She wipes the sweat from her brow as she slowly climbs back on to the bus with the nine other pitiful souls who chose the hottest day of the year to take this wine tour. The legs of her white capris are literally glued to her body and the cute up-do she had been so proud of, and had admired in the hotel bathroom mirror this morning, has wilted, fallen and frizzed.
This is their third stop of seven and Melody and the others are a bit tipsy already. She is not sure she’s going to make it to the end without a nap, but at least the bus has air conditioning…so far none of the tasting rooms has.
This is the Hunter Valley region of Australia. There are Aussies on this tour and they keep marveling at how it is 45 degrees in November. Of course, they mean Celsius and she uses the Units app on her iphone to quickly learn that this translates to 113 degrees Fahrenheit! She is a California girl, lives in Grass Valley northwest of Sacramento, and before today would not have believed it was possible to survive such heat.
“If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much room”, Smokey, the tour guide proclaims enthusiastically to the group as he enters the bus and takes his stage at the front.
He is the best part of this day, Melody thinks to herself.
I’d follow that tall glass of Aussie water to the Outback and have his babies in a heartbeat.
To Melody, Smokey is the Marlboro Man, Captain America and Clint Eastwood (from The Outlaw Josey Wales) all rolled into one and the sexy accent is just icing on the cake.
Smokey reaches the punch line to another funny story and the laughter of the others brings Melody out of her blissful daydream and back to her seat on the second row where she has a perfect view. With the sweat dripping between her breasts, and her messy hair, she joins in the laughter not because she got the joke, but because she is alive, happy and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. She will definitely make it through this day, and take home some of her favorite travel memories ever.