat, wet hair plastered to my face, in my birthday suit. On the shore I was getting a round of applause…my mother-in-law leading the audience.
Graciously, my fiancé took his shirt off and covered me.
The good part is: I never had to wear the teeny weeny black bikini again...and it proved that I was truly 'head-over-heels' in love with my husband and I knew through it all-he'd always be there, holding my hand. Dana

September 4, 2008 at 1:07 AM  
Blogger Melissa James said...

Oh my goodness, Dana!!! That's, um, yeah...wow. If nobody else comes up with quite that gem, take your pick of The Bridegroom's Secret or any of my backlist I have here (sorry, left many behind in Australia but have all my HR titles).

Melissa

September 4, 2008 at 1:22 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Dana, that story is priceless! It so deserves the prize. :)

September 4, 2008 at 2:06 AM  
Blogger Melissa James said...

Definitely priceless, Rachel...I lost my top at Coogee beach - or was it Bundeena? - once but it can't have been too bad because it's just a vague blur in my memory. :-)))

Melissa

September 4, 2008 at 2:09 AM  
Blogger Gail Fuller said...

>I'm currently off coffee, chocolate (aaack!) and alcohol...

Oh, you poor thing! That's just wrong.

Dana! What a riot! LOL! Hey, isn't it great to know you have a fabulous guy, ... and a body worthy of applause? *g* Congratulations! :)

September 4, 2008 at 2:56 AM  
Blogger Melissa James said...

Yes, I think it's time...Dana wins the book! Of your choice, Dana - and if anyone else comes up with a pearler of a story like that, they can have a book just because I said so. ;-))))

Melissa

September 4, 2008 at 3:57 AM  
Blogger Dana said...

Thank you everyone! I'm glad my embarrassment won something other than laughs! Gail I wish my body (after two babies) was still worth applauding, but thank you for the kindness. Melissa, I'm really looking forward to the Bridegroom's Secret. Again, thank you.

September 4, 2008 at 4:44 AM  
Blogger Julie Hilton Steele said...

You know, some times you are really glad when you don't win a contest:-) Dana, you are going to love The Bridegroom's Secret. And I am glad I haven't ever experienced what the two of you have. It is bad enough having those "showing up naked to class" dreams that everyone has when they are stressed.

Peace, Julie

September 4, 2008 at 5:32 AM  
Blogger Gail Fuller said...

Congrats, Dana! Woo hoo! I'm happy to report that I nabbed my own copy of The Brideroom's Secret this morning! Yay! :)

September 4, 2008 at 10:01 AM  
Blogger Melissa James said...

:-D Now I'm grinning...thanks, Gail! Hope you enjoy it as much as Julie did...after the first five excellent books, it has a lot to live up to.

Melissa

September 4, 2008 at 10:33 AM  
Blogger Gail Fuller said...

Melissa, I'm sure it will be great. I just bought Susan's book last week and was glad they still had one on the shelf. :)

September 4, 2008 at 11:04 AM  
Blogger Eleni Konstantine said...

Melissa - what a fab honeymoon story. But Dana - OMG! that story is priceless, definitely deserving of the prize!

September 6, 2008 at 12:44 AM  

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