Friday, 27 July 2007

Day 17 - Brisbane

Hello everyone!

I hope your all good, sorry for the delay in the update. Well, for a start, we are now in Brisbane - Australia's thrid largest city at 1.5 million people, and currently in the middle of a major drought (around 600 days without rain in the catchment area, dams at 17% capacity, so I read). All in all, its a really rather nice place, much to both our surprise really. Its got a very nice laid back feel to it, and its a great place to chill out in. We'll be here another few days, and then its off up north and onto Noosa.

So where have we been? We set off from Coffs Harbour and drove north along the coast line to the infamous Byron Bay - a heavan on earth, if you believe some backpackers. Personally, it was all too much for both of us I think - fucking travellers everywhere, an the whole town is both expensive and a bit corny to be honest. I can imagine it could be great in the summer time, but I found it all a bit too much. The first hostel we stayed in, the Arts Factory, was really more of a Club 18-30 holiday complex then anything else - own bar and resturant, cinema, band stage, club room and pool. All too much to be honest (maybe I'm just getting too old though!:) So we ended up moving to another quiet place for a few days - Byron is ok, but in the end, I wasn't sad to leave it really.

From there we headed inland to the infamous Nimbin - hippy central basically. Tiny little one street town in the Nimbin Valley, with a whole load of pothead hippies and a couldron of social problems just bubbling under the surface. Really strange small town mentality plus too many drugs methinks.

Anyway, this place is closing now so i'll be super quick! Basically, Nimbin to Brisbane via a broken reverse and almost dead gearbox which cost 300 bucks ot fix in Lismore - but could have been worse, if the box had died it would have been nearer a thousand I reckon, so its all good. :) Anyways, best run, speak soon!

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Day 8 - Coffs Harbour

Hey guys,

A speedy one as ever, as time on line seems to go so quckly when you have to pay for it! Well, we aer now in Coffs Harbour, which is only really about 30-40 mins drive from Bellingen, but frankly, we didn't feel like going much further. I had to get a few thigns looked at with the car - steering wheel alignment, slightly leak on the radiator seal, disc brakes - but the whole lot only cost me $33 dollars so I can't complain.

Finally it was good to leave Bellingen and move on. Not that I can complain about the place - wonderful chilled out hostel, nice people, very very relaxed and some beautiful scenery and mountains around. We went hiking in the Dorrigo national park, and yesterday went down to a alternative community called Bundagen - two hundred or so people living in a 900 acre plot in the middle of a national park, in nine small villages. Even comes with there own private nudist beach! (And yes, I did brave the elements!). In all it was an interesting experience, but also rather unreal - all these people were really nice and friendly, but there did seem this nagging sense of a cop-out - for all the talk of getting back to nature and escaping the rat race, everyone had there 4x4 cars, solar panels and modern plastics - their way of life wouldn't be possible without the backbone and basis of a modern industrial economy. So it kind of put everything into a different perspective.

Crap money is almost gone, try you get you tomorrow!

Monday, 16 July 2007

Day 6 - Bellingen

Hola all!

Though it has only been six days since we set out, it feels like a million miles away from Sydney and my life back there. We left Port Macquarie yesterday and drove up the coast under a blisteringly hot and blindingly bright sun, stopping off for a few hours in the quiet little seaside town of Nambucca Heads. From there we continued north and inland, to a Bellingen - its a fantastic little hippy alternative town, one main street really, at the foothills of the Dorrigo National Park. Our hostel is an old wooden thing for 50 years or more, perched on a bluff overlooking fields with horses and cows. There is really just one pub, a few resturants and shops and thats about it - its pretty much perfect for chilling out :) Better yet I've no mobile reception, so I really feel like I have escaped from everything. Today we drove up the mountain to the National Park, and hiked around the escarpment for abut 3 hours - really damn cold as well! It was, apparently, -6c last night up there (compared to a still chilly 7c down here) and this put something of a damper on our picnic, but we still enjoyed it all a lot. I took the camera out for a spin today for the first time too, and am absolutely loving it, even if I haven't figured out even the most basic setting on it yet. So nice to be able to take the photos I always wanted to. Tomorrow we are off to a hippy commune on the beach, with there eco houses and nudist beach, and then the day after perhaps horseriding in the foothills. Its tough being unemployed, I tell you :)

Friday, 13 July 2007

Road Trip Day 3 - Port Macquarie

Hola all! I'm gonna keep this short and with all the typo as the internet here is so expensive. We just got into Port Macquarie, about 6 hours drive north of Sydney. It is kind of crappy from what we can see, and having driven around for about 45 mins tryingot find the damn hostel, we're kind of over it before we got into it.

