People are asking me how I am adapting to the Blue Mountains weather. I moved up eighteen months ago from Sydney’s Inner West, so this has been my second mountains winter. Yet it is only this season that I discovered that most vital of all mountain head coverings, the beanie.
Locals here already wear a lot of hats. I’ve noticed that. Big floppy hats that keep the sun off on the way to the farmers market, straw hats to check on the lettuce in their back-yard organic garden plots, hats of great suavity to indicate a considered interest in the arts. So while there are a lot of hats, not everyone wears a beanie all of the time, but everyone respects the beanie.
I bought my beanie at Paddy Pallin, a mountaineering store in Katoomba, right at the top of the Mountains. It is woollen, knitted, multi-coloured and striped. It has a layer of fleece around the inside rim to keep the ears warm but no liner in the crown where you need to lose a bit of heat all the time because, let’s face it, this is not Harbin. In Harbin, China, the average winter temperature is -25 to -13 degrees Celcius and people have to wrap themselves in the feather, down and fur of a thousand domesticated animals to just survive being outdoors for a spell. By contrast, the average winter temperature at the top of the Blue Mountains, about 1000m above sea level, is 3 to 10 degrees and it is practically balmy down at 300m where I live. Still, I wear my beanie.
Like I was saying, everyone in the mountains respects the beanie. By contrast, it has been painful to learn on returning to the Inner West whilst sporting a beanie, that such headgear does not bring the same level of admiration to the wearer.
I wear my beanie in my mountain village and it’s all:
“Oooh. I like your beanie!”
“Where did you get your beanie?”
“What a cute little plait on the crown.”
But in the Inner West it’s all:
“You’re wearing a beanie.”
“You look like you’re about to travel to Germany.”
My beanie was knitted in Nepal and fairly traded. I paid thirty Australian dollars for it, which is a lot for a beanie, but not a lot to give to the fair trade market so I’m not complaining. In fact, I am far from complaining, because my beanie makes me look hip and young by Nepalese standards. Yes, that’s right. The first time I wore my beanie into the village, a friend who had spent years in Nepal and only just travelled back to provide medical relief after the most recent devastating earthquake and therefore had the LATEST on Nepalese street fashion, told me that beanies like mine are sold ALL AROUND Nepal, but only the tourists wear them. Then he CHANGED HIS MIND and said that some of the younger, hipper Nepalese were STARTING to wear them. Which is my point. Buy a fair trade beanie from Nepal and keep up with the latest in Nepalese street fashion.
Or if you are like from the Inner West or something, you can give to Everest filmmaker Michael Dillon’s Himaganga fund, which aims to rebuild an earthquake-devastated Nepalese village. They are only $5000 short of their target.
The bank details are BSB063806, account 10193185. For more information look at the Himaganga Facebook page: