last week, when i was in venice, i went to the beach. this little australian needed some sun, some saltwater on her skin and some sand between her toes.
i had a ball. i could have swum for hours, save the self-consciousness of being the ONLY one in the water. no, seriously. the only one.
i also discovered that beach culture in australia is VERY different to beach culture in italy. or venice at least.
the least of which is the idea that the beach in italy is just another public place, where usual-ish levels of decorum, dress, behaviour and economy apply.
in australia, the beach itself is a public space that is extraneous to usual spaces, a public place in which to transcend usual public behaviour, dress, decorum and economy with something more private, or perhaps extra-public. bathing is free, there are no rules or real etiquette about the way you dress/undress, you can get changed on the beach itself if you want and all showers/toilets are free-for-alls. those beach boxes are an anomaly in certain areas only.
shouting and public displays of affection are normal-ish and ball games encouraged. swimming in the water is pretty standard and the quality of the water, even in the skankiest of beaches (i’m looking at you st.kilda, bondi) is still pretty rad-town.
for the first time in a while, i acted like an obvious australian at the beach – changed in toilets, swam in an empty sea, lay on my towel, on the sand, and didn’t pay for anything.
got myself some funny looks too. excellent.