Still, road trip is goign well. The driving gets easier with every mile and every day, and now i've learned to love the excentricities of 'Le Tank' - the way, for example, it sounds like its about to take off when you reverse it, or the way the steering wheel is misaligned by about 6 degrees. I even got the locks fixed, though sadly, i didn't think to ask the guy to keep the key for me as a souvernier. Still makes me laugh to look at the picture!

So, we left Sydney predictably a few hours late, and after a few mistaken turns, got onto the (busy) freeway up to the lovely Port Stephens, where we stayed in a beautiful backpackers/ campsite called Melauela (I think) Backpackers. 5 mins walk from One Mile Beach, the first day was beautiful sunshine (even got a bit of a sunburn) and we spent it mostly in Nelson Bay - drank a pint in the sunshine, ate gourmet pie (prawn, baramundi and lobster in cocunut sauce no less!) at Red Ned's Pie Shop, and then did a couple of hours hiking up to Tomaree Head to see the sun set - really spectaculatr place, I'll put the pics up as soon as I can.

Today we slept through most of the sun :( but still went down to Stockton Beach to the massive (MASSIVE) sandbank and dunes, and walked around for a few hours to check it out. Really spectacular but very windy. From there we decided to head off and make for Port Macqaurie, which took a few hours (via a stock at The Rock Roadhouse - classic Australiana - a roadhouse rest stop in the giant model of Ayers Rock!!).

All in all things continue to go well, but its early days. I'm still getting to grips with all the driving, and the car, and the feeling of not going back to Sydney - that that chapter is all closed and done with. For the most part, it feels good, really good, to be moving again and exploring. Still haven't had a chance to figure out how to use my camera, but thats next on the list after i get off here (3 mins and counting).

So, please get interactive with this blog, leave psots and comments, I really do like to hear your thoughts. For those facebookers out there, I'll be posting the pics as soon as a I can, and of coruse, I'll put the links in this blog for those of you not yet down with the kids.

And a big big congratulations to Monica and Patrick! I'm so happy for you guys, I always had my suspicions that things might work out that way. Keep me posted on everything! All very exciting stuff! Next stop for me and Emilie after here will prob be Coff's Harbour, again another 250km or so up the coast, so I imagine the next post from me will be from there. Until then!

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Why 'The World' Can't Take the US Seriously

Seriously guys, I'm often at a exacerbating loss when trying to properly articulate just what the rest of the world finds so unreasonable about the the United States as a political, military and cultural force in the world. Fortunately, as they say, a picture paints a thousand words, and none more so then this ad I came across this.

I mean, is this for real? I mean, hell 'Merkins, you guys gotta do your part right, so why not buy your genuine 911 coin, minted with 'genuine silver recovered from Ground Zero'. I mean, for fucksake, can you get much more tasteless then this? Blood diamond? Try blood silver. Its really so crass and so tasteless, I find it all unbelievable.

Whats more, I can't understand why there isn't some kind of moral outrage over this in the US. The guy I found this link from had it entitled 'Why I Hate Capitalism', which is a completely ridiculous statement and, quite frankly, the kind of retarded kindergarden hippy student leftisim that drive me crazy. This has nothing to do with an economic system and everything to do with a certain, I think, excessive sentiment on the part of the American pscyhe to both defie and defile at the same time. The victims of 9/11 are defied into saints simply through there misfortune (an utterly spurious, but again, very Merkin, interpretation - grace through misfortune, passive, not active and not through sacrifice) - and yet at the same time, this religiosity is sold like any other commodity, forgiveness, penance, abolition, available free when you want how you want it, just a click away, a credit card number from salvation...

That's why we can't take you seriously.

Monday, 2 July 2007

Car Purchased

Hi guys,

Just a quick post today as I've got a mass of things to do - or at least thats how it all feels - but I am now the proud owner of my very first automobile! Yes, this delightful beast is a 1989 Ford Falcon, aka The Tank. Its not too pretty and really rather large, but I think its going to do the job. Though I must confess, I was a little concerned to notice the state of the drivers door key (I think I might be getting a new lock fitted). I got the car checked out before I bought it, and the Swedish guys went and got the main repairs done, so it should be good to go - I hope! Still slightly paranoid that the engine is going to fall out after the first 10km, or the breaks will go on the first downhill (etc etc) but I'm sure I'm just being ridiculous. You wouldn't do that to me, would you guys? :)

Still, its big with enough space for two to sleep comfortably in the back, and comes with a tent, mattress, camping gear, maps, battery inverter, you name it, pretty much everything. The price was pretty good at $2200, and I'm hoping I'll be able to make most of that back too at the end. So now we're just got to give the thing a good clean, inventory and pack and we're good to go!

Still can't really believe I'm off in just over a week!