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This picture was taken at 6:34am. 6 minutes before the following video (Youtube link below). Do you see that yellow painted wall with pictures of fish on it? When I ran for the seagulls I went past that wall, and as you can see there is this big hill and rocks behind. And just as I got pinned in that corner–SUDDENLY–the seawaves decided to swell and reach for me!
This was taken minutes after I got down to Port Kembla beach. I was all alone and I decided to mess with the seagulls. As soon as I had shooed them to the other corner I found myself pinned between the sea and the rocks/hill behind me. And as soon as I noticed this the sea decided to come on to me with a fresh roaring swell.
Needless to say I was scared. I barely escaped getting soaked by climbing on to a rock behind me. Luckily, the waters did not keep swelling…
I am very happy about <This video> shot on Sunday morning at Port Kembla beach. This post, then, is mostly about Port Kembla’s main beach, which is not the same as the beach facing the industrial side. The main beach is sort of on the other end of the town and luckily it is also about 10 minute walk from the house where I lived. This post will have pictures that are personal and therefore this post will be password protected.
So, talking of the house I lived in, I would like to thank my host/friend for making my stay in Port Kembla such a relaxed experience and also for driving me around the region. While I am on the subject, I would like to post a couple of pictures of the room where I stayed. These pictures were taken pretty much as soon as I arrived in Port Kembla after whole day spent exploring main spots in Sydney: (Pictures of room were taken on 21st of August, Thursday at 6:58pm)
The room was clean and nice. The bed was comfortable. Look outside the window, it is completely dark.
I like the Australian flags in the room. It is not something I used to having lived in New Zealand for over 12 years. The only flags they display are those of their Rugby team!…..
Picture of Port Kembla main street taken on 22nd August (Friday) at 9:21am. Can you notice the Australian flags on either side of the road?
Well….that reminds me that some of the most precious pictures of the trip for me are when I was alone. ALL of my Port Kembla beach pictures and videos are when I was absolutely alone. I got there on foot… about 15 minute walk. Below, I would also like to post more, rather quotidian, pictures on Port Kembla street close to industrial area that I took on my solitary morning walk. I like them because they remind me that I was absolutely alone just walking the unknown streets of an unknown little town in Illawara, New South Wales….
I took a solitary walk on the morning of 23rd August (Saturday) because I wanted to see the Port Kembla train station where I needed to catch the train on Monday to take me back to Sydney airport for my flight back to Brisbane. The train station is only a 10 minute easy walk from the house where I lived. But Rajiv being Rajiv, I got lost and ended up on this big road leading towards the industrial area: (I loved getting lost by the way)
Picture taken at 6:58am on 23rd August. I think you’re used to the smokey chimneys in the background of almost every picture of Port Kembla!
And… I walked past this “Falcones Bread” factory. These cars belong to the weekend shift workers at the factory. Since Port Kembla is such a small town I wonder if all the bread in the town comes from this place?… Hmm…
Finally I found the train station. In this picture (taken about 7:15am) I am walking towards the train station. It’s to the left and a train is partially visible. However, what I did not expect was the sea nearby. I was delighted to have wandered towards a seashore that I didn’t even know was there. As I neared the station the sea got bigger and its sounds became audible.
And while I am on the subject of trains, the next day, Sunday, I got to be on the train for the very first time in my life. (Yes, I’ve been on the train maybe 2 times in my life 20 years ago in the old country but that barely counts!). I took a train to Wollongong. And I was very lucky to have all the carriage to myself. So I will end this post with a picture of the train ride and by giving you a link to my first ever train ride!
Got the whole car to myself and am absolutely alone. My friend put me on this train for “Practice Run” and drove to Wollongong to meet me at Wollongong train station!
So this TRAIN RIDE video shows how I am taking it all in and am pleasantly surprised to notice that the train “talks” (no need to stare out of the window to check out the stations!)
So this is the picture of Hill 60 in Port Kembla. You can see the viewpoint up there. The nighttime pictures in the previous post were taken from up there. However, to the left is the pathway from where I have a first good look at the Kembla seashore. Also, I should add this is not the main sandy beach of Port Kembla (whose pictures come late in this post).
So, here is the video uploaded on Youtube when I went down that pathway to look at the sea for the first time. That would be my first full close up view of an Australian seashore as seen from the land (as opposed to an airplane!)
The following are some still pictures of my first views of Port Kembla seashore. They were all taken from and around Hill 60.
Clock on the image and try to enlarge or zoom this picture to notice there are 4 ships in the background! One on each side of the tiny island and two more to the left of the ship that is to the left of the island….
Another shot from Hill 60 of the other end of the seashore. I stayed far from the edge so as not to fall down and break my neck and drown at the same time….
This shot shows that this side of the seashore runs along the industrial part of the city. You can see the smoking chimneys on the far left if you clock and enlarge this image
I think this picture has the best shot of all the 4 ships far in the background. You can see the gloomy waters shimmer as far as the eye can see.
Although Port Kembla was where I saw the Australian seashore for the first time, it was actually in Huskisson where I actually touched the sea water for the first time. As the following video shows the sea water wanted to touch me too.
After being in Brisbane, Australia for over 4 months, recently, I’ve had the opportunity to “go away” for a few days. I have not “looked around” Brisbane at all, nor Queensland for that matter. All I know are the bus routes to and from my house and the university and the main shopping mall where I buy my groceries. Being a man with such a cloistered and quotidian existence, it was indeed quite something that I got to fly to Sydney and then drive south to the Illawara region. “Sydney!?” you ask. Umm…yes, yes, I have “done” the harbour bridge and the Opera House and even took a ferry to a Sydney suburb (which by the way was the first time I’ve ever been “on” the sea). I have also seen many beautiful and touristy beaches in the Illawara region.
However, the highlight of this trip has got to be the small, industrial port town called Port Kembla that was also my home for about 5 days. Port Kembla was my base camp from where I explored Sydney and Illawara region by car (courtesy of a generous and hospitable friend). I liked small places in Illawara precisely because they are off the tourist map. I HATE TOURISTY places (although I sure was glad to finally see the Sydney Harbour with my own eyes as opposed to watching it on TV for as long as I can remember). In Port Kembla, I liked being up at 6am and walk towards its beach (10 minute walk from the house where I stayed) in semi-darkness and observe the vast ocean gradually transformed by daybreak and then gleam under sunlight. I liked the feeling that I alone owned the beach along with the seagulls who bathe and, I guess, forage (if that’s the right term) in the advancing waves. But that’s for later posts.
This post is all about introducing Port Kembla and the first impressions. First off, Port Kembla has a sizable Wikipedia entry HERE. I find the industrial pollution section towards the end of Wikipedia entry quiet interesting. Any first time visitor to Port Kembla cannot help notice all the industrial chimneys that dot its skyline. The biggest “Chimney Stack” was brought down in February 2014. It was an icon and I was 6 months too late to see it. You can read about it and watch the demolition video HERE.
My own pictures of the seaside by the industrial area show smoke chimneys. It’s a town that perpetually sends smoke signals to the rest of the world, day and night. Here are a few pictures (with short descriptions under them: they are all high resolution so you need to click on them to see full version) that show the chimneys from different angles:
The industrial chimneys are visible in the background. This shot was taken from one of the main streets. Notice the rust on the white building. (Taken 22nd August, 9:24am).
Another streetview with the smokey chimneys visible.
This is further up on the same street and chimneys are hidden by trees.
…And I suppose when your shop is so far away from the smokey chimneys, you get to call it a “SUPERMARKET”
Yep, the smoke chimneys work at night too. It was taken from the highest lookout “Hill 60″. It was also quiet dark but the digital camera’s flash illuminated the area where I was standing; also the sky was very dark but the digital camera enhances the light on the horizon…. (Taken 24rth August at 6:02pm).
I like this picture better. Taken from the same spot and time as above. Again, the sky was very dark but the camera has amplified the light on the horizon. Human eye could not see so much light in the sky.
And what is a port without a ship? :-) It reminds me of Lyttelton in Canterbury, New Zealand. But Lyttelton is physically a lot prettier and does not have the amount of industrial pollution and rust which makes Port Kembla unique for me. (Taken on the evening of 24rth August)
This is driving towards the industrial seafront. The charming sea water glistens under a cloudy grey sky. (Taken on 22nd August at 9:32am)
Another first impression, for me, was that Port Kembla seemed like a small Midwestern town straight out of a David Lynch movie. The similarities don’t end at appearances. The crime rate is high and there have been incidents of violence and even murders. The main street close to my house has prostitutes standing by roadsides, there are young men in hoodies walking with a punk swagger. I also saw a tall guy in his early 20s with a blonde pony tail, his bare torso covered with tattoos. Those were the “jail tattoos” as someone explained. I should keep my distance, I was advised.
Well, I managed to stay there without an incident for about 5 days. I also took solitary walks during which I felt no “pollution” but only fresh air . So, nothing bad to report, as I remained untouched by the so-called Port Kembla underbelly. This positive endnote concludes Part 1 of Port Kembla Calling. (I will password protect the next parts so that only my acquaintances get to see those posts)