The Christmas break
Working in a community pharmacy = no leave in December. So, while the corporate world is closed and enjoying from the 25th to the 2nd of January, most community pharmacists will be drowning in safety net scripts, diarrhoea relief, travel sickness, etc. etc. Luckily for myself this year, my RDOs and Christmas day lined up well and I have 4 days off in a row without having to ask for leave. This is like a once in a life time situation, I did not want my long weekend to go to waste. After ‘trying’ to organise all sorts of down south plans, I settled for a mini get away at my friend’s mums empty house, which is literally a 2 minute walk to Alkimos beach. It took Himal some convincing but he finally agreed.
Alkimos is only a 60 minute drive from Perth city and a 40 minute drive from our home. It’s like staying home and being away at the same time. Since it was only a short trip, packing was not too hard; a pair of shorts, a pair of jeans, a couple of skirts and tops to go with and NOT TO FORGET the bathers! I did pack a woollen shawl too just in case it got cold-best thing ever. The evenings were cool and windy and you definitely need something warm if you want to go for a walk on the beach in the evenings.
The drive from Landsdale to Alkimos down Mitchell freeway is just the usual, with the train line to the right and bushes to the left, there is not much else to report on. Once you take the Hester Avenue exit (the last exit on the freeway going north) the atmosphere starts to change a tad bit. There seems to be less people, less shops and less buildings around. As we drove down shorehaven boulevard , we could see the distant water meeting the horizon, it slowly starts to feel like we are going somewhere serene and peaceful.
According to Wikipedia, Alkimos is named after the shipwreck of the Greek freighter, Alkimos, which ran aground on the coast nearby in 1963. The ship wreck is visible just a few metres off shore. There is all sorts of strange events and ghost stories related to the wreck. Luckily for us, we didn't experience any of that.
Normally, we don’t do much for Christmas. Christmas day in Perth tends to get extremely hot, when I say hot, I mean above 40 degrees Celsius. We tend to always stay indoors and it’s usually a pretty quiet day. The following day, I am back to work! This year has been different in many ways; I have days off work, Christmas day only got up to a max of 33 degrees and most important of all, we are getting together with friends to enjoy the festive period. It was also my first time opening presents in a group and it was lots of fun, there is so much excitement on seeing what everyone has given and received. It made me realise that not all conversations are lost in the air, people, or should I say friends, do pick on details of what others in the group like and dislike.
Most of the time together with friends was spent chatting, eating, drinking and chilling at the beach and swimming. Perth does not have a shortage of beaches, with a pristine coast line of 70km from Fremantle to Yanchep ( that's not even all the way down to Mandurah), one has endless options to pick from. Sadly enough, in the last 6-7 years, I have probably only swam at the beach thrice, maybe even twice! Now that I am talking about it, I think it’s got to do with holiday mood .When I am in Perth I am not on holiday and I associate swimming at the beach with holidaying. Even though Alkimos is considered to be part of Perth, I was most definitely feeling the down south holiday vibes during our stay.
The last time I swam in the ocean, all together was 2 years ago in Dunsborough when my parents were visiting us. On Christmas day, we went down to the beach and I was expecting the beach to be crowded with lots of people but Alkimos beach is quiet and there was only a handful of people. I guess you could put it down to the fact that it is still a growing suburb and at the same time a fair distance away from the city. As we walked down to the beach for a swim, we could see the deep blue Indian Ocean and hear the beautiful sound of the waves gently sweeping the sand.
There is always fear of the water being too cold, I was trying to walk in slowly and cautiously saving my hair from getting wet until I got hit by a wave. Naturally the fear of the cold water disappeared and I began to enjoy. I could taste and feel the salty water. Floating in the cool waters of the Indian Ocean, jumping along with each wave was the most enjoyable part of the holiday.
Since we spent most of Sunday at the beach, we decided to go back to the beach in the evening to enjoy the sunset. One more thing that I have not done in a very long time. Sunsets are so enchanting to watch. Within a short period of time, the yellow sun changed to shades of orange and red as it slowly blended with the sky before disappearing in to the water.
This was probably one of the only Christmas breaks I have celebrated with friends and also the only time I have actually celebrated the day as Christmas. I always assumed that Christmas is a religious festival and since I am not Christian I do not really celebrate it as such. One of my colleagues at work said to me that her family celebrate Christmas as a tradition thing where friends and family get together rather than a religious festival. And so if I get asked again, do you celebrate Christmas? I might have to just answer Yes I do, I spend it with loved ones building and nurturing relationships
Things to do in Alkimos:
Rent an apartment close to the beach and enjoy the beach vibes
Go for a swim in the crystal clear waters of the Indian ocean
Play cricket or soccer at the beach park
Take a picnic basket and enjoy the sunset
Have a barbecue on the grass area by the beach
Enjoy a drink at Shore cafe- the deconstructed iced coffee and ice chocolate have a different edge to them and are worth trying.
Most of the above things can be done on any other beach. As I mentioned earlier, this beach is a lot less crowded which means you are more likely to get a decent spot and you do not have to go at 6.00 am to book a spot on the grass area.
I hope you all had a lovely Christmas. I am really interested to know about what Christmas means to everyone, regardless of whether you celebrate it for religious reasons or just as a tradition. Tell me all about what you did for Christmas 2017 in the comments section.