Destination: Palm Beach, Australia
Inspiration: CAA’s David Bugliari and Rick Kurtzman made me Daughter of the month! These two power agents on team Robin Williams arranged for Mom and Dad Banicki to go backstage and meet Robin Williams when he did standup this past weekend in Illinois. I still cant believe they made it happen for the Banickis. We are a lucky bunch. My parents had been talking about going to see Robin for months. When I announced the surprise, I told them two things. 1) Best behavior and 2) Ask Robin for a moment for my Australian adventure. They achieved both and I got this email:
‘The show was amazing. He has so much energy. The backstage passes were great. He was so kind and personable taking time to talk to everyone and take pictures, too!! We asked about a favorite place to go in Australia and he said you should go to Palm Beach but be careful of the sea creatures. He said you should swim in the salt water pools. I asked about a place to eat and he said Peter Weir (director of Dead Poet’s society) has a restaurant in Sydney. We have a photo of Robin Williams signed to Angie. We can scan it for you and send it to you if you want.
Thanks again for the tix. We had a great time. The show was hilarious.’
Actualization: Stephen Rich (my Veev moment, thank you Courtney Reum) comes to meet up for breakfast Monday. I mention Mom’s email above. Stephen is very well traveled and seems to be quite accustomed to explaining his hometown to visitors. Stephen is a character…but we will get to that later. Two hours after Steve leaves us, I receive this email:
‘Hope everything worked out ok with the connections, just made it down to the beach just in time for a low tide run. Now, we really need to get you guys down here, if nothing else in the interest of ticking off another moment! Just found out the old man’s heading back to the city tomorrow night, so all four bedrooms are empty, I was also meant to be having dinner with a good mate of both mine at Courtney’s tomorrow night, and we’re thinking we can move it down here. Doug, if you can organize a rental car, and tell the girls where to meet you, I’ll organize the restaurant.
We can then spend the day at the beach on Wednesday. Hitting the beach, but trade some emails between you and see if you can make it work, could be a lot of fun… Thinking Jonah’s, hope that’s not too Bougie for Janae!’
At the time, I thought this email was quite aggressive and wasn’t quite sure how I felt about Steve yet…but regardless I turn to Janae and say “Were doing it. Great story for the Robin Williams moment.” Before you know it we are climbing into a rugged land rover driven by handsome Doug, who had emailed us to be at his office by 5pm sharp. Yes 5pm sharp. Doug’s that guy you want to be mad at but hes too attractive so you take it. Janae called him Antonio Sabato Jr.
We drive to Palm Beach in less than an hour. Palm Beach is small and quaint and stunning. It seems fake. Stephen’s Dad’s pad is gorgeous. Janae and I get ready for dinner and the boys run down for a swim. The whole thing feels oddly comforting. Kinda like we are at summer camp and getting ready to go to dress-up night.
We take pictures, jump in the car and head up to Jonah’s (my Andrea Tagliareni moment). The boys are both adorable and entertaining but this trip solidified the massiveness of the mess that makes up the Australian language. Even when the words are coming out of the mouths of well-educated hot boys, they’re still whack. It started when we pulled up and Stephen said, “Look over there just past the little bitch”. I was trying to guess what he could be referencing as a bitch (girl, car, house). It took a good three sentences before I realized he was talking about the beach. One of the amazing words I did like though was Inclinator. Because of the steep climb up to the house, they had the most amazing invention to bring us up and down from driveway to front door; an INCLANATOR.
Dinner at Jonah’s was scrumptious and the view there was from the top of the town so more breathtaking views. We were joined by another friend of the boys, Lauren. The 5 of us laughed our way through the feast. We had oysters, zucchini, fish, wine, and then Janae ordered Sambuca and espresso which I thought sounded like a fine idea. I now realize espresso and alcohol surely must be what triggers the kissing bandit…..
We go back and play poker and wake up in the morning bright and early ready to hit the water….and a little hungover. We go to the local restaurant on the water, where it seems like summer camp for old people. It felt comfortable. I mean not old old people. Youthful old people. Our friend Steve of course knew the chef, who seemed to be a bit of a local celebrity and we had quite the banter with him. I didn’t understand half of it and told him as much. Janae bought us breakfast with her winnings from poker the night before. The girl is for sure a competitor.
All I know is that it’s the first time I’ve ordered breakfast, then went for a swim and came back to my food. The restaurant was on the dock so we left our stuff at the picnic-like table ran to the end of the dock and jumped in. Then returned sopping and hungry, but then dry and full within minutes as the sun heated us while we mowed down.
After lunch Steve took me up to the lighthouse hike. “Put your summer feet back on” he said. This took a second to decode, but made me laugh especially when my Aussie friend said it. “When you are a kid in the summer your feet weather and you can run on hot surfaces and bare the rock.” I kept thinking it as we did the barefoot hike; my first time hiking sans shoes. We also saw sea creatures along the beach part of our hike. As we hiked and chatted I realized that once you power over the words, filter out the mumbling, and then sift through the accent, there really are a lot of cute sayings down under…and the thing is all Aussies mean well. After our hike, we got home to Steve’s Dad. Steve’s Dad is just what I needed for Palm Beach. We have Mom Lyn keeping tabs on us from Byron Bay, but sometimes you need Dad to tell you how it is. I loved Andrew Rich because he told it how it was. He had kind eyes and made me laugh in the first moments of chatting. We love a funny dad. Guy Banicki is a funny Dad too.
Realization: We love Robin Williams for getting us to go to Palm Beach. Here are two quotes I found fitting from him; [While accepting the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for Good Will Hunting] Most of all, I want to thank my father, up there, the man who when I said I wanted to be an actor, he said, `Wonderful. Just have a back-up profession like welding — Robin Williams’ and ‘No matter what anybody tells you, words & ideas can change the world.’ — From Dead Poet’s Society.
Peter Weir’s restaurant in Rutherford: Beaumont’s Cafe
Other good Northern Beach places to eat:
Eat Well Chinese