When we were in Byron Bay in the middle of the year (the site of the above photo) we stayed at a park right on The Pass, the surf break on the headlands. A few metres around from our site a group of campers caught my eye. In particular there was a small retro caravan, completely silver and clearly custom built. In the same way that snooker enthusiasts carry their own pool sticks that screw together in the middle and go in cases that only other enthusiasts would recognise, this group of surfers had a surf board rack that stood behind the silver van on which they stacked their boards. I remember thinking it looked like a scene from the "From where you'd rather be" Corona Extra advertisement.
It is our custom, after we are settled, in to wander around the park to 'check out' the scene. At this spot, Saphire Beach, it took longer than usual because we spent the first day trying to clean up and dry out after having to move in the rain. We already had had a couple of polite casual converstaions with people walking past our site. When we did get to wander around I was surpirsed to see a silver retro van just like the one at Byron Bay, parked in a group of four vans in a cirle with a big communal area in the middle. Surely there couldn't be two vans like this. Then I spotted the board rack ... it had to be the same van.
We had already been invited to join the group for a drink, and that became an invitation to join them for their new years eve countdown. So after Maria, Johanna and I dined in the camp kitchen on some superbly cooked scotch fillet and greek salad we picked up our chairs and wandered the 20 metres around some trees to join their circle.
What they hadn't told us was that it was Mexican theme. Everyone (4 couples, one with 3 kids and another with a teenage daughter) was dressed up, fake moustaches, sombreros and they had just finished a full on Mexican feast.
We had a fabulous evening. Apart from the usual banter, the kids (little and big ones) kept us entertained with a pinata, there was lots of joking at the expense of one of the blokes called Wally who was always disappearing - really, and Gavan gave us a tour of his silver retro caravan, complete with passion and pride. Among the story telling, we learned that one couple had been married on the beach at Byron Bay and another at Noosa and the teenager was hoping to make the Commonwealth Games swimming team. The four families camp together regularly, with a common love of surfing and dirt biking (at least the blokes like dirt biking.)
And what were the blokes all drinking, Corona Extra.