Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Shacked Up

Shack  (noun)  \’shak\
1.  a rough cabin
2.  hut
3.  shanty

I was a bit skeptical when Tara & Simon invited us to their country “shack” outside of Adelaide.  Would there be running water?  Electricity?  Horrible country people like the ones from Deliverance?  I can barely handle the deplorable conditions at any given fast food establishment, so the prospects of spending the long Easter weekend in a crudely built cabin miles and miles away from the next nearest gay person were a bit unsettling for me.

Country houses and country shacks are all the rage up and down the Murray River (the continent’s longest) in South Australia.  I agreed to go because I’m an aspiring Australian and I probably needed to have this true blue Aussie experience to earn my Aussie points.  And besides, Australia is all about new experiences and at the end of the day, I’m brave and adventurous and shit like that, right?  Right.

After stopping at the Adelaide Central Markets to stock up on provisions, the six of us piled into two cars and headed east out of Adelaide, over the hills, and into the barren outback.  Actually, it wasn’t really the barren outback, but I’ll say that it was for dramatic emphasis.  It wasn’t long after the paved road ended that we ended up at the “shack”.

Seriously?  This is the shack?  Ok, well, I guess I won’t need the extra rolls of emergency toilet paper I hid away in my luggage and I can resume using my iPhone as I won’t desperately need to conserve the battery.  The shack wasn’t very shacky at all.  It had running water, including hot water and indoor plumbing.  Electricity was courtesy of a series of solar panels and the house consisted of three bedrooms, one and a half bathrooms, and a massive open plan living room, dining room, and kitchen.  A wrap around deck lead to a big patio complete with a BBQ and fire pit.  The word “shack” instills an image of a place where a scruffy Unabomber-type hermit would hide out.  But once we arrived, I realized that this is more like an unassuming place where a Paula Abdul or Lindsay Lohan-type would come to escape the paparazzi that watch their every drug-induced move.  It was pretty nice.

We spent the weekend relaxing, eating, relaxing, and eating some more.  Our manly man Simon chopped up some wood for the fire while the rest of the ladies (and me!) sat around the patio table with beer and wine and some canapés (that’s hors d’oeuvre in Australian).

Me and Tara!

Me and Liz!

Me and Elsbeth and Jo!

Our primitive “shack” had a full kitchen so meals were extensive and delicious.  Breakfast on the patio anyone?  This is my idea of outdoorsy!

Liz and I took dinner duty the first night – making a red pasta napoletana, a white pasta alfredo, and a green pesto pasta – just like the colours of the Italian flag!  We are so super creative!

In the evening, everyone gathered around the fire…

And then Simon did the ritualistic kangaroo mating dance… or something like that…


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