I woke this morning to the power going off - the absence of sound where the overhead fan should've been whirring about. It was around 6:30 and still cool, but in the short amount of time it took for me to get up groggily, walk to the breaker switches to check them, then go outside to stretch, it was already getting hot. If the power didn't come back on soon enough, it would be sweltering inside. Outside the sun was making its slow arc across the sky from the east, up through the rubber trees behind the wall I hate so much, and would loop as it always did to the west to set later that afternoon. I decided to go to the beach early and take the day 'off' from work concerns.
I packed my bag with a notepad, a pen, my wallet, phone, headphones and a bottle of water, the usual kit I bring with me when I head off on the bike. In the bike tray was the towel I kept in there for the beach. I left around 8:30, the sun certainly doing its job, heating the air around it and reflecting the heat off the ground oppressively. Kay pulled out from his carport as I turned the corner, Michael, his German friend (who I thought was Swedish until later this evening) jumping into the passenger seat. Kay rolled his window down and looked at me.
"Use the bike path!" he says in his mock German-English accent reserved for when he's making fun of other people and their quirks. "I'm dropping him off to pick up his bike." He nods across to Michael, who's closed the door and is putting on his seatbelt. "And I'm making pizza tonight; so come around 5 or 6."
I tell him that sounds great and I'll see him around 5, and that I'm heading off to the beach. We chat about the power being out and then he leaves a light trail of red dust behind him as he leaves the construction site. I follow closely at first, not realising how slow cars go on this uneven dirt road, until he reaches the more defined dirt trail and literally leaves me in the dust. I notice now that my front tyre is flat, the edges of the wheel pushing out from the spoke, and connect my trouble picking up speed on the slight incline with it. I'll need to pump it up tomorrow, I tell myself.
I get to beach slowly, going by a cafe I see on the way there first to see if it's open. It was, but I couldn't see anyone, so I decide to just loop back and investigate closer. Again, nothing, so I follow the path back to a T-intersection I've never been down and think that now's a good day as any to go down it. It's a narrow residential street, with several small shop fronts littering their frontage. Iced coffee, lunch, a mini-mart, tyres and batteries, there's a huge variety of shops down here. I peddle onwards, curious about what's ahead. I reach the turn off to go to the shooting range - I'd like to go at some point - and continue on. There's a military building ahead of me and on my right-hand side with, curiously enough, small cartoon military statues looking cheerful with their big eyes and oversized bobbleheads. It looks incredibly out of place. Up ahead I find a small public gymnasium with exercise equipment and lots of kids having a go. I only go a little bit further before heading back, deciding that I'll continue on to the beach.
I get to One Beach around 9:15 and there's no other guests. No music either and it's nice and tranquil. A server comes over and I order some food and an iced coffee. The tide is far out today, further out than I've ever seen it and it's meant to be on the high side in the morning, so I'm confused as to what's going on. I read my book for a few hours while I eat and drink, ordering a beer around 11 and the tide still hasn't come up all that much. I've no idea why, but this struck me as so strange... that water could be metres away from where it usually is at this same time every day and there being no real discernible difference to me. I go for a dip and take a sun lounger, reading again for another 30 minutes, then decide to come home. It's mid-afternoon and I'm relaxed, the day has been lovely, and the power is back on.
Kay comes to tell me that he'll need a capsicum if I have any fresh ones left, and reminds me of pizza at 5-ish; I nod and say I'll be there for pizza and some beers with him and Michael